FEILDING, Hon. William (1669-1723), of Ashtead, Surr. and Duke Street, Westminster

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

Constituency

Dates

29 Nov. 1705 - 21 Sept. 1723

Family and Education

b. 1669, 2nd s. of William Feilding, 3rd Earl of Denbigh, by his 1st w. Mary (d. 1669), da. of Sir Robert King of Boyle Abbey, co. Roscommon, wid. of Sir William Meredith, 1st Bt., of Creenehill, co. Kildare. educ. Eton c.1680–6; Queen’s, Oxf. 1686.  m. c.Dec. 1705, Lady Diana, da. of Francis Newport†, 1st Earl of Bradford, sis. of Hon. Richard Newport I* and Hon. Thomas Newport*, wid. of Thomas Howard*, s.p.1

Offices Held

Lt. yeomen of the gd. 1704–8; 2nd clerk comptroller of Bd. of Green Cloth 1716, 1st clerk comptroller 1717, 2nd clerk 1720, 1st clerk 1723.

Biography

Feilding, who in 1704 had bought an office with a salary of £500 p.a., made a highly advantageous marriage the following year to a wealthy widow with a parliamentary seat at her disposal. She had title during her lifetime to the estates of her first husband (with no surviving children to complicate matters) and thereby enjoyed the nomination of one Member at Castle Rising. Feilding obtained the seat in 1705 when a family friend chose to sit elsewhere. It was gossiped before the wedding that ‘this old lady, for she is near fifty if not quite, is fallen in love with this young Feilding, and says she only begs he will be civil to her; she fears he cannot love her, though she does him so much’. Although himself the younger brother of a Tory peer, Feilding was now connected with various Court Whigs among his wife’s kinsmen and her first husband’s friends. He also came into contact with Robert Walpole II*, who controlled the other seat at Castle Rising, but this association was not particularly friendly, as the Howard and Walpole interests co-existed in the borough uneasily and in a constant atmosphere of mutual distrust.2

In Parliament Feilding was a Whig, with leanings towards the Court. On 18 Feb. 1706 he voted with the ministry over the regency bill. He was marked as a Whig in two lists of 1708. In the same year he resigned his office of lieutenant of the yeomen of the guard. Having supported the naturalization of the Palatines in 1709, the following year he voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, and on 7 Dec. 1711 he voted for the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion. He opposed the French commerce bill on 18 June 1713 and voted against the expulsion of Richard Steele on 18 Mar. 1714. In the Worsley list he was classified as a Whig.3

Feilding was appointed to the Board of Green Cloth in 1716, most probably through the interest of his wife’s family, the Newports, both at Court and with the clerk of the Green Cloth, their Shropshire ally Sir William Forester*. Feilding died at Epsom on 21 Sept. 1723 and was buried at Ashtead. ‘I regret him prodigiously’, wrote his niece, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, on hearing of his death. His wife outlived him.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton

Notes