HOGHTON, Sir Henry, 5th Bt. (c.1679-1768), of Hoghton Tower, nr. Preston, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1679, 1st surv. s. of Sir Charles Hoghton, 4th Bt., M.P., by Mary, da. of John Skeffington, 2nd Visct. Masserene [I]. educ. M. Temple 1695. m. (1) Oct. 1710, Mary (d. 23 Feb. 1720), da. of Sir William Boughton, 6th Bt., of Lawford, Warws., s.p.; (2) 14 Apr. 1721, Elizabeth Lloyd (d. 1 Dec. 1736), wid. of Lord James Russell, yr. s. of William, 1st Duke of Bedford; (3) Susanna (with £8,000), da. of Thomas Butterworth of Manchester, s.p. suc. fa. 10 June 1710.
Commr. for forfeited estates 1716-25; judge advocate gen. 1734-41.
The Hoghtons, one of the oldest families in Lancashire, were Presbyterians. Hoghton’s grandfather, the 3rd Bt., fought for Parliament in the civil war, was returned for the county in 1656, and after the Restoration made Hoghton Tower an asylum for nonconformist ministers. His father, M.P. for Lancashire in 1679-81, 1681 and 1689-90, carried on the tradition. Under Hoghton the house became a regular Presbyterian chapel, with a congregation of 180. He also founded several nonconformist chapels in Preston and the neighbourhood.
On succeeding to the baronetcy, Hoghton successfully contested Preston as a Whig in 1710 but lost his seat in 1713. Returned unopposed in 1715, he steadily supported the Government. As a deputy lieutenant of Lancashire and colonel of militia he took an active part in putting his county ‘in a posture of defence’ during the rebellion. In the fighting at Preston his town house was occupied alternately by the King’s and the rebel forces as a strong point.1 In 1716 he was chosen by the House of Commons to be one of the commissioners for the sale of estates forfeited for high treason in the rebellion, with a tax-free salary of £1,000 a year.
In 1722 Hoghton gave up his seat at Preston to stand for the county. On the declaration of the poll a local supporter wrote to Lord Sunderland:
After a vast expense and fatigue Sir Harry Hoghton as the poll now stands has lost his election ... Your Lordship knows that Sir Harry gave up his interest to Mr. Pulteney at Preston where he might have succeeded himself, so hope your Lordship will not let so true a friend to the Government be turned out of the House.2
After unsuccessfully contesting Kingston-upon-Hull at a by-election in January 1724, he was brought in by the Government for East Looe in the following February.
In 1727 Hoghton was returned unopposed for Preston. At the dissolution in 1734 Walpole appointed him judge advocate general. Though his support of the excise bill and other unpopular votes had antagonized Lord Derby, his opponents were unable to find a candidate to stand against him and he was once more allowed a walk-over.3 In 1741 he was defeated and resigned his post.
During the rebellion of 1745 Hoghton corresponded direct with Pelham about internal security in Lancashire. In reply to a letter from Pelham notifying him of the landing of the Young Pretender and of the military position, he observed that if the friends of the Government in Lancashire had
nothing to depend on but our own zeal and courage we are in a bad case. We have some friends but few in comparison to those against us ...
I can’t end this without asking pardon for differing in opinion that the dispositions of the people and the strength of the enemy is far different from what it was in the year 1715. As to our own county, our enemies are as strong as then, and I know of no converts to be depended on.
You are kind in remembering the part I acted then. I am the same now, only 30 years older, and am ready still to venture my life and fortune for my king and country.
On the approach of the rebel army he wrote to Pelham:
Our militia have answered as to keeping the peace of the county, but can’t be of any service in stopping the progress of the rebels and as our first 14 days have expired and I fear in the general confusion we are in no condition to collect the money for the other 14 days and the men must disperse if they have not their pay.
He and his family took refuge in Yorkshire till the rebellion was over, when his insistence, as a justice of the peace, on enforcing the full rigour of the law against Roman Catholics brought him into collision with the Government. The proceedings instituted by him and his fellow justices were stayed by Order-in-Council, and it was intimated that if there were any further trouble they would ‘be left out of the commission of the peace, for the lords of the Privy Council are very angry with them’. ‘As I’m reduced to the station of only a country justice’, Hoghton commented, ‘I shan’t meddle, and notwithstanding these discouragements I’ll never alter, but do the best service I can, which can’t be much upon the footing we are at present’.4
Hoghton died on 23 Feb. 1768 at the age of 91, after a life exemplifying his ‘family’s steadiness at all times to support the honest interest in this disaffected country’.5