WINDSOR, Thomas, 1st Visct. Windsor [I] (c.1669-1738), of Tardebigge, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1670, 2nd s. of Thomas Windsor, 1st Earl of Plymouth (d. 1687), but 1st by his 2nd w.; bro. of Hon. Andrews* and Hon. Dixie Windsor*. m. 28 Aug. 1703, aged 33, Lady Charlotte (d. 1733), da. of Philip Herbert, 7th Earl of Pembroke, wid. of John Jeffreys, 2nd Baron Jeffreys of Wem, 2s. (1 d.v.p.). cr. Visct. Windsor of Blackcastle [I] 19 June 1699, Baron Mountjoy 1 Jan. 1712.
Page of honour 1685–Dec. 1688; groom of the bedchamber 1692–1702.1
Cornet indep. tp. of horse 1685, 3 Drag. Gds. 1685, capt. 1687, lt.-col. 1690–4; col. regt. of Horse 1694–7, 1702–7, 1711–12, 3 Drag. Gds. 1712–17; brig.-gen. 1702, maj.-gen. 1704, lt.-gen. 1707.
Freeman, Worcester 1685; steward, manor of Reigate 1695–7; steward of Bramber by 1708–?d.2
Windsor was a professional soldier serving in what had originally been his father’s regiment and remaining with it after his father’s death. Promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1690 and made groom of the bedchamber in March 1692 with a salary of £500 p.a., he clearly enjoyed the favour of the new King, with whom he served in Flanders, obtaining his own regiment in 1694. He suffered a severe head wound in battle in August 1695. His regiment was disbanded in 1697 and for a while he went on half-pay, although he received handsome compensation in 1699 in the form of an Irish viscountcy. On the resumption of hostilities in 1702, he was given command of a regiment in Ireland and promoted to brigadier-general.3
For some time Windsor had harboured parliamentary ambitions. In 1695 he unsuccessfully contested Reigate, where he was steward of the manor, while at Evesham in 1698 he stood unsuccessfully at a by-election and at the general election. Windsor’s marriage, in August 1703, to the widow of Lord Jeffreys, brought him some 60 manors in Monmouth and Glamorganshire and control of several burgages at Bramber, finally giving him the electoral interest he needed. Even so, he failed at the two by-elections which occurred there in November 1703 and February 1704, but eventually succeeded in 1705. Thereafter his interest became dominant at Bramber. In the 1705 election he helped his brother, Hon. Dixie, to get elected for Cambridge University against Lord Treasurer Godolphin’s (Sidney†) son, Hon. Francis Godolphin*. He was classed as a ‘Churchman’ in June 1705. Despite declaring that he would vote against the Court candidate for Speaker, he was absent from the division on 25 Oct., either because he was abroad on service or because of a wish to avoid voting openly against the ministry. It was only a matter of time, however, before Godolphin got his revenge on Windsor for securing his son’s electoral defeat by having him removed from his regiment in April 1707. His brother, Dixie, also lost his commission at the same time. Windsor’s dismissal aroused some resentment among his brother officers. General Henry Lumley* wrote to (Sir) Thomas Hanmer II*, 4th Bt., ‘My Lord Windsor is much espoused by the gentlemen of the army of all parts, there not being many examples of that kind among us.’ He was classed as a Tory in a list of early 1708.4
In the 1708 election Windsor was successful for both Monmouthshire and Bramber, his interest in the latter constituency having been further strengthened by his appointment as steward of the manor. He was classed as a Tory after the election, and by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) as a ‘loss’ for the Whigs. He acted as a teller on 24 Nov. in favour of postponing until February the hearing of a petition against his return for Bramber. The hearing was in fact held on 15 Jan. 1709 when he was unseated, but he remained in the House, however, as the Member for Monmouthshire. In the 1709–10 session, he voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. In 1710 he was again returned for Monmouthshire on the recommendation of the 2nd Duke of Beaufort and was classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’. In the 1710–11 session he featured as one of the ‘Tory patriots’ who opposed the continuance of the war, and as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. Windsor was one of the 12 English peers created on 1 Jan. 1712 to secure the passage of the peace through the Upper House where he quickly emerged as a Hanoverian Tory; and was one of the lords who urged the Hanoverian court to send over the Electoral Prince in January 1714. In the following April he was expected to lose his regiment, but he managed to hang on until reprieved by Anne’s death, when his support for Hanover kept him his colonelcy until 1717. He died on 8 June 1738 and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1546; xvii. 979.
- 2. Worcester chamber order bk. 1679–1721, f. 121; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 1069; The Case of Bramber Election 1 May 1708.
- 3. C. T. Gatty, Mary Davies and the Manor of Ebury, ii. 60.
- 4. Add. 29579, f. 507; 70259, Paul Foley I* to Robert Harley*, 26 Oct. 1695; The Case of Bramber Election; HMC Cowper, iii. 64; Coxe, Walpole, ii. 8; Hanmer Corresp. 106.
- 5. Beaufort mss at Badminton House, Beaufort to electors of Monmouthshire, 2 Sept. 1710; Orig. Pprs. ed. Macpherson, ii. 546, 588.