WROTH, Sir Thomas, 3rd Bt. (c.1674-1721), of Petherton Park, Som.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. c.1674, o. surv. s. of Sir John Wroth, 2nd Bt., of Petherton Park by Elizabeth, da. of Peregrine Palmer† of Fairfield, Som., sis. of Nathaniel Palmer*. educ. Winchester 1686. m. 16 Apr. 1693, Mary, da. of Thomas Osbaldeston of Aldersbrook, Essex, 2da. suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 1677.1
Sheriff, Som. 1708–9.
Wroth’s family had been established at North Petherton since lands in the parish were first granted them by King John. A junior branch, from which Wroth himself was descended, had seen its fortunes raised in Elizabeth I’s reign by Sir Thomas Wroth†, a successful lawyer, who bought Blendon Hall in Bexley, Kent. Wroth’s father, having also inherited the main Somerset estates, Petherton Park and Newton Placey, chose the former as his residence and placed Blendon under mortgage. Wroth succeeded his father while still an infant, and in 1693, while still under age, his trustees procured an Act enabling him to make a marriage settlement. The close proximity of Petherton Park to Bridgwater made him a natural choice when a vacancy arose in the borough at the November 1701 election. His grandfather, the 1st baronet, had represented it in 1640 and 1660, while his uncle Nathaniel Palmer had done so only a few years previously. As a Tory, his return was deemed by Lord Spencer (Charles*) as a ‘loss’ for the Whigs. On 29 Jan. 1702 he was a teller in favour of adjourning deliberations on the question that the Whig Earl of Peterborough had been guilty of corruption in the Malmesbury election; and he told again on 12 Feb. in favour of a bill facilitating additional adjournments of the poll in Somerset elections. He voted on the 26th in support of the motion vindicating the impeachment of William III’s Whig ministers. Although he was a teller on two further occasions during the session, the questions were of a purely technical kind. This initial willingness to assist in the detailed work of the House did not last, however, and thereafter he left virtually no mark on Commons’ proceedings.2
In Queen Anne’s first Parliament he was granted three weeks’ leave on 8 Jan. 1703, but was back in attendance by 13 Feb. when he voted against agreeing with the Whig Lords’ amendments to the bill for extending the period for taking the oath of abjuration. He was allowed a further three weeks’ absence on 19 Feb. 1704. Despite his Toryism, he was not at this time particularly strong in his attitude towards the Church, a trait which he seems to have shared with his uncle Nathaniel Palmer who was currently one of the county’s knights. Failing to vote in favour of the Tack in November 1704, he was noted as ‘Low Church’ in a list published early in 1705. After being re-elected unopposed at Bridgwater, he voted in October against the Court candidate for Speaker. He was granted leave on 31 Jan. 1707 owing to ill-health. An analysis of the House after the admission of the Scottish Members classed him as a Tory. In 1708 Wroth fell from favour with Bridgwater’s corporation as their preference turned to George Dodington*, a prominent member of the ascendant Junto Whig faction. At the 1710 election, however, Wroth was nevertheless adopted by the county Tories, and re-entered the House as knight of the shire for Somerset along with his second cousin, the young Sir William Wyndham, 3rd Bt. He was classed once more as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’ of the new Parliament, and in the first session featured as a ‘worthy patriot’ who took part in exposing the mismanagements of the previous administration. Although a moderate at the time of the Tack, he was by now a member of the October Club. On 2 Feb. 1711 he helped sponsor the introduction of a bill prohibiting the import of foreign wool. He transferred from the county to Wells for the 1713 election, and was classed as a Tory on the Worsley list. He did not stand after 1715 and died on 27 June 1721 at Kellerton, Devon, aged 46. In his will he left all his property and personal estate to his elder daughter, Cecily, wife of Sir Hugh Acland, 2nd Bt.*3