COVENTRY, William (?1676-1751), of Croome Court, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. ?1676, 1st surv. s. of Walter Coventry of St. Peter-le-Poor, London, merchant, by Anne, da. of Henry Holcombe of St. Andrew’s, Holborn, merchant. educ. Pembroke, Camb. 13 Apr. 1693, aged 16. m. 1720, Elizabeth (said to be his mistress),1 da. of John Allen of Westminster, 3s. suc. fa. 1692; cos. as 5th Earl of Coventry 27 Oct. 1719.
Jt. clerk comptroller of the Green Cloth 1717-19; P.C. 22 Mar. 1720; ld. lt. Worcs. 1720-d.; high steward, Bridport 1727-d.
William Coventry was descended from Sir Thomas Coventry, justice of the common pleas, whose eldest son Sir Thomas Coventry, M.P., lord keeper under Charles I, was created Baron Coventry in 1628. The lord keeper’s grandson, Thomas Coventry, M.P., 5th Baron Coventry, was created in 1697 Viscount Deerhurst and Earl of Coventry, with a special remainder to the surviving male issue of his great-grandfather, among whom William was named second.
A Whig under Queen Anne, Coventry was returned for the fourth time at Bridport in 1715, voting for the Administration in all recorded divisions. His only known speech was in December 1717, when he supported Craggs’s motion to maintain the land forces. Early in the new reign, according to the 1st Earl of Egmont, he put in for the office of clerk of the Parliaments, offering £1,000. ‘Sir Robert Walpole bid him depend on having the place and to bring his money next morning. When he came with it, Sir Robert told him he must pay £500 more. Accordingly next day he brought £1,500, but then Sir Robert told him he could not have it unless he paid £2,000’, the amount offered by William Cowper, the poet’s uncle. Coventry ‘refused with anger and Cowper had it’. When clerk of the Green Cloth he accompanied the King to Hanover in 1719. Later in that year he succeeded under the special remainder to the title and estates of his kinsman Gilbert, 4th Earl of Coventry. In the House of Lords he became a ‘malcontent’,2 signing many protests. He died 18 Mar. 1751.