WILLOUGHBY, Hon. Thomas (1728-81), of West Leake, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. 19 Dec. 1728, 2nd s. of Francis, 2nd Baron Middleton, by Mary, da. and coh. of Thomas Edwards of Filkins, Oxon. educ. Bury St. Edmunds g.s. 1739; Jesus, Camb. 1745. m. 7 Apr. 1770, Georgiana, da. of Evelyn Chadwick of West Leake, s.p. suc. bro. as 4th Baron Middleton 16 Dec. 1774.
In the first half of the 18th century the Middleton family were the leaders of the Nottinghamshire Tories, and Willoughby’s father had sat for the county 1713-22. By 1760 the distinction between Whig and Tory in Nottinghamshire had practically vanished. In 1761 Willougby informed Newcastle of his wish to stand for Newark at the general election,1 but Newcastle had already selected his candidate and Willoughby withdrew. At the by-election for the county in December 1762 Willoughby was returned unopposed.
No evidence has been found for his attitude towards the Bute or Grenville Administrations. He voted against Rockingham on a motion for American papers, 18 Dec. 1765,2 and the repeal of the Stamp Act, 22 Feb. 1766; and against the Chatham Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767. Between 1768 and 1774 he appears as voting with the Opposition in six out of thirteen divisions, and not once with Government; but no mention of him has been found in the correspondence of the Opposition leaders.
He died 19 Jan. 1781.