LANGHAM, Sir William (c.1625-1700), of Walgrave and Cottesbrooke, Northants.

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



Oct. 1679 - Mar. 1681
1689 - 1695

Family and Education

b. c.1625, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir John Langham, 1st Bt.†, by Mary, da. of James Bunce of Gracechurch Street, London; bro. of Sir James Langham, 2nd Bt.†  educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1642, BA 1645, MD 1652; fellow of Peterhouse 1646–50; Leyden 13 Nov. 1647, aged 22; Padua, MD 1648.  m. (1) 2 Sept. 1657, Elizabeth (d. 1657), da. of Sir Anthony Haslewood of Maidwell, Northants., s.p.; (2) 19 June 1659, Alice (d. 1664), da. of John Chudleigh of Ashton, Devon, wid. of John Rolle†, merchant, of London and Widdicombe House, Stokenham, Devon, 2da. d.v.p.; (3) 10 July 1666, aged 40, Martha (d. 1710), da. of Herbert Hay† of Glyndebourne, Suss., wid. of David Polhill of Chipstead Place, Kent, 3s. (2 d.v.p.).  Kntd. 14 Dec. 1671; suc. bro. as 3rd Bt. 22 Aug. 1699.1

Offices Held

Hon. FRCP 1664.

Sheriff, Northants. 1671–2.

Commr. for preventing export of wool 1689.


‘A person of great learning and generosity’, Langham acquired a distinguished reputation in medicine which was recognized in December 1664 when he was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. That his interests ranged much beyond his profession is reflected by the extensive ‘library of books’ and the collection of musical instruments which he assembled at Walgrave. His religious disposition may not have approached that of his strongly Presbyterian father, but he still took a broadly tolerant view of Dissent, refusing in February 1683 to enforce the laws against conventicles, and defying Northampton corporation’s request at the beginning of 1690 that he oppose the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He was thought to have pocketed the letter without communicating it to his co-Member, the Tory Sir Justinian Isham, 4th Bt., and then proceeded to vote in favour of the proposed clause. It was assumed among local Tories that this insensitivity had somewhat lessened his chances in the forthcoming election, but, in alliance with Sir Thomas Samwell, 1st Bt., he held a Tory challenge at bay. This Whiggish partnership was bonded more closely in the summer of 1691 when Langham’s only surviving son and heir married Samwell’s daughter. Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) and Grascome classed him as a Whig and a Court supporter respectively in their analyses of the 1690 Parliament, though in around April 1691 Robert Harley* counted him a supporter of the Country party. An inactive Member, he appears to have made no attempt to contest the election of 1695. He died on 29 Sept. 1700 at Walgrave, where he had continued to reside following his succession to the baronetcy in August 1699, and was buried at Cottesbrooke.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxvii), 114–16; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 190.
  • 2. PCC 23 Dyer; Add. 29594, ff. 194, 196; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 444.