MORDAUNT, Sir Charles, 6th Bt. (?1697-1778), of Walton d'Eiville, Warws. and Little Massingham, Norf.
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Family and Education
b. ?1697, 1st s. of Sir John Mordaunt, 5th Bt., M.P. for Warws. of Walton d’Eiville and Little Massingham, by his 2nd w. Penelope, da. of Sir George Warburton, 1st Bt., of Arley, Warws. educ. New Coll. Oxf. 8 June 1714, aged 16; L. Inn 1718. m. (I) 1 Dec. 1720, Dorothy (d. Mar. 1726), da. of John Conyers, M.P., of Walthamstow, aunt of John Conyers, 2da.; (2) 7 July 1730, Sophia, da. of Sir John Wodehouse, 4th Bt., of Kimberley, Norf., sis. of Sir Armine Wodehouse, 5th Bt., 2s. suc. fa. 6 Sept. 1721.
The Mordaunts of Warwickshire were of the family of the Earls of Peterborough and settled in Warwickshire in the 16th century. Sir Charles Mordaunt represented the county for 40 years without a contest. He was a Tory, and on 18 Nov. 1754 opened the debate on the Oxfordshire election for the Tory side.1 In March 1755 he took part in the Tory meetings at the Horn Tavern over the Mitchell election petition, and on 14 Jan. 1757 in the meeting of country gentlemen arranged by George Townshend to discuss the line to be adopted over the Minorca inquiry.2 At the beginning of George III’s reign great efforts were made by both Opposition and court to win him, as one of the Tory leaders. James West wrote to Newcastle on 12 Oct. 1762: ‘I do not find my neighbour Sir Charles Mordaunt at all determined as to his own or friends’ conduct’; and on 2 Nov. Newcastle noted that the Duke of Cumberland ‘had heard that Sir Charles Mordaunt and several of the Tories would not support this Administration’. On 26 Nov. Newcastle wrote to Hardwicke:
Sir Charles Mordaunt and Bagot told Mr. Legge, that they found themselves in a very disagreeable situation—that if they were proscribed (meaning by us) was it to be expected that they should assist in running down the present ministers for whom they did not show any great regard? Legge wanted to have power to assure them that there was no such intention.
Hardwicke thought Mordaunt and his friends ‘the sounder part of the Tories’, and saw no objection to the proposed assurance.3
But more substantial offers came from the court. Bute wrote to Fox on 16 Dec.:4 ‘I have seen Sir C. Mordaunt who expressed himself in the handsomest manner, declined at his age entering into employment, but expressed his wishes to see his son in his Majesty’s bedchamber.’ John Mordaunt was appointed a groom of the bedchamber, and his father was won for the court. But he remained an independent country gentleman. On 24 Feb. 1763 he attended a meeting ‘consisting of 60 or 70 persons, Tories and others’, to discuss the new army establishment. According to a document in the Newcastle papers5 Mordaunt said that he ‘loved the King, had no suspicion relating to him, but the increase of corps was an increase of expense’. However, wrote the King to Bute, Mordaunt ‘in the handsomest manner yielded to what is proposed’.6
He supported the Grenville Administration, and voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act. On 27 Feb. 1767 he voted against the Government on the land tax. In the Parliament of 1768 he appears in only one division list, the minority list of 6 Feb. 1772 on the petition of the clergy against the 39 Articles—which is surprising in view of his High Church connexions. On the royal marriage bill Robinson classed him as ‘doubtful’, but in his survey of 1774 as ‘pro’. No speech by Mordaunt is known. At the general election of 1774 his son stood for Warwickshire but was defeated.
Mordaunt died 11 Mar. 1778.