BATEMAN, William (?1695-1744), of Shobdon Court, nr. Leominster, Herefs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



24 Mar. 1721 - 1722
1727 - 1734

Family and Education

b. ?1695, 1st s. of Sir James and bro. of James Bateman. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. 26 Apr. 1712, aged 16. m. 1720, Lady Anne Spencer, da. of Charles, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, by Anne, da. of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 2s. suc. fa. to Shobdon and other Herefs. estates 1718.1 cr. Visct. Bateman [I] 12 July 1725; K.B. 12 Jan. 1732.

Offices Held


Succeeding to a great fortune, Bateman married the daughter of the then prime minister, Lord Sunderland. He was returned in 1721 for Leominster, where his Herefordshire estates carried an interest, but did not stand in 1722. In 1725 George I made him an Irish peer to avoid making him a knight of the Bath, observing ‘I can make him a lord, but I cannot make him a gentleman’.2 Returned again for Leominster in 1727, he was absent from the division on the civil list debt in April 1729 and voted against the Hessians in February 1730. His wife, ‘a great favourite at court’, was instrumental in bringing him over to the Administration, with a view to getting the order of the Bath for him. According to her grandmother, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, Lady Bateman wrote

letters to Mr. Pelham, the strongest that can be imagined, to obtain it. And at first the King was outrageous and said, if my Lord Bateman had it, William [the Duke of Cumberland] would not wear it. But at last the great thing was compassed by Lady Bateman.... Before the next Parliament met, he had the red ribbon, upon which he solemnly promised and gave his great honour, that he would always attend the House, and vote as he should be directed for the King’s service. Upon which he went to the Bath, and stayed there a great while to see how things would go. But unfortunately was mistaken and came back a little too soon, and was forced to stay at Totteridge some time longer than was natural to do, after so high an obligation and such large promises made by his lordship. At this I know the ministers were angry and exposed him by telling the story.3

Absent from the division on the army in January 1732, he voted with the Government on the excise bill in 1733, but against them on the repeal of the Septennial Act in 1734. On his standing for Radnor against Thomas Lewis, the Duke of Chandos wrote to him:

I know the first minister [Walpole] was very desirous Mr. Lewis should come in again to Parliament, but as this was before he knew of your Lordship’s intention to stand in opposition to him, and that, I am persuaded he has a personal regard for you, I can’t believe he will think it proper at least to be neuter in this affair.4

With Walpole’s support, Lewis defeated Bateman who never stood for Parliament again.

Towards the end of 1738 Bateman was separated from his wife for homosexual practices.5 ‘They say’, the Duchess of Marlborough wrote, ‘Lord Bateman has consented to do great things in this separation, which, if true, shows he is very much frighted’.6 He died at Paris in December 1744.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. PCC 209 Tenison.
  • 2. Walpole to Mann, 16 July 1776.
  • 3. G. Scott Thomson, Letters of a Grandmother, 86-87.
  • 4. 7 Nov. 1733, Chandos letter bks.
  • 5. Corresp. H. Walpole (Yale ed.), xxx. 309 n.4.
  • 6. HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1, p. 13.