ORME, Garton (1696-1758), of Woolavington, nr. Midhurst, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. c.1696, 1st surv. s. of Robert Orme, M.P. Midhurst 1705-9, 1710-11, of Woolavington, Suss. by Dorothea, da. of John Dawnay, 1st Visct. Downe [I]. m. (1) 1715, Charlotte (d. Jan. 1727), da. of Capt. Jonas Hanway, R.N., 1da.; (2) 4 Mar. 1727, Anne Lafitte, da. of Rev. Daniel Lafitte of Bordeaux, vicar of Woolavington 1691-1731. suc. fa. 1711.
Gent. usher to Princess of Wales 1736-58; gent. in waiting to the Prince 1750-1.
Garton Orme’s grandfather acquired by marriage the estates of the Garton family, including the manors of Woolavington and East Dean, near the boroughs of Arundel and Midhurst. Succeeding as a minor, he was taken up by his neighbour, the Duke of Richmond, who in 1734 applied on his behalf for the Duke of Somerset’s interest at Midhurst in the event of a future vacancy there.1 It was probably to Richmond’s recommendation that he owed the post of gentleman usher to the Princess of Wales on her marriage in 1736. Returned unopposed on his own interest for Arundel in 1738, he voted with the Opposition as a servant of the Prince of Wales. He was re-elected in 1741 after an expensive contest, spending money so freely that it was assumed that he was being financed by the Prince.2 Till Frederick’s death he consistently voted with the Leicester House party, in which he was never more than a minor figure. His name does not appear in any of the lists of proposed appointments in a future reign.
In 1747 Orme was again returned for Arundel, this time in conjunction with Theobald Taaffe, defeating candidates supported by his old patron, the Duke of Richmond, who unsuccessfully tried to induce them to petition ‘against the bribery of Orme and Taaffe’. Learning of moves to turn him out at the next election, he wrote in 1748 to the Duke, suggesting that there was no reason why they should not reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement relating to the borough, since ‘I have no further design there than to secure myself’ and ‘shallbe glad to come into any measures that will not prejudice my own interest’.3 Nothing seems to have come of this overture. Soon afterwards he fell into financial difficulties. In 1750 a private Act was passed enabling him to sell or mortgage his estates and his daughter’s portion for the payment of his debts. In 1752 he sold his East Dean estate for £12,000. He did not stand in 1754.
Orme died 20 Oct. 1758, leaving a lurid local reputation. According to tradition, he got rid of his first wife by pushing her down a well, a story which received some support in 1845, when one of the Orme coffins on being opened was found to be full of stones. He was also supposed to have hired a highwayman to waylay his daughter on her way to London to protest against his alienation of her patrimony. For many years it was the tradition for owners and heirs of Lavington to commemorate him by spitting when they came to the boundary of the East Dean estate.4