WARD, William (1677-1720), of Willingsworth Hall, Sedgeley, Staffs.

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



1710 - 1713
1715 - 25 Oct. 1720

Family and Education

b. 28 June 1677, 2nd and o. surv. s. of Hon. William Ward of Willingsworth Hall by Anna, da. and h. of Thomas Parkes of Willingsworth Hall.  educ. ?travelled abroad 1692; ?Padua Univ. 1694.  m. 25 May 1700, Mary, da. of Hon. John Grey* and his 1st w., sis. of Henry Grey, 3rd Earl of Stamford, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2 or 4da.  suc. fa. 1714.1

Offices Held


Ward was the grandson of the 1st Lord Ward of Birmingham and his wife, Frances, suo jure Baroness Dudley. His father was prominent in county affairs under Charles II and James II, acting as a deputy-lieutenant and militia captain, but made his opposition to James II’s policies manifest by returning negative answers to the first two of the ‘three questions’ and was obviously acceptable to the new regime after the Revolution, as he served as sheriff in 1689. It is difficult to disentangle Ward’s activities from his father’s for most of his life, and his early career from that of his cousin, Hon. William Ward, heir to Lord Ward and Dudley, who died in 1692, and his second son, Hon. William Ward, who eventually became the 10th Lord Dudley in 1731.2

Ward may have completed his education in Europe, for a warrant was issued to a man of that name to travel to Holland in 1692, and a namesake was at Padua in 1694. Considering the influential position of the family in south Staffordshire and his father’s senior place within it as the great-uncle to Edward, Lord Ward (a minor until 1725), it was always possible that Ward might aspire to serve in Parliament. His opportunity came in 1710 when a county meeting agreed that he should join the sitting Member, Hon. Henry Paget*, and then stand down at the next election in favour of Charles Bagot*. As a new Member in 1710, it is likely that all significant acts attributed to ‘Mr Ward’ in the Journals refer to the activities of John Ward III, or possibly John Ward IV, the newly elected member for Reigate. Nevertheless, Ward’s name appears on sufficient parliamentary lists for his political sympathies to be seen. On the ‘Hanover list’ of the 1710 Parliament, he was classed as a Tory. During the first session, he was noted as a ‘worthy patriot’ who had helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous ministry, and on 18 June 1713 he voted for the French commerce bill. He did not stand at the 1713 election, but was returned again in 1715. As such his name appears on two analyses of the new Parliament: on a list comparing it with the 1713 Parliament he was noted as a Whig, although the veracity of this classification may be doubted as the compiler referred to him as John Ward; on the other list, he was classed as a ‘whimsical’ Whig. It is likely that both analyses owe much to his attitude on the succession question. He was certainly perceived as loyal to Hanover, for the Earl of Uxbridge, his former colleague as knight of the shire, Hon. Henry Paget, made him a captain in the militia in July 1715 and Uxbridge’s successor as lord lieutenant, Lord Newport (Henry*), made him a deputy-lieutenant in November 1715. Indeed, he was very likely the William Ward who subscribed six horses for the defence of the county in November 1715. Nevertheless, he voted with the Tories until his death on 25 Oct. 1720. His son eventually succeeded to the family peerage as the 11th Lord Dudley and Ward, and was created Viscount Dudley and Ward in 1763.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. Sedgeley Par. Reg. (Staffs. Par. Reg. Soc.), 317; Collins, Peerage, vi. 277; CSP Dom. 1691–2, p. 286; IGI, Staffs; C. Twamley, Hist. Dudley Castle, 98–99.
  • 2. Gentry of Staffs. 1662–3 (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. ser. 4, ii), 40; NRA Rep. 0235 (earls of Dudley), pp. 427–8; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 160; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1883), 200.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1691–2, p. 286; HMC 5th Rep. 208; NRA Rep. 0235, pp. 418, 421; Staffs. RO, Vernon mss D1790/D/8.