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Charles Wharton was clearly a kinsman of Thomas Wharton I 1st Baron Wharton, who became captain of Berwick shortly before the summoning of Mary’s fourth Parliament and whose son and namesake was returned to that Parliament for Northumberland. Although he is not to be found in the pedigree of either the main line or of the cadet branch at Kirkby Thore, Wharton could have been the 1st Lord Wharton’s son, his omission from the latter’s will of July 1568 perhaps implying that he was by then dead and his absence from among the children shown on Wharton’s tomb reflecting either the same circumstance or his possible illegitimacy. Dubious light is cast on his identity by four inquisitions post mortem taken at Appleby on 20 Jan. 1591 according to which a Charles Wharton of Orton had died on 7 June 1548 leaving four daughters, Anne Thornborough, Elizabeth and Isabel Birkbeck, and Jane Wharton, who at the time of the inquisition were aged either 40 years and more or 42 years and more. The property concerned was a fourth part of a messuage, with its appurtenances, worth 16s.8d. a year and had been held of Thomas Warcop as of his manor of Orton. It is reasonable to infer that these inquisitions were prompted by Warcop’s death in 1589 and that Wharton’s daughters were interested by reason of a marriage connexion between their father and Warcop. The only connexion traced is that which had made the 1st Baron Wharton great-uncle to Thomas Warcop, but the fact that what was in question in 1591 was a fourth part suggests that the property concerned may have been divided between four of Thomas Warcop’s sisters, one of whose shares passed to Wharton by marriage; it is not without interest that three of Wharton’s daughters bore the same christian names as three of Warcop’s. More difficult to explain is the date 7 June 1548 given for this Charles Wharton’s death, which would make him a predecessor of the Member although, in the light of the daughters’ approximate dates of birth, almost certainly not his father. It is easier to believe that there were not two men of the name but only one, whose date of death was wrongly stated on the inquisitions, perhaps by the miscopying of the regnal year ‘2 Elizabeth’ (1559-60) as ‘2 Edward VI’ (1548-9). This would make it possible to identify the subject of the inquisitions not only with the Member but with the namesake who served as one of four commissioners appointed by Baron Wharton in 1560 to effect a redistribution of holdings in Ravenstonedale near Kirkby Stephen.
Vis. of the North, i (Surtees Soc. cxxii), 7; E. R. Wharton, Whartons, 23; J. Scott, Berwick, 459, 473; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. i. 233; iv. 240; n.s. ii. 262-3; Nicolson and Burn, Westmld. and Cumb. i. 377-8; C142/277/239, 261, 263, 280.