EGERTON, Hon. William (1684-1732).
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Family and Education
b. 5 Nov. 1684, 4th s. of John Egerton†, 3rd Earl of Bridgwater, by Jane, da. of Charles Powlett†, 1st Duke of Bolton. educ. ?travelled abroad (Germany). m. Anna Maria, da. of Adm. Sir George Saunders†, commr. of the navy, 3da.1
Capt. 6 Ft. 1704; capt. and lt.-col. 1 Ft. Gds. 1705–Mar. 1714, Dec. 1714–June 1715; brevet col. 1711; col. 36 Ft. 1715–19, 20 Ft. 1719–d.
Egerton’s father tried in vain to obtain for him a place in the Prince of Denmark’s household, making use of the interest of the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†). Egerton himself appears to have travelled abroad around this time, as it is probable that he was the ‘Mr Egerton’ who was reported to have made a good impression at the Court in Hanover in March 1704. Still under-age at the 1705 election, his brother, the 4th Earl, who was lord lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, put him up for the county at a by-election in 1706. He was given no opposition by Tories like Lord Cheyne (Hon. William*), or Lord Fermanagh (John Verney*), who ‘supposed Col. Egerton to be of the Church side’, erroneously as it turned out.2
Egerton was classed as a Whig in two separate analyses of Parliament before and after the election in 1708, at which he was returned unopposed for Brackley, where his brother was lord of the manor. Because of service with the army in Flanders he was inactive in the House, being granted leave of absence on 1 Feb. 1709 for 14 days. In the 1709–10 session he voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. Returned in a contest at Brackley in 1710, Egerton was classed as a Whig in the ‘Hanover list’. He was granted leave of absence on 26 Feb. 1711 for 21 days; in May he was accused in a Commons inquiry of making false musters. On 7 Dec. he voted for the motion of ‘No Peace without Spain’. In the 1713 session he voted on 18 June against the French commerce bill, on which occasion he was classed as a Whig. He was successful in a contested election at Brackley in 1713, and on 18 Mar. 1714 voted against the expulsion of Richard Steele. Because Egerton was said to have spoken slightingly of the Duke of Ormond, Marlborough’s successor, he was informed early in April 1714 by Secretary at War Francis Gwyn* that the Queen ‘had no further service for him’ and that he would receive 1,000 guineas for his company, for which, according to the Hanoverian envoy, he had paid £3,000. He was then unseated by the House on 20 Apr. Classed as a Whig in the Worsley list and two lists comparing the 1715 Parliament with its predecessor, Egerton recovered his seat in the Commons in 1715, and proved a staunch government supporter until his death on 15 July 1732.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 392; Baker, Northampton, 565.
- 2. Huntington Lib. Ellesmere mss EL 9991, Electress Sophia to Lady Bridgwater, 3 Mar. 1704, Duchess of Marlborough to same, n.d.; Verney Letters 18th Cent. i. 69.
- 3. Bull. IHR, xxxiii. 232; HMC Portland, v. 417; Boyer, Pol. State, vii. 268, 404; Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 588.