WINFORD, Sir Thomas Cookes, 2nd Bt. (1673-1744), of Glasshampton and Norgrove, Worcs.
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Family and Education
bap. 26 Dec. 1673, 1st s. of Henry Winford of Astley, Worcs. by Mercy, da. of Sir William Cookes, 1st Bt., of Norgrove. educ. L. Inn 1687, called 1694; travelled abroad (France) 1701. m. (1) bef. 1708, Beata (d. 1717), da. of (Sir) Henry Parker, (2nd Bt.*) and sis. of Hugh Parker*, s.p.; (2) lic. 12 Nov. 1718, Elizabeth (d. 1753), da. of Rev. Thomas Wilmot of Bromsgrove, Worcs., s.p. suc. fa. 1685; uncle Sir Thomas Cookes, 2nd Bt., to Norgrove 8 June 1702; uncle Sir Thomas Winford, 1st Bt., as 2nd Bt. 22 Sept. 1702.1
Freeman, Worcester 1710; sheriff, Worcs. 1721–2.2
Commr. to inquire into losses during rebellion, Worcs. 1716.3
Cookes Winford started life as plain Thomas Winford, the eldest son of a Worcestershire lawyer who had been called to the bar of the Inner Temple in 1668, and the grandson of Sir John Winford, a noted Royalist. After his father’s death Winford’s education seems to have been directed by his uncle and namesake, Thomas Winford of Lincoln’s Inn, the second prothonotary of the court of common pleas. This would account for Winford’s admission into Lincoln’s Inn and subsequent call to the bar after the minimum prescribed period of qualification (seven years), and only one week after his uncle had been made an associate of the bench. It is unclear whether he practised as a barrister, but he retained chambers in the Inn until at least 1730, although he was then resident in ‘the country’. His circumstances were transformed by the generosity of two uncles. In February 1697 his uncle and godfather, Sir Thomas Cookes, 2nd Bt., made him his heir on the condition that he altered his name to Cookes. Thus, while travelling in France in June 1701 he inherited estates in Worcestershire worth a reputed £2,500 p.a. Newspaper reports of a further £20–30,000 in liquid assets were exaggerated since Cookes had made other generous bequests, including £10,000 to endow an Oxford college. This last legacy proved to be particularly troublesome for Cookes Winford (as he now became) as executor of the estate because it took until 1714 for Gloucester Hall to be transformed into Worcester College.4
Cookes Winford was now the owner of a substantial estate in the Bromsgrove area: his consequent rise in status was recognized immediately by some of his contemporaries who attempted unsuccessfully to burden him with the office of sheriff in November 1701. Other, more political, schemers were interested in the replacement of the neutral Sir Thomas Cookes, 2nd Bt., by a younger, more vigorous figure. One such was William Walsh*, who by October 1701 had recognized Cookes Winford’s potential as a candidate for the city of Worcester in the forthcoming general election. His main attraction was the wealth at his disposal, which would be used to mount an effective challenge to the free-spending Tory Samuel Swift*. Unfortunately, Walsh had no idea of his suitability, admitting ‘but what he is and how like to be in Parliament I know nothing but ’tis probable he will be governed by his uncle the prothonotary of whom I know nothing either’. Not surprisingly, nothing definite resulted from this speculation although by April 1702 Walsh had ascertained that Cookes Winford was inclined towards the Whigs and asked him to attend a meeting to discuss the forthcoming county election, and the strength of Walsh’s main opponent in the Bromsgrove area, Sir John Pakington, 4th Bt.* Moreover, Walsh was very perceptive in positing a close relationship between Cookes Winford and his other uncle, for not only did the prothonotary ensure that the baronetcy he acquired in June 1702 had a special remainder to the male heirs of his deceased brother Henry (i.e. Cookes Winford), he also left him his estates in Buckinghamshire, Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire on his death in September 1702.5
Cookes Winford was now a member of the county elite, and increasingly associated with the Whigs. He appeared as a witness before the committee of elections on behalf of Hon. Henry Herbert* concerning the Bewdley election in 1705 and was still an active supporter in May 1707 during the protracted legal struggle for control of the borough. Furthermore, he was named as one of eight (mainly Whig) trustees in an abortive bill in February 1707 aimed at preserving the salt springs in Droitwich. The opportunity to enter Parliament occurred on the death of William Bromley I* in August 1707. Cookes Winford quickly established himself as the Whig candidate. Crucial to his appeal may have been the zealous support of his father-in-law, Parker, a committed Tory, which allowed him to be elected unopposed in December. During his first session in the House he petitioned the Commons on 19 Feb. 1708 for leave to bring in a bill to solve the impasse surrounding his uncle Cookes’s bequest to Oxford. This had become bogged down in college politics because the intentions of his uncle were unclear. The House agreed by 118 votes to 87 to refer the petition to a committee but, given the strength of the opposition to the measure, it was no surprise when the committee failed to report. Cookes Winford’s political views seem to have been readily apparent to contemporary commentators because he was classed as a Whig in an analysis of the Commons dating from early 1708.6
The death of Walsh in March 1708 simplified the political situation in Worcestershire, allowing Cookes Winford and Pakington to be returned unopposed at the May general election. A list of the previous Parliament, with the returns of this election added, again classed him as a Whig. Also in the 1708–9 session he supported the naturalization of the Palatines. In the following session he voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. It is likely that he left for the country before the end of this session as he received leave of absence for one month on 18 Mar. 1710. Although he signed the Whiggish address from Worcestershire in April 1710, he did not contest the election later that year. He was active in supporting the Whig candidate at Worcester, and it was believed that if the Commons made that election void he would stand at the ensuing by-election. In the event, he never stood again, not even in the more propitious circumstances of 1715 when one Whig faced two Tories in the county contest. However, he seems to have remained active in local affairs, being one of a group of nine justices in July 1716 granted a crown lease of buildings and land adjacent to Worcester Castle for use as a house of correction, and being appointed in August of that year as a commissioner to inquire into the losses and damages sustained during the Fifteen. He also served as sheriff in 1721–2, a general election year under the Septennial Act. He settled the Winford estates in Worcestershire on his nephew Thomas Geers† when the latter married in 1731. By that date he was probably resident in Putney, where he died on 19 Jan. 1744. His will makes reference only to his lands in Middlesex and Nottinghamshire, which were left to the niece of his second wife, Elizabeth Wilmot, who had married Dr Edward Milward, a physician of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Norgrove went to John Cookes under the settlement of Sir Thomas Cookes. His widow married Samuel Hellier of Woodhouses, Staffordshire.7
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. IGI, Worcs.; Add. 24121, f. 348; L. Inn Adm. i. 339; L. Inn Black Bks. iii. 190; Post Boy, 17–19 June 1701; Hereford and Worcester RO (Worcester, St. Helen’s), Hampton mss 705: 349/BA4657/i/54, p. 41, Parker to Pakington, 14 May ; The Gen. n.s. i. 104; Hereford and Worcester RO (Worcester, St. Helen’s), Cal. Wm. Lygon letters, 694, Thomas Wylde* to Lygon, 21 Feb. 1716–17; Nash, Worcs. i. 42.
- 2. W. R. Williams, Worcs. MPs, 56.
- 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxx. 425.
- 4. Cal. I.T. Recs. iii. 59; L. Inn Black Bks. 123, 190, 293; D. Lemmings, Gents. and Barristers, 262; VCH Worcs. iii. 227; Post Boy, 17–19 June 1701; L. S. Sutherland, Pol. and Finance 18th Cent. 532–44.
- 5. CSP Dom. 1702–3, p. 526; Surr. RO (Kingston), Somers mss 371/14/B20, Walsh to [Ld. Somers (Sir John*)], 26 Oct. 1701; Northumberland mss at Alnwick Castle, 21, i. ff. 147–8, Walsh to [?bp. of Oxford], 26 Oct. 1701 (Speck trans.); Post Man, 9–11 July 1702.
- 6. CJ, xv. 171; Epistolary Curiosities ed. Warner, ii. 33–36; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 77/80, (Sir) J[ohn]. T[albot†] to Shrewsbury, 11 Feb. 1706–7; Somers mss 371/14/L29, Walsh to Somers, 18 Aug. 1707; Beaufort mss at Badminton House, Coventry pprs. 503, i. 2, p. 4, Cookes Winford to [Ld. Coventry], 13 Aug., 24 Nov. 1707; Sutherland, 535–40.
- 7. Add. Ch. 76115; Cal. Wm. Lygon letters, 402, Mrs Katharine Wylde to Lygon, 6 Feb. 1710–11; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxx. 381, 425; VCH Worcs. iv. 232; iii. 227; PCC 25 Anstis, 332 Searle.