LAKE, Warwick (1661-1712), of Canons, Little Stanmore, Mdx.
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Family and Education
bap. 13 Apr. 1661, 6th but 3rd surv. s. of Sir Lancelot Lake† of Canons by Frances, da. of Sir Thomas Cheke† of Pirgo, Havering, Essex. educ. G. Inn 1693. m. 23 Mar. 1709, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Charles Gerard, 3rd Bt.*, 1s. suc. nephew Lancelot Lake to Canons c.1693.1
Freeman, Hertford 1699.2
Lake boasted an impressive parliamentary pedigree, both his great-grandfather Sir Thomas and his father having represented Middlesex in the course of the 17th century. As the youngest son, it was only a combination of dynastic failure and the favouritism of his nephew Lancelot Lake that brought him ownership of the ancestral seat at Canons, which the family had purchased in 1604. He took up residence there on the death of Lancelot in about 1693, and the following year his local standing was recognized by appointment as both a commissioner of the peace and deputy-lieutenant of the shire. Now possessing ‘a great interest and estate’, he was a natural choice for a parliamentary candidate, and first stood in the Tory interest at the Middlesex by-election of January 1696. However, he was narrowly defeated by the Whig Sir John Bucknall.3
Encouraged by this strong debut, Lake stood again in August 1698, and, having received great support from Bishop Compton of London, was returned after a contest. Soon afterwards he was one of the Members forecast to oppose a standing army, while another parliamentary list cited him as a Country supporter. He did not make any significant contribution to Commons’ business in the whole of that Parliament. However, he maintained a higher profile outside the House by acting in June 1699 as the foreman of the jury at King’s bench which acquitted (Sir) Charles Duncombe* of falsely endorsing Exchequer bills. Such activity suggested that Lake’s politics remained consistent, for opponents of the Court had rallied in support of Duncombe in the preceding Parliament. This controversial role does not appear to have harmed his electoral chances at the Middlesex election of January 1701, for both he and his running-partner were victorious. In the new Parliament he was listed among those likely to support the Court in agreeing with the committee of supply’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’, and was later blacklisted for opposing preparations for war with France.4
The Middlesex election of December 1701 was a closely fought affair, but Lake managed to top the poll. In the ensuing Parliament he displayed Tory sympathies, favouring the motion on 26 Feb. 1702 to vindicate the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of the Whig ministers during the preceding Parliament. He also displayed concern for the needs of his constituency, aiding the drafting and presentation of a bill to establish a court of conscience in the London area. Having emerged once again at the head of the poll at the Middlesex election of 1702, he was inconspicuous in the new Parliament, apart from a single occasion on 10 Nov. 1702 when he was teller in favour of taking the under-sheriff of Merionethshire into custody for failing to make a return. In the third session he was predictably forecast on 30 Oct. 1704 as a probable supporter of the Tack, but it is unclear whether he voted for it in the key division the following month, since his name only appears on one of the two lists of Members supporting that measure. He was certainly regarded as a Tacker by his opponents at the Middlesex election of May 1705, and such an association undoubtedly contributed to his defeat at the polls.
Lake did not stand again, thereby paving the way for Hon. James Bertie* to become a Tory candidate for the shire. Financial difficulties may have hastened his retirement, for in 1709 he sold the reversion of Canons to Hon. James Brydges*, who had married Lake’s niece, Mary. Indeed, as early as 1699 Brydges had remarked ‘how strait my uncle’s circumstances are’, and in 1705 Lake had mortgaged his property to him for £21,000. Ill-health may also have been a contributory factor, even though in September 1711 he was reported to be ‘fresh and healthy’ while taking the waters at Bath. He was buried at Little Stanmore on 14 May 1713. His only son, Lancelot Charles, refrained from public life, but Lake’s grandson Gerard won great distinction as a soldier, served as Member for Aylesbury, and was elevated to the peerage in 1804.5