FITZWILLIAM, William, 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam [I] (1720-56).

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



1741 - 19 Apr. 1742

Family and Education

b. 15 Jan. 1720, o. s. of John, 2nd Earl Fitzwilliam. educ. Eton 1732, Grand Tour (Italy, Germany) 1740. m. 22 June 1744, Lady Anne Wentworth, da. of Thomas Watson Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham, 2s. 6da. suc. fa. 28 Aug. 1728. cr. Lord Fitzwilliam, Baron Milton [GB] 19 Apr. 1742, Viscount Milton and Earl Fitzwilliam [GB] 6 Sept. 1746.

Offices Held

Custos rot. Peterborough 1741-56; ld. of the bed-chamber to George II 1751-6.


Returned for Peterborough on the Fitzwilliam interest after coming of age, Fitzwilliam was warm in support of Sir Robert Walpole during the last days of his Administration, weeping on his resignation. He was on the court list for the secret committee set up by the Commons to inquire into Walpole’s Administration,1 soon after which he was raised to the English peerage.

On his marriage he distinguished himself not only by the magnificence of his apparel and the ‘new equipage ... made in the chinese fashion being all over japanned’ in which he took his bride to be presented at court, but also by making himself very ill by a surfeit of small beer and ices.2

On 2 July 1746 he successfully applied through Newcastle for an English earldom, with the support of Lord Rockingham.3 Nevertheless the 2nd Lord Egmont in his electoral survey, c.1749-50, noted under Peterborough:

Lord Fitzwilliam has grumbled more than once to me being slighted notwithstanding what has been done for him when so young, and without any parliamentary merit, and not a very sure interest in this borough.

He died 10 Aug. 1756.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Walpole to Mann, 17 Dec. 1741, 4 Feb. and 1 Apr. 1742.
  • 2. HMC Denbigh, v. 180, 249.
  • 3. Add. 32707, ff. 388, 395.