WARING, Walter (?1726-80), of Owlbury, Salop, subsequently of Groton, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. ?1726, s. of Robert Waring of Owlbury. educ. Shrewsbury; St. John’s, Camb. 8 Apr. 1745, aged 18. m. 18 July 1758, Hannah, da. of John Ranby, serjeant surgeon to the King, 1s. suc. to Groton estate of his cos. Thomas Waring 1769.
Waring’s Shropshire estate gave him an interest at Bishop’s Castle, where in 1755 he was returned unopposed. He was counted as a Tory in Henry Fox’s list drawn up in February or March 1755 in connexion with the Mitchell election petition.1 No vote or speech by him is known during this Parliament. In 1759, apparently as a means of raising money, he vacated his seat and arranged for the return of Henry Grenville, a complete stranger to the borough.
Before the general election of 1761 Shelburne noted that candidates at Bishop’s Castle would ‘want money’,2 and Waring, who did not stand, presumably again disposed of his interest in the borough. But on a vacancy in September 1763, encouraged by his father-in-law John Ranby who obtained for him a promise of Government support, he began to canvass the borough in opposition to George Clive. Lord Clive, who had recently acquired a major interest there, wrote to Newcastle, 14 Oct. 1763:3
Your Grace and Mr. Pitt cannot do Mr. Waring a greater piece of service than persuading Mr. Ranby to prevail upon Mr. Waring to drop this contest, which must end in his utter ruin and destruction without a possibility of succeeding; his fortune being by no means equal to such an undertaking.
Clive offered to pay ‘£1,000 to indemnify Mr. Waring for his expenses already incurred’4 if Waring withdrew from the contest. The Administration, anxious to placate Clive, pressed Waring to accept but he refused and was badly defeated. On 13 Dec. 1765 George Clive wrote to Lord Clive:5‘Waring continues to disturb the peace of the town and I apprehend from the insolent requests of some of the voters that he is tampering with them and making them promises.’ But when at the beginning of December 1767 Waring was asked to stand again, he refused on grounds of expense, and soon afterwards sold his estate to Clive for £35,000 with a promise to give Clive ‘his entire interest bona fide at all times with respect to Bishop’s Castle’.6
In 1768 Waring unsuccessfully contested Coventry in opposition to the corporation interest. Here is the account sent by Taylor White (brother of John White) to his daughter, Anne, 22 Mar. 1768:
I dined at Coventry where I found the town had been set into a flame by the accidental coming of a stranger Mr. Warren [Waring], a Shropshire gentleman, a day or two before the election. The old Members were Mr. Conway [and] Mr. Archer. The town were displeased at Mr. Archer’s not having paid all the demands made on him for his last election ... They went round the country to the Tory gentlemen ... but none of their own country chose to meddle with the Coventry electors. So this Mr. Waring, who by the by has sold his estate in Shropshire to Lord Clive, was invited by the landlord of the Bull Inn at Coventry to stand, which he very wisely accepted of, and stood a poll which he lost by about fifty votes. However he was persuaded to demand a scrutiny and sent for Mr. Newnham to be his council ... I saw Newnham at Coventry and advised him to take his fees before he went about business, for from all accounts of Mr. Waring’s finances he would scarce get any if he did not secure them beforehand.7
Waring now identified himself with the campaign to establish the rights of freemen excluded by the corporation, and when these were established by a verdict of the King’s bench he acquired considerable popularity.8 Financial difficulties may have prevented him from contesting the by-election of November 1768. The estates to which he succeeded in 1769 seem to have been considerable, and in 1773 he was returned unopposed for Coventry.
During this Parliament Waring’s only recorded vote was with the Opposition on the Middlesex election, 26 Apr. 1773, and in Robinson’s electoral survey of September 1774 he was classed as Opposition. In 1774 he again successfully contested Coventry. He does not appear in any of the minority lists 1775-8; and on the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, Robinson listed him as ‘pro, absent, query doubtful’. No speech by him is reported.
Waring died at the beginning of February 1780.