MANNERS, John, Ld. Roos (1676-1721), of Belvoir Castle, Lincs.
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Family and Education
b. 18 Sept. 1676, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Manners†, 9th Earl of Rutland, by his 3rd w. Katherine, da. of Baptist Noel†, 3rd Visct. Campden; bro. of Hon. Thomas Baptist Manners*. m. (1) 17 Aug. 1693 (with £15,000), Catherine (d. 1711), da. of William Russell†, Ld. Russell, 5s. 4da.; (2) 1 Jan. 1713, Lucy or Lucinda (d. 1751), da. of Bennet Sherard*, 2nd Baron Sherard [I], 6s. 2da. Styled Ld. Roos 1679; Mq. of Granby 29 Mar. 1703; suc. fa. as 2nd Duke of Rutland 10 Jan. 1711; cr. KG 16 Oct. 1714.1
Commr. union with Scotland 1706.
Ld. lt. Rutland 1712–15, Leics. 1714–d.; custos rot. Leics. 1714–d.
Roos’s father had been a keen supporter of William of Orange in 1688 and had in consequence retained the lord lieutenancy of Leicestershire, which together with his extensive estates in the county, gave him a strong electoral interest there in addition to his considerable influence in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, and in the borough of Grantham. Rutland took no part in central politics, however, since he consistently refused to come to London, even to attend the House of Lords, which may account for his failure to obtain a much coveted dukedom in 1694. Nevertheless, Rutland exerted considerable influence over his son Roos, arranging his marriage into the Russell family at the age of only 16. Rutland’s own aversion to London found expression in the marriage settlement, which stipulated that his son’s wife would forfeit part of her jointure if she ever lived in town. Although Lady Roos’s propriety soon convinced her father-in-law that this was unnecessary, Rutland certainly expected to direct the young couple’s lives. Roos dutifully signed the Association which had been sent to his father as lord lieutenant of Leicestershire, but in October that year Rutland had cause to convey his disapproval of Lord and Lady Roos’s choice of minister to christen their first-born son: ‘I can by no means allow of it, for I would as soon have the child christened by a Roman Catholic priest as a non-jurant parson.’2
It was rumoured in the spring of 1699 that Roos would be summoned to the Lords in his father’s barony of Roos, but although a warrant was ordered no writ was issued and by October 1700 he was being strongly pressed by his kinsman, the 1st Duke of Devonshire (William Cavendish†), to stand jointly with the Duke’s son, the Marquess of Hartington (William Cavendish*), for Derbyshire against Thomas Coke*. At first, Coke’s friends hoped to dissuade Rutland from supporting the plan and it was hoped that ‘that noble peer . . . will never suffer his beloved son to stand in any hazard for a little honour that . . . he may have in another place without trouble’. Roos evidently managed to convince his father and, resisting all Coke’s endeavours to persuade him to stand down, was successful in the election of January 1701. Roos was expected to supply his father’s deficiencies as a courtier and in April 1701 Rutland’s wife wrote home of an encounter with William III when, the King having pressed her on why he had not seen Rutland, she had replied ‘that you had sent your two sons to do him all the service they could and testify the sincerity of yours and their loyalty . . . Upon which he told me he was extremely satisfied.’ In the Commons, Roos was never a particularly active Member but, like the rest of his family, he held Whig views, writing to his father on 13 Nov. 1701 about the forthcoming election:
the King has been pleased to signify he hopes that those who are his friends and have interest will use it for such as are of the opinion we were of last sessions. The Emperor and Holland were the occasion of our dissolution. They thought us too much French to endeavour to reduce France. I beg this may be kept secret.
In the same letter he requested his father’s permission to stand for Leicestershire, as Rutland’s ‘removal from Haddon to Belvoir has made my election in Derbyshire uncertain’. Rutland agreed and Roos announced his candidacy. On hearing of the proposed change, Hartington was reported to be ‘very uneasy . . . and said if he [Roos] left him he must be cut down’. He hoped Roos would decide otherwise and wrote on 26 Nov., ‘if I can get him to come hither . . . I still hope we may both carry it’. Roos did, in fact, contest both counties, being defeated in Derbyshire but was successful in capturing one of the Leicestershire seats. Lord Spencer (Charles*) counted his return as a gain for the Whigs. On 7 Mar. 1702, during the King’s last illness, Tory moves for an adjournment failed when Roos informed the Commons that Lord Keeper Wright was at that moment waiting for William to wake up in order to get his signature to a royal commission which would assent to the malt tax and abjuration bills on his behalf. Meanwhile he, his wife and mother-in-law, Lady Russell, had not been idle in the matter of the dukedom and on 17 Feb. 1702 he was able to write to his father that:
My Lord Somers [Sir John*] has spoke to the King about your lordship’s dukedom, which he tells me the King very readily complied with, but desired might be kept private some time, his going for Holland being the time these things are usually done and lest others might tease him during his stay for the favour. Upon his asking by my desire the King told him this was the first word he had heard of this matter. Tomorrow I shall go privately to thank the King.
Unfortunately William died before the grant could go through. Rutland refused to come to London to attend the coronation of Queen Anne and, after refusing to appoint any Tory deputy-lieutenants, he dismayed his relations by resigning the lord lieutenancy of Leicestershire. Despite this, Anne honoured her predecessor’s promise and the dukedom was granted in March 1703.3
There had been some speculation that Roos would stand for Derbyshire in 1702, but in the event he only contested Leicestershire, where he was defeated. In 1705, now styled Marquess of Granby, he was pleased to be asked by the 3rd Earl of Lindsey (Robert Bertie†) to use his influence with his father on behalf of Lindsey’s preferred candidates for Lincolnshire, ‘which I promised to do, being not a little pleased to see him abandon that interest [i.e. the Tories] he was in before’. With regard to his own prospects, Granby wrote that ‘I am continually teased to declare my resolution of appearing for Leicestershire or not, since the hopes I was in of one of the gentlemen’s resigning to me are vanished by their joining together again’, and he wanted ‘to ask your Grace’s advice whose determination . . . shall ever be observed’. Leicestershire having become a difficult prospect, Granby opted instead for Grantham, a borough seven miles from Belvoir, where he was returned unopposed. He was classed as a ‘Churchman’ and was chosen by Lord Godolphin (Sidney†) to propose the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705. Lady Granby reported to Rutland that her husband had made the following speech to the House:
I am sensible how unfit I am to make a proposition of this nature, but hope my sincere intentions for my country’s service will make my excuse. The person I beg leave to name is Mr Smith [John I]. Most gentlemen are acquainted with his experience in Parliament affairs; this, and his zeal for liberty and property, the present government, and the succession of the crown in the Protestant line, are the motives that induce me to propose him as every way qualified to fill this chair; and I hope to have the satisfaction to find most of these gentlemen of the same opinion.
Not surprisingly, he was listed as voting for Smith. In February 1706 he supported the Court on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill. His father was reappointed lord lieutenant of Leicestershire in the following May and he himself was made one of the commissioners for union with Scotland, although he seems not to have attended the subsequent negotiations. On 7 Jan. 1707 he moved for a further provision for the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†) and was consequently first-named to a committee to address the Queen to this purpose. Two days later he was appointed to a committee to draft a bill to settle £5,000 p.a. on Marlborough. In the following session, upon news of the intended invasion of Scotland by the Pretender on 4 Mar. 1708, he carried a message to the Lords desiring them to continue sitting some time longer while the Commons drew up an address and returned with the information that they had agreed.4
There was some talk of Granby standing for Leicestershire in 1708, and Rutland’s agent, Thomas Sawbridge, made heroic efforts to encourage Granby into action, but he had no desire for controversy and in the end he was returned again for Grantham. Granby was classed as a Whig in two lists of 1708. Identified as being on the fringes of the moderate Walpole– Townshend Whig group, he was also connected by marriage with a Junto Lord, the 1st Earl of Orford (Edward Russell*), and in the summer of 1709 Arthur Maynwaring* warned the Duchess of Marlborough that if Orford were passed over in the event of a new Admiralty commission, his relations ‘will be all dissatisfied, some of which are very considerable, such as the Duke of Devon[shire] and Lord Granby’. In 1710 he was returned for Leicestershire and successfully contested Grantham. He was listed as a Whig in the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710, and surprisingly, in a list of 1710–11, as a ‘Tory patriot’ opposed to the continuance of the war. Granby was unseated for Grantham on petition on 11 Jan. 1711, although the previous day he had in fact succeeded his father to the dukedom and a fortune estimated at £20,000 p.a. He died on 22 Feb. 1721, leaving £17,000 of South Sea Company stock, as well as his great estates in several counties. Conscious of his position as an eminent landowner, his will directed that stones be set up wherever he had made plantations at Belvoir with an inscription to the effect that the said plantations were made by himself, ‘for the good of my posterity’. His son, the Marquess of Granby (John Manners†), succeeded him.5