GLYNNE, Sir William, 2nd Bt. (1663-1721), of Bicester and Ambrosden, Oxon., and Hawarden, Flints.
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Family and Education
b. 17 May 1663, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Glynne, 1st Bt.†, by Penelope, da. of Stephen Anderson of Eyworth, Beds. educ. St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. 1679; DCL 1706. m. 6 July 1688, Mary (d. 1694), da. and coh. of Sir Edward Evelyn, 1st Bt.†, of Long Ditton, Surr., 1s. d.v.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. by 8 Sept. 1690.
Gent. privy chamber 1691–1702.1
Freeman and bailiff, Oxford 1695; sheriff, Oxon. 1706–7.2
Of Caernarvonshire gentry stock, Glynne’s father had settled in Oxfordshire in the 1650s, purchasing Ambrosden, which he rebuilt as his principal seat, in 1673. Glynne’s Toryism was hardly the product of his family’s recent political past. His grandfather, Sir John Glynne†, a Presbyterian, had served the Protectorate as a judge, though had later made himself useful to the Restoration regime in Parliament. His father’s politics are less clear. Although nominated a deputy-lieutenant for Oxfordshire in February 1688, probably as a Whig ‘collaborator’, he had previously presented to the Ambrosden living in 1685 White Kennett, then a young cleric of high-flying zeal. The elder Glynne’s reluctance in August of that year to accept the dedication of Kennett’s An Address of Thanks to a Good Prince, with ‘a high-flown preface expressing loyalty to the throne’, may have been only a matter of form but may also be taken to suggest Whiggish political scruples. Kennett’s association with the family seems to have begun when he and the younger Glynne became acquainted while students together in Oxford. In June 1691, less than a year after succeeding his father to the baronetcy and estates, Glynne was appointed a gentleman of the privy chamber, seemingly in recognition of his family’s importance in their county. In February 1696 Glynne petitioned the Commons when a bill for the navigation of the River Dee in Cheshire threatened to impinge on lands belonging to him, and his protest may well have played some part in halting the bill. Another such measure, introduced and enacted during the 1699–1700 session, included, no doubt in response to Glynne’s further prompting, specific provision that the project would not encroach upon his or any other landowner’s rights or property.3
In the 1698 election Glynne stood successfully for Oxford University. His ties with the university were tenuous. Some dons would have known him through his friendship with Kennett, while other scholars, such as Thomas Tanner, had worked on the manuscript collection housed in the library at Ambrosden. In the usual course of events it seems unlikely that Glynne, as a lightweight Tory gentleman, would have been seriously considered as a parliamentary candidate for the university. However, as a result of the power-struggle in which the heads of Christ Church and All Souls were then engaged, and their refusal to compromise on candidates, Glynne was put up with backing from Dr Henry Aldrich, the High Church dean of Christ Church, and in the ensuing contest was elected, though by only a narrow margin. He was listed as a Country supporter in a comparative analysis of the old and new Houses of Commons compiled in around September, and in the early stages of the first session was identified as likely to oppose a standing army. An inactive Member, he was seldom required even to serve on any select committees. At the next general election he failed to retain his seat. The heads of Christ Church and All Souls, having composed their differences, declared a joint choice of candidates, leaving him isolated. He put up again at the university by-election in March only to withdraw a few days before the poll. In 1702 he was nominated for Woodstock by the 2nd Earl of Abingdon (Montagu Venables-Bertie*), controller of the Tory interest there, who had demonstrated his political ‘obligations’ to Glynne by supporting him for the university the year before. At the poll Glynne managed to drive the outgoing Whig, Sir Thomas Littleton, 3rd Bt.*, into third place. His election in consequence was deemed by Lord Spencer (Charles*) as an electoral loss for the Whigs. On 7 Mar. 1704, during the report on the recruiting bill, he made his only recorded contribution to proceedings, as teller in favour of an amendment stressing that only the able-bodied and unemployed were to be recruited. The same month, Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) listed him as a likely supporter in the event of an attack on the handling of the Scotch Plot. In accordance with his Tory principles, and as previously forecast, Glynne voted for the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704.4
Glynne retired from Parliament in 1705 to pursue his avid interest in horse-breeding and racing. In April 1706 he was among a cluster of Oxfordshire Tories on whom the university conferred honorary doctorates. Though White Kennett remained vicar of Ambrosden until resigning in 1708, Glynne’s estimation of him faded. In March 1706 Hearne, the Oxford antiquary, reported,
Sir William Glynne has such an aversion to Dr Kennett for his late shuffling proceedings, particularly for his 30 January sermon, that, as I am well assured by one of his friends, he will not endure him in his sight, though before no man was so great with him, Sir William thinking he had been a man of honesty and probity.
Hearne was referring to a sermon by Kennett to the House of Commons on 30 Jan. 1704, which had caused outrage among hard-line Tories for its views on Charles I, and its seeming vindication of the current war. But while Glynne may have been prepared to tolerate such an attempt to modernize traditional doctrine, Kennett’s ‘honesty and probity’ had been rendered doubtful by a second sermon, preached before the Commons on 30 Jan. 1706, in which he voiced none of his earlier sentiments. Accordingly, Glynne retracted the intention of appointing Kennett to the lucrative living of Hawarden, reckoned to be worth £300 or £400 p.a.