WHARTON, George (1583-1609), of Wharton Hall, Westmld.
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Family and Education
b. 1583, 1st s. and h. app. of Philip, 3rd Baron Wharton, by Frances, da. of Henry, 2nd Earl of Cumberland. educ. G. Inn 1595; Caius, Camb. 1596, MA 1607. unm. KB 1603.
Gent. of privy chamber from 1603.
Wharton was born at Brougham castle, the Cliffords’ house on he Cumberland-Westmorland border, south of Penrith. His own family resided at Wharton Hall, in the east of the county, and had been prominent in border affairs for several centuries. The combined influence of the two families—his uncle, the 3rd Earl of Cumberland, was hereditary sheriff of Westmorland—assured Wharton’s election, even though he was well under age. As a knight of the shire in this Parliament he could have attended (though, given his age and character it is unlikely that he did) committees concerned with the order of business (3 Nov.), monopolies (23 Nov.), strengthening the northern frontier (3 Dec.) and regulating the local government of the northern counties (14 Dec.).1
Made KB on the eve of James’s coronation and a gentleman of the privy chamber soon afterwards, Wharton’s few adult years were passed mainly at court, hunting, playing cards, and indulging in quarrels with other courtiers. His first, when he was 20, concerned ‘a mistress, or some such weighty matter’. His next, with the Earl of Pembroke, arose over a game of cards and might have ended in a duel if the King had not intervened. There was no intervention on 8 Nov. 1609 when, following another dispute at cards, Wharton and Sir James Stewart, master of Blantyre, fought and killed each other in Islington fields and were united in the same grave.2