COVENTRY, William (c.1676-1751), of London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1708 - 27 Oct. 1719

Family and Education

b. c.1676, 1st surv. s. of Walter Coventry, Haberdasher and merchant, of St. Peter-le-Poer, London, common councilman of London 1688–92, by Anne, da. of Humphrey Holcombe, merchant, of St. Andrew’s Holborn, Mdx.  educ. Pembroke, Camb. matric. 13 Apr. 1693, aged 16.  m. 1720, Elizabeth, da. of John Allen of Westminster, 3s.  suc. fa. 1692; cos. as 5th Earl of Coventry 27 Oct. 1719.

Offices Held

Keeper, bailiwick of Frisham, New Forest by 1717–?d.; ld. lt. Worcs. 1720–d.; high steward, Bridport 1727–d.1

Jt. clerk comptroller of green cloth 1717–19; PC 22 Mar. 1720.


Coventry’s grandfather, a younger brother of Thomas, 1st Lord Coventry, became a merchant in London. His son, the Member’s father, followed him into trade, acquiring a personal fortune of some £9,000 and serving as common councilman of the City from 1688 until his death in 1692. Although living in London himself, Coventry broke the family’s connexion with commerce. He had expectations from his cousin, the 5th Lord Coventry (Thomas Coventry†), who in 1697 was created Earl of Coventry with a special remainder first to his uncle and then to William.2

Returned for Bridport in 1708, Coventry voted for naturalizing the Palatines and for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. He was thus classed as a Whig in the ‘Hanover list’, subsequently voting in favour of the amendment to the South Sea bill on 25 May 1711 and the motion for ‘No Peace without Spain’ on 7 Dec. He probably voted against the French wines duty bill on 6 May 1713, also voting as a Whig against the French commerce bill on 18 June. In the 1714 session, on 18 Mar. he voted against the expulsion of Richard Steele, and told on the 27th against the Tory, John Gape*, in the St. Albans election case. He was classed as a Whig both in the Worsley list and in another comparative analysis of the two Parliaments. Coventry continued to represent Bridport after 1715 until he succeeded to the peerage. He died on 18 Mar. 1751.

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxxii. 231; Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 8; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch. Soc.), 53.
  • 2. Woodhead, 53; CSP Dom. 1697, p. 115.