WODEHOUSE, John (1771-1846), of Kimberley House, Wymondham, Norf.
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Family and Education
b. 11 Jan. 1771, 1st s. of Sir John Wodehouse, 6th Bt.* educ. Westminster 1783-6, Christ Church, Oxf. 1787. m. 18 Nov. 1796, Charlotte Laura, da. and h. of John Norris of Wilton Park and Witchingham, 5s. 4da. suc. fa. as 2nd Baron Wodehouse 29 May 1834.
Ld. lt. Norf. 1822-d.
Lt. and capt. E. Norf. militia 1793, col. 1798.
Colonel Wodehouse’s father was Member for Norfolk when he entered Parliament in 1796 on the 1st Earl of Ailesbury’s interest for Bedwyn. The Treasury had him on their list as prepared to pay £2,000 for a seat. Wodehouse senior was described by Ailesbury as ‘a very old acquaintance’, but when he pressed for his son to come in again for the borough in 1802, the application came too late and Ailesbury complained that ‘except the year or two and the last of his serving for Great Bedwyn’, his nominee ‘never called on me and I scarce knew him by sight’.1 Like his father, Wodehouse gave a general support to Pitt’s administration, voting for the assessed taxes, 4 Jan. 1798; though on 25 Apr. 1800 he voted in opposition on Grey’s motion. His father being a supporter of Addington’s administration, the minister asked Wodehouse to move or second the opening address, October 1801, which he at first declined to do, ‘as also the proposal to move the address on the preliminaries of peace’: but on reflection, Wodehouse seconded the opening address, 29 Oct.2 On 7 May following, he paid tribute to Pitt’s services to the country.
At the election of 1802, Wodehouse contested Norfolk. He was prepared to withdraw in favour of William Windham, but the latter returned the compliment and Wodehouse espoused the independence of the county against domination by the Whig interest of Coke of Holkham. The Whigs reproached Wodehouse for his past support of ministers and his being the heir to a peerage. At length, he was defeated, despite a scrutiny. In August 1806 he again canvassed and was again defeated, by the coalition of Coke and Windham, but it was a near thing. Though aided by subscriptions, Wodehouse spent about £20,000 each time and his father’s rental was about £7,000 p.a.: he therefore declined an invitation to come forward in 1807.3 When a further opening for the county occurred in 1817, he stood down in favour of his cousin Edmund. He returned to Parliament in 1818, again on the Ailesbury interest, and again supported ministers, except on public lotteries, 4 May 1819, and in stating his objections to the malt tax, 9 June. He voted against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819, and on 10 June for the foreign enlistment bill. He continued in this line until his retirement in 1826. In 1822, in his father’s lifetime, he had become lord lieutenant of Norfolk and ‘though a strong partisan of the Conservatives, he was respected by all parties’.4 He died 21 May 1846, having succeeded to his father’s peerage at the age of 63.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. PRO 30/8/197, f. 98; Ailesbury mss, Ailesbury to Bruce, 2 July 1802.
- 2. Sidmouth mss, Addington to Wodehouse, 22 Oct. 1801.
- 3. The Times, 15 July; Norf. Chron. 24 July 1802; The Copy of the Poll (Stevenson and Matchett), 1806; B. D. Hayes ‘Pols. in Norf. 1750-1832’ (Camb. Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1957), 6-7.
- 4. Gent. Mag. (1846), ii. 92.