BERTIE, Robert, Lord Willoughby de Eresby (1660-1723).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1685 - 1687
1689 - 1690
1690 - 19 Apr. 1690
1690 - 19 Apr. 1690

Family and Education

b. 20 Oct. 1660, 1st s. of Robert Bertie†, 3rd Earl of Lindsey, by his 2nd w.; bro. of Hon. Albemarle*, Hon. Peregrine II* and Hon. Philip*, and half-bro. of Hon. Charles II*.  m. (1) 30 July 1678, Mary (d. 1689), da. and h. of Sir Richard Wynn, 4th Bt.†, of Gwydir, Caern., 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da.; (2) 6 July 1705, Albinia, da. of Thomas Farrington*, 4s. 1da.  summ. to Lords in his fa.’s barony of Willoughby de Eresby 19 Apr. 1690; suc. fa. as 4th Earl of Lindsey 8 May 1701;  cr. Mq. of Lindsey 21 Dec. 1706, Duke of Ancaster 26 July 1715.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Denbigh 1679; recorder, Boston 1685–Sept. 1688, Oct. 1688–d.; ld. lt. Lincs. 1700–d.2

Capt. Robert Werden’s† Horse June–Dec. 1685.3

Chancellor, duchy of Lancaster 1689–97; ld. great chamberlain 1701–d.; PC 19 June 1701–d.; ld. justice 1715.4


Bertie had taken part in the northern rising led by his kinsman, the Earl of Danby (Sir Thomas Osborne†), in favour of William of Orange in 1688. His loyalty was duly rewarded with the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster, a post which enabled him to secure a seat at Preston at the general election of 1690. He was also returned for Boston on the interest of his father. During the first session he was classed as a Court supporter by Carmarthen (formerly Danby), but was only in the Commons a few weeks before being summoned to the Lords in his father’s barony of Willoughby de Eresby to strengthen the Lord President’s following there. He proved an ally of the Court in the Upper House, opposing the place bill in the 1692–3 session. He signed the Association, but went into opposition in 1696 during the controversy over the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, and was turned out of the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster the following year.5

In 1701 Bertie succeeded his father to the earldom, and the hereditary office of lord great chamberlain. At the start of Anne’s reign he was still a Tory, and remained so until at least December 1703, when he supported the second occasional conformity bill. ‘Having of late taken up the profession of a Whig’, at the general election of 1705 he turned his back on his former county allies, and was later rewarded with a marquessate. Despite this elevation he did not become a prominent politician, with Macky commenting that he ‘doth not trouble himself with affairs of state’. However, he did make interest to secure a dukedom, and was ridiculed for such efforts by Arthur Maynwaring*, who described him as ‘odious’. He did not return to Tory ranks after the ministerial changes of 1710, and later quarrelled with Robert Harley* over the rights to the earldom of Oxford, which Lindsey insisted lay dormant in his own family. His Whiggish allegiance eventually brought him a dukedom after the accession of George I. He died 26 July 1723, and was succeeded by his son, Lord Willoughby de Eresby (Peregrine Bertie*), who executed part of his grandiose plan for the rebuilding of Grimsthorpe. The family’s enduring local influence ensured that two of his sons by his second marriage, Lord Robert and Lord Vere, gained seats at Boston.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Perry Gauci


  • 1. MI Edenham par. ch. Lincs.
  • 2. J. Williams, Recs. of Denbigh, 138; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 50.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 412.
  • 4. Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 3.
  • 5. A. Browning, Danby, i. 401, 538; Peers, Pol. and Power ed. C. and D. L. Jones, 109.
  • 6. G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 430; Lincs. AO, Massingberd mss 20/51, Burrell to Sir William Massingberd, 2nd Bt., 1 Feb. 1705; Macky Mems. 73; Duchess of Marlborough Corresp. i. 322; HMC Ancaster, 442–3; Pevsner, Lincs. 347–8.