BERTIE, Robert I, Lord Willoughby de Eresby (1630-1701).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1661 - 25 July 1666

Family and Education

b. 8 Nov. 1630, 1st s. of Sir Montagu Bertie, 2nd Earl of Lindsey, by 1st w., bro. of Hon. Charles Bertie, Hon. Peregrine Bertie I and Hon. Richard Bertie, and half-bro. of Hon. Henry Bertie. educ. travelled abroad (France, Italy) 1647-52; Padua 1651. m. (1) 1654, Mary, da. and coh. of John Massingberd, Skinner, of London and Tooting, Surr., 1da.; (2) by 1660, Elizabeth (d.1669), da. of Philip, 4th Baron Wharton, 5s.; (3) Lady Elizabeth Pope (d. 1 July 1719), da. and h. of Thomas, 2nd Earl of Downe [I], wid. of Sir Francis Henry Lee, 4th Bt., of Quarrendon, Bucks., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. as 3rd Earl of Lindsey 25 July 1666.1

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Lincs. Mar. 1660; j.p. Lincs. Mar. 1660-d., Essex 1664-?d.; dep. lt. Lincs. c. Aug. 1660-6; commr. for sewers, Lincs. Aug. 1660, assessment (Kesteven) Aug. 1660-1, Lincs. 1661-6, Essex 1664-6, enclosures, Deeping fen 1665; ld. lt. and custos rot. Lincs. 1666-1700; warden, Waltham forest 1666-d.; high steward, Boston 1666-d.; recorder, Lincoln 1684-Oct. 1688, Stamford 1685-Oct. 1688, Boston Sept.-Oct. 1688; col. of militia horse and ft. Lincs. by 697-?1700.2

Capt. Earl of Lindsey’s Horse 1666-7.3

Ld. great chamberlain 1666-d.; PC 12 Dec. 1666-21 Apr. 1679, 29 June 1682-d.; commr. for royal assent 1667; gent. of the bedchamber 1674-85.4

FRS 1666.


Lord Willoughby was descended from Richard Bertie, who married Katherine, dowager duchess of Suffolk and suo jure Baroness Willoughby, and sat for Lincolnshire in 1563. During the Civil War the family was conspicuous for its loyalty. Willoughby’s grandfather, the 1st Earl of Lindsey, died of wounds after the battle of Edgehill, and his father fought for the Royalists until the end of the first Civil War, when he compounded at £4,360 on the Oxford articles. Willoughby himself was too young to take part in the Civil War, but as a royalist suspect he was required to give security after Booth’s rising.5

At the Restoration Lord Lindsey regained his office of lord great chamberlain, and was made lord lieutenant of Lincolnshire. Willoughby contested Boston, of which his father was high steward, in the general election of 1661. There was a double return, but since his name was in both indentures, he took his seat at once, and was listed as a friend by his father-in-law Lord Wharton. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges in four sessions, and to six others, including those on the bills for confirming public Acts and restoring advowsons, and to inspect the laws regulating the sale of offices. He acted as a teller for hearing the petition from the Lincolnshire fenmen on 28 Jan. 1662. Although a court supporter in the first years of the Parliament, in the Oxford session he followed the lead of his newly elected brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Osborne, in opposing a bill of Clarendon’s designed to impose a general non-resisting oath. He and his brother Peregrine formed the nucleus of the party Osborne was eventually to create around himself. In the following year he succeeded his father as Earl of Lindsey and lord lieutenant of Lincolnshire. As such he took a prominent part in local elections, especially after his brother-in-law became chief minister as Lord Treasurer Danby.6

After Danby’s fall the Berties suffered some reverses, notably at the elections in 1679, and Lindsey was not summoned to the remodelled Privy Council. Although fervent in his professions of loyalty when the Duke of York passed through Lincolnshire in the autumn, he was absent through ill-health from the division in the Lords on the second exclusion bill. But he took an active part in removing Whigs from county office and in the quo warranto campaign against the corporations. Unlike the rest of his family he did not oppose James II over the employment of Roman Catholic officers, and was retained as lord lieutenant. His own son (Robert Bertie II) regarded his attitude as doubtful, perhaps because of the conversion of his third wife to Roman Catholicism. But he signed the Lincolnshire address to the Prince of Orange on 13 Dec. 1688. He continued to follow Danby as a Court Tory after 1690, signing the Association in 1696. He died on 9 May 1701, and was buried at Edenham.7

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. HMC Ancaster, 418-20, 429.
  • 2. Her. and Gen. ii. 117; P. Thompson, Hist. Boston, 458; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 430; CSP Dom. 1684-5, pp. 198, 290; 1685, p. 39; Eg. 1626, f. 27.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1665-6, p. 361.
  • 4. HMC 7th Rep. 491; HMC 5th Rep. 186; CSP Dom. 1667-8, pp. 90-91.
  • 5. Cal. Comm. Comp. 1501; CSP Dom. 1659-60, pp. 91, 94.
  • 6. Browning, Danby, i. 38, 152-3.
  • 7. Lincs. N. and Q. xviii. 147-50; HMC Lindsey, 36; HMC Rutland, ii. 97.