STAPLETON, Sir William, 4th Bt. (?1698-1740), of Rotherfield Greys, Oxon.

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



1727 - 12 Jan. 1740

Family and Education

b. ?1698, 1st s. of Sir William Stapleton, 3rd Bt., of Nevis by Frances, da. and coh. of Sir James Russell, gov. Nevis. educ. Ch. Ch. Oxf. 17 Apr. 1714, aged 15. m. 28 Apr. 1724, Catherine, da. and h. of William Paul of Braywick, Berks. by Lady Catherine Fane, da. of Vere Fane, M.P., 4th Earl of Westmorland, 3s. 2da. suc. fa. Dec. 1699.

Offices Held


Stapleton was the grandson of Sir William Stapleton, who followed Charles II into exile in France, and after the Restoration was appointed deputy-governor of Montserrat and captain-general of the Leeward Islands, with a baronetcy.1 In February 1725 Stapleton invited several other Tories to a dinner, during which the Duke of Wharton publicly drank the Pretender’s health and boasted of the facility of a restoration with French help.2 At the general election of 1727, Dr. Stratford of Christ Church reported:

Our knighthood of the shire went a begging ... One Sir William Stapleton, a West Indian, formerly of Christ Church, a rake then as I hear he is still, is to be [the] man. He has but little estate in Oxfordshire, and that by his wife Mrs. Paul.3

Returned unopposed, he voted against the Administration in every recorded division. His only recorded speech was made on the resolutions for a bill for the relief of the sugar colonies, 21 Feb. 1733, when he successfully opposed the importation of rum from the North American colonies into Ireland as detrimental to the sugar colonies. He was the only unofficial member of the committee appointed to draft the bill, known as the Molasses Act.4

He died at Bath 12 Jan. 1740.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Oliver, Antigua, iii. 102.
  • 2. HMC Var. viii. 385.
  • 3. HMC Portland, vii. 450.
  • 4. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 335.