CHETWYND, William Richard (?1683-1770), of Chetwynd House, Stafford.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1715 - 1722
1722 - 1727
1734 - 3 Apr. 1770

Family and Education

b. ?1683, 3rd s. of John Chetwynd, M.P.; bro. of Walter and John Chetwynd, 1st and 2nd Viscts. Chetwynd [I]. educ. Westminster c.1698-1702; Ch. Ch. Oxg. 8 June 1703, aged 19. m. June 1715, Honora, da. of William Baker, consul at Algiers, 2s. 4da.  suc. bro. John as 3rd Visct. 21 June 1767.

Offices Held

Sec. to his bro. as envoy at Turin 1706-8; resident and envoy, Genoa 1708-12; ld. of Admiralty 1717-27; master of the mint 1744-69; under-sec. of state 1745-8.


William Richard Chetwynd began in the diplomatic service under the aegis of his brother John, becoming envoy at Genoa where he played an important part in organizing supplies to the army in Spain during the war of the Spanish succession. Brought into Parliament as a Whig on the family interest at Stafford in 1715, he wrote to Lord Sunderland, 5 Sept. 1715:

I have lain silent till now, my Lord, seeing with pleasure the thorough change which has been made since his Majesty's happy accession to the Crown, though I am perhaps the only person unprovided for, of those who had the honour to serve under your Lordship's former administration. It shall never be any dissatisfaction to me to find persons of greater merit employed preferable to myself, but that done, and whilst other alterations are upon the anvil, as I am credibly informed there are, and vacancies to be filled up, I must desire not to be entirely forgot. To this end I humbly beg leave to make application to your Lordship, as my first patron, and indeed the only one I shall solicit on such an occasion.

I point out nothing particular for myself, but leave it entirely to you, my Lord, to be my carver, and I flatter myself you will be pleased so far to use your credit, as to procure that something shall be done for me at home upon the change; I am, my Lord, the more encouraged to do it, from the obliging manner with which you have always expressed yourself on my account.1

Made a lord of the Admiralty by Sunderland in 1717, he was returned for an Admiralty borough in 1722. Like his brother Walter, the 1st Lord Chetwynd, he is mentioned in the 6th report of the South Sea enquiry as having accepted stock from the Company without paying for it.2

At George II's accession Chetwynd, closely connected with the Opposition through his life-long friendships with Bolingbroke and Lady Suffolk,3 was dismissed with his brothers, consequently losing his seat. Returned again for Stafford in 1734, he went into opposition, voting against the Government in both the recorded divisions of that Parliament.

After Walpole's fall Chetwynd was nominated for a seat on the Admiralty board4 but was rejected by the King, so he continued in opposition. In March 1743 he had words in the House of Commons with old Horace Walpole, leading to a duel in the precincts of the House, in which he was slightly wounded.5 He was one of the signatories of the opposition whip of 10 Nov. that year.6

When the Pelhams came to terms with the leaders of the Opposition at the end of 1744, Chetwynd was made master of the mint, then a highly lucrative office.7 Thereafter he consistently supported the Government of the day till his death on 3 Apr. 1770, disinheriting his only surviving son, William.8

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Sunderland (Blenheim) mss.
  • 2. CJ, xix. 569-70.
  • 3. H. E. Chetwynd-Stapylton, Chetwynds of Ingestre, 247-8.
  • 4. Owen, Pelhams, 96, 100.
  • 5. Horace Walpole to Mann, 14 Mar. 1743.
  • 6. Owen, 198.
  • 7. J. Craig, The Mint, 226.
  • 8. Chetwynds of Ingestre, 250.