WANDESFORD, Christopher, 2nd Visct. Castlecomer [I] (1684-1719), of Kirklington, Yorks.
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Family and Education
bap. 2 Mar. 1684, 1st s. of Christopher Wandesford†, 1st Visct. Castlecomer [I], by Elizabeth, da. of Hon. George Montagu† of Horton, Northants. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1702, BA 1704. m. 31 May 1715, Frances (d. 1756), da. of Thomas Pelham I*, 1s. suc. fa. 15 Sept. 1707.1
MP [I] 1707.
Freeman, St. Canice [I] 1707.2
PC [I] 25 Apr. 1710; gov. of Kilkenny 1715–d.
The Wandesfords’ fortune was based upon extensive landed estates in Ireland, where they owned 20,000 acres in co. Kilkenny, and in Yorkshire, where their holdings included profitable coal and copper mines. Castlecomer’s father had sat in two Parliaments during Charles II’s reign but following the Revolution involved himself in Irish as opposed to English politics, sitting in the Irish parliament from 1692 and being appointed to the Irish privy council in 1695. Castlecomer’s own political career began with his election to the Irish parliament in 1707. During the viceroyalty of Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*) Castlecomer was added to the Irish privy council, his links to the Junto no doubt developing through his uncle Lord Halifax (Charles Montagu*) and probably explaining his return for Morpeth in 1710 upon the interest of the Whig Lord Carlisle (Charles Howard*). The ‘Hanover list’ duly classed him as a Whig, and these loyalties were clearly demonstrated by his Commons activity in the closing months of the 1710–11 session. In March 1711, for example, he assisted the opposition to Tory attacks on Bishop Nicolson’s activity in the Carlisle election, describing the proceedings on this election as ‘a deadly blow to the October-men’, and on 28 Apr. he was teller against the motion that the failure of the previous ministry to compel the imprest accomptants to pass their accounts was a high injustice to the nation. On a less partisan note, Castlecomer reported, on 15 May, a private bill relating to property in Dublin. In the next session he assumed a more prominent role in the Whig opposition. On 7 Dec. he voted for the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion, and this concern about the prospective peace was evident in the new year. He was a teller on 5 Feb. 1712 against the resolution of the committee of the whole on the state of the war that the Dutch had been guilty of failing to furnish their agreed quota of troops. This concern to rebut Tory attacks on the conduct of the war was also evident in the debate of 14 Feb. concerning the Barrier Treaties, Castlecomer being one of a number of Whigs who defended them as the best guarantee of the Protestant succession. Given such activity, and his relationship with Halifax, it is not surprising to find that Castlecomer was a founder member of the Hanover Club. He appears to have been one of the club’s more prominent figures in the Commons, as it was suggested in May that he should be one of the club members to be briefed on the Whig response to the report of the committee examining the unaccounted £35 million of public funds granted before Christmas 1710. Castlecomer continued to harry the ministry in the 1713 session. At the end of April he wrote that the Commons ‘have every day very good debates, though I cannot say what I think is right reason often sways the majority’, but he nevertheless continued to act in favour of ‘right reason’. Having been named on 29 Apr. to a committee to scrutinize the naval estimates, he supported Nicholas Lechmere’s* claim that the first lord of the Admiralty was receiving twice the salary given in the estimates. Castlecomer was also prominent in the opposition to the French commercial treaty. On 14 May he spoke against the motion to introduce the bill confirming the 8th and 9th articles of the treaty, it being reported that ‘he made the House laugh by desiring leave to read a paragraph out of a French author who had writ what great things Louis XIV had done for his people . . . among other things, was this tariff or book of rates contrived for the advantage of his subjects’. He also told against the ministry on two occasions during the bill’s passage: on 30 May in favour of postponing the first reading of the bill, and on 9 June against hearing the report of the ways and means committee upon the alterations necessary to bring customs duties with France into line with the treaty. He voted on 18 June against the measure, being described as a Whig in the subsequently printed division list. Five days later he was teller for the motion that the address requesting the appointment of commissioners to treat with France concerning the commercial treaty be instructed to insist on the right of British subjects ‘to trade to all ports in the French King’s dominions’. Castlecomer was defeated at Morpeth at the 1713 election, but returned to the House in 1715 and remained a Member until his death on 23 June 1719.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison
- 1. IGI, Suss.
- 2. Kilkenny bor. recs. St. Canice corp. min. bk. 1661–1718, p. 231.
- 3. H. B. MacCall, Wandesford Fam. 99–101; CSP Dom. 1695, p. 242; Add. 70248, Edmund Maine* to Robert Harley*, 18 Oct. 1710; 47027, f. 29; 31144, f. 371; Nicolson Diaries ed. Jones and Holmes, 530, 548, 551, 559, 562; Wentworth Pprs. 266, 335; NSA, Kreienberg despatch 15 Feb. 1712; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 299; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 58(11), p. 180.