WESTON, Jerome (1605-1663), of Roehampton House, Putney, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. 16 Dec. 1605, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Richard Weston*, being 1st s. with his 2nd w. Frances, da. of Nicholas Waldegrave of Borley, Essex; bro. of Benjamin† and Nicholas†.1 educ. Trin. Camb. 1623, MA 1626, Padua 1632; M. Temple 1626; travelled abroad 1629.2 m. 18 June 16323 (with £6,000),4 Frances (bur. 17 Mar. 1694), da. of Esmé, 3rd duke of Lennox [S], 1s. 4da. styled Lord Weston 17 Feb. 1633; suc. fa. as 2nd earl of Portland 13 Mar. 1635. d. 17 Mar. 1663.5
Freeman, Newport I.o.W. 1631,6 Yarmouth I.o.W. 1634,7 Portsmouth, Hants 1635;8 capt. I.o.W. 1633-42, 1660-1;9 jt. ld. lt. Hants 1635-42;10 v.-adm. Hants 1635-42, 1660-2;11 j.p. Hants 1635-at least 1641, 1660-d., Mdx. and Westminster 1636-at least 1641, 1660-d., Surr. 1638-at least 1642;12 commr. oyer and terminer, Western circ. 1635-42, Hants 1643, Mdx. 1660-d., piracy Hants 1635-6, Devon 1662;13 ranger, Richmond New Park, Surr. 1637;14 commr. array, Hants 1640, 1642,15 defence Oxf. 1644;16 steward of Berkhampstead manor, Herts. 1660;17 commr. sewers, Norf. and Cambs. 1660, Bedford Level, Gt. Fens 1662, highways, London and Westminster 1662.18
Amb. extraordinary to France, Tuscany, Venice and Savoy 1631-3;19 gent. of the privy chamber extraordinary 1632-at least 1641;20 member, High Commission, Canterbury prov. 1633;21 commr. trade 1660, plantations 1660;22 PC 3 Apr. 1662-d.;23 commr. loyal and indigent officers 1662.24
Asst. Royal Fishing Co. 1661.25
Although the younger son of the Caroline lord treasurer, Sir Richard Weston, this Member became his father’s heir-apparent sometime after 1622, when his elder half-brother ‘fell distracted’, as Chamberlain put it. On the ennoblement of Sir Richard in 1628, provision was made that the title of Lord Weston should descend to the children of Sir Richard’s second wife. This provision, which was repeated five years later when the lord treasurer became earl of Portland, ultimately proved unnecessary, however, as the elder brother, who had been confined at Coventry, died about a year before his father.26
Weston was returned at Gatton in 1628 by William Copley, the Catholic lord of the manor, who claimed the sole franchise in the borough. However, two indentures were returned and the Commons declared Weston’s election void on 26 March.27 He subsequently found a seat elsewhere, as he spoke in the Commons in 1629. His new place was probably at Lewes, where the elevation of the courtier Sir George Goring to the peerage on 14 Apr. had created a vacancy, but no return survives.
Weston left no further mark on the records of the third Caroline Parliament until its end, when he was reportedly ‘much commended for a modest speech’ during the tumultuous events of 2 Mar. 1629 in defence of his father, who had become the target of (Sir) John Eliot and other disgruntled leading Members of the Commons.28 He conceded that ‘some things may be amiss in the kingdom’, but added that ‘if all things were well ordered, we should not need to meet here so often as we do’. He then proceeded to defend his father, asking ‘what can be more unjust than without true grounds to lay aspersions upon a noble person?’ After testifying to his father’s ‘loyalty to his prince, his fidelity to his country, and his true affection to religion’, he appealed to the House not to ‘prejudge him, but think that he hath as faithful a heart ... as any man that sits here, till the contrary do appear’.29
In the autumn of 1629 Weston received a licence to travel for three years. He had returned by 1632, when he married Frances Stuart, cousin to the king, who gave her away, with ‘the queen looking on’, and Bishop Laud officiating.30 Shortly afterwards Weston was sent as an ambassador extraordinary to Italy and France, insuring his life for £20,000 before his departure.31 On his way home he intercepted and opened a letter sent by the 1st earl of Holland (Henry Rich*) enclosing another by the queen. As a result, Holland challenged him to a duel, which the king prevented.32
Shortly after Weston succeeded as 2nd earl of Portland in 1635, George Garrard reported that his father had, before his death, ‘endeavoured with all his arts and power’ to get him a place at Court. This seems to have been true, for in December 1633 Edward Rossingham relayed rumours that Weston would shortly be appointed secretary of state, and in October 1634 it was said that Weston would soon be either secretary or master of the Court of Wards. However, the best that his father could do was to secure for him the captaincy of the Isle of Wight.33 As captain, Weston came (according to Edward Hyde†, later earl of Clarendon) to have ‘an absolute power over the affections’ of the islanders, who petitioned in his favour in 1641 when the Long Parliament questioned his fitness for office out of ‘jealousy of his lordship’s inclination to Popery’. He assured the Lords that ‘his father bred him a Protestant, and he would ever live and die one’, and disclaimed all responsibility for his wife’s Catholicism.34
Weston won a temporary reprieve, but on the outbreak of hostilities in August 1642 he was detained and removed from office by the parliamentarians.35 He was released in January 1643, but later that year was accused by his kinsman Edmund Waller* of complicity in the royalist plot to secure London. He denied the charge and was granted leave to go abroad, but instead joined the king at Oxford. With debts of £21,000, in 1646 he compounded at £9,953, later reduced to £5,297.36
Weston drew up his will on 4 Nov. 1657, making his brother Benjamin Weston† executor, and added codicils on 27 Oct. 1660 and 8 Oct. 1661. He was buried on 22 Mar. 1663 at Walton-on-Thames. None of his descendants sat in the Commons. His only son was killed in the second Dutch War two years later, and the earldom of Portland passed to his Catholic brother Thomas, who died without issue in 1688, the last of the male line. His four daughters became nuns in Poor Clares’ convent at Rouen, which had been founded by his wife.37
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Alan Davidson
- 1. CP, x. 585; R.E.C. Waters, Gen. Mems. of Extinct Fam. of Chester of Chicheley, 108-9.
- 2. Al. Cant.; H.F. Brown, Inglesi e Scozzesi all’Università di Padova dall’anno 1618 sino al 1765, p. 147; M. Temple Admiss.; CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 68.
- 3. Works of Abp. Laud ed. J. Bliss, iii. 215.
- 4. C115/106/8407.
- 5. Waters, 108-9; CP, x. 585-6.
- 6. I.o.W. RO, NBC 45, f. 197v.
- 7. Add. 5669, f. 97v.
- 8. Portsmouth Recs. ed. R. East, 351.
- 9. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 4, p. 61; LJ, v. 281; CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 46.
- 10. Sainty, Lords Lieutenants, 23.
- 11. Vice Admirals of the Coast comp. J.C. Sainty and A.D. Thrush (L. and I. Soc. cccxxi), 26-7.
- 12. C231/5, pp. 172, 276; C66/2869; ASSI 35/84/6; C220/9/4, ff. 52, 75v, 114v; C193/12/3, ff. 63v, 90, 129v.
- 13. C181/5, ff. 5, 24, 58, 220; 181/7, ff. 3, 139, 145; Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 90.
- 14. VCH Surr. iii. 536.
- 15. HMC 4th Rep. 27; Northants. RO, FH133.
- 16. Docquets of Letters Patent, 121.
- 17. CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 327.
- 18. C181/7, ff. 40, 143, 147.
- 19. Handlist of British Diplomatic Representatives comp. G.M. Bell, 110.
- 20. LC5/132, p. 282; LC3/1, unfol.
- 21. R.G. Usher, Rise and Fall of High Commission, 359.
- 22. Officials of Boards of Trade comp. J.C. Sainty, 117.
- 23. PC2/55, p. 591.
- 24. CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 331.
- 25. Tudor and Stuart Procs. ed. R. Steele, i. 400.
- 26. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 437; Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 243; CP, x. 583.
- 27. CD 1628, ii. 119.
- 28. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, ii. 12.
- 29. CD 1629, p. 262.
- 30. C115/107/8549.
- 31. C115/106/8414.
- 32. CSP Dom. 1633-4, p. 3.
- 33. Strafforde Letters, i. 389; Birch, ii. 229; C115/106/8436.
- 34. Clarendon, Hist. of the Rebellion ed. W.D. Macray, ii. 541; R. Worsley, Hist. Isle of Wight (1781), p. 110; LJ, iv. 446.
- 35. LJ, v. 270.
- 36. Ibid. 545; Clarendon, iii. 45; L. Stone, Crisis of the Aristocracy, 780; CCC, 1539.
- 37. PROB 11/312, ff. 87v-9; CP, x. 546; Oxford DNB.