STATHAM, John (1676-1759), of Wigwell Grange, Derbys.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 18 May 1676, 1st s. of Thomas Statham of Tideswell, Derbys. by his 1st w. Barbara, da. and coh. of Cromwell Meverell of Whetstone, Leics. educ. Clement’s Inn 1691. m. c.1697, Bridget (d. 1737), da. and coh. of Henry Wigley of Wigwell Grange, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1702; kntd. 18 June 1714.1
Surveyor of lands, north parts of duchy of Lancaster 1708–d.; envoy to Turin 1713–14; gent. of privy chamber in ordinary May 1714–1727.2
Statham’s great-grandfather, the owner of Edenstall and Tansley in Derbyshire, raised a troop of horse for the King in the Civil War. In a memoir composed in the 1720s Statham claimed that the family’s finances had been seriously undermined by their loyalty to the Stuarts, causing financial difficulties which worsened after 1660. Statham’s father was described as an attorney-at-law, and Statham entered Clement’s Inn in 1691. In his later memoir Statham claimed that in 1692 he moved to Gray’s Inn and the following year entered Oxford, but neither event is noted in the records of these institutions. Statham’s father supported Thomas Coke* in the Derbyshire election of December 1701, and, though he was apparently reluctant to support Coke when a by-election was anticipated two years later, it seems that it was to Tories with constituencies in the Midlands that Statham turned for support concerning his first official appointment. In February 1706 Statham petitioned the Staffordshire Tory Lord Gower (Sir John Leveson Gower, 5th Bt.*), chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, to be granted the office of surveyor of the northern parts of the duchy, a post he already held by assignment, and it was Coke who pressed Statham’s claims when little progress appeared to have been made in the matter. Despite Coke’s efforts, Statham had to wait until 1708 to be granted this office in his own right.3
At the 1708 election Statham was suggested as a possible candidate for Derby, but nothing came of this and he did not enter the Commons until 1713, when he was returned for the Cornish borough of Mitchell. He may have owed his election to the support of Lord Lansdown (George Granville*), as later, in the 1720s, Statham claimed to have been on terms of ‘intimate friendship’ with Lansdown, Lord Bolingbroke (Henry St. John II*) and Viscount Bulkeley [I] (Richard*). Though Statham made little impact on the records of this Parliament he made sufficient impression upon his contemporaries to be classed in the Worsley list as a Tory. He did not stand for Parliament again until 1727, when he was defeated at Lichfield. Litigious by nature, he complained in 1757 that ‘the Faction’, i.e. the Whigs, had heaped ‘wrong, injustice and oppression’ upon him and loaded his estates with ‘mortgages, judgments and other securities’ for 30 years. To clear himself from the calumnies of his enemies he printed a broadside at that time asserting that he could raise ‘above ten thousand pounds, without loading or incumbering any of his real estates’. He died in 1759 and was buried in Tideswell church. His poor relationship with his only son John appears in the epitaph he had written for himself and which was placed on his tomb:
Under this stone there lies a knight
With cares and sorrow killed outright,
His thread of life was not quite run,
He died by a graceless son.
Parents beware! and take his word,
That grief can kill without a sword!
The two executors he appointed in his will refused to act, and administration was granted to his son.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Jnl. Derbys. Arch. Soc. iv. 36–47; S. P. H. Statham, Descent of Fam. of Statham, 58–60; Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Officials Lists, 76.
- 2. Somerville, 76.
- 3. Statham, 59; Jnl. Derbys. Arch. Soc. 36–47; HMC Cowper, ii. 445; iii. 22; HMC Portland, viii. 221, 339.
- 4. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Mellish pprs. Me144–83/57, Edmund to Sir Thomas Parker*, 3 Apr. 1708; Jnl. Derbys. Arch. Soc. iv. 36–47; Statham, 60; PROB 11/851.