HEDGES, William (1690-1757), of Wanborough, Wilts.
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Family and Education
bap. 4 Oct. 1690, ?3rd, but 1st surv. s. of Sir Charles Hedges*. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1705, I. Temple 1707. m. (1) 19 May 1714, Elizabeth (d. 1743), da. of Thomas Gore of Alderton, Wilts. 2s. (1 d.v.p.), 2da. (1 d.v.p.); (2) 10 Sept. 1744, Elizabeth Flower (d. 1788), s.p. suc. fa. 1714.1
Sheriff, Wilts. 1737.
Hedges first came to public notice in a dispute over his right to be one of the clerks of the signet. In November 1706 his father procured a grant for him to succeed the recently deceased Sir John Nicholas† in that office. However, one William Cooke entered a caveat against passing the grant at the office of the lord privy seal, claiming that he had a superior right to the office by virtue of letters patent sealed by Charles II. Despite pressure from Sir Charles, the matter was resolved in Cooke’s favour.2
Hedges was also the beneficiary of the interest his father had been building up in the borough of Calne for most of Anne’s reign. At the 1710 election he stood on his father’s interest and following a double return was seated on 22 Dec. 1710. He was classed as a Tory on the ‘Hanover list’ and subsequently as a ‘Tory patriot’ opposed to the continuance of the war and a ‘worthy patriot’ who helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous administration. He was also a member of the October Club. On 22 May 1711 he told against a motion that the Whig William Betts* had been duly elected for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis.
Possibly owing to the influence of his father, Hedges both spoke and voted on 18 June 1713 against the French commerce bill, being listed as a ‘whimsical’. Re-elected in 1713, he was given leave of absence for six weeks on 26 May 1714, a week after his marriage, and only a fortnight before his ailing father made his will. He did not stand for Parliament again. The Worsley list noted him as a Tory who sometimes voted with the Whigs, a position which might well explain the mortgages held by the Marlboroughs on his family’s estates from about 1712. The £7,000 involved was the sum Sir Charles Hedges had reserved to himself in a power to raise money from the Compton estate, so that the incumbrances on Alderton (which belonged to William’s wife) could be redeemed and the estate used for her jointure. It would seem that in August 1714, immediately after his father’s death, William sold the Richmond estates to Sir Matthew Decker, 1st Bt.†, and followed that in 1715 with the sale of Compton to William Northey*. Finally, in November 1715 he redeemed the mortgage from the Marlboroughs. Henceforth he resided at Alderton and at Bath until his death, which occurred between April and August 1757.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. IGI, London, Wilts.; Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. ii. 87–88; The Gen. n.s. xvii. 209; Aubrey and Jackson, Wilts. 47.
- 2. Add. 70501, ff. 233–6; HMC Portland, ii. 199; J. C. Sainty, Officers of the Exchequer (List and Index Soc. sp. ser. 18), 57.
- 3. PCC 117 Aston, 249 Herring; Add. 61476, f. 110; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxxi. 376–7; Aubrey and Jackson, 42.