BROMLEY, John II (c.1682-1718), of Horseheath Hall, Cambs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1682, 1st s. of John Bromley I*. educ. Clare, Camb. 1700. m. 10 Aug. 1704, Mercy, da. and in her issue h. of William Bromley I*, 1s. suc. fa. 1707.1
Sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 1704–5.
Besides the Barbadian plantations and substantial landed estate in Cambridgeshire which he inherited from his father, Bromley also secured control of his father-in-law’s extensive property in Worcestershire and Shropshire under the terms of his marriage settlement. His riches probably deterred prospective opponents at the by-election for Cambridgeshire occasioned by his father’s death in 1707, and he succeeded to the seat without a contest. Although in general it is difficult to distinguish his parliamentary activity from that of his namesakes in the House, notably Speaker Bromley of Baginton (William II) and William Bromley III, he evidently divided consistently with the Tories during the first session and was classed as a Tory in two lists from 1708. At the general election of that year he was again returned unopposed as knight of the shire, and this despite the fact that the local Whigs were ‘disgusted’ with him for ‘having voted contrary to their interest’, looking on him as ‘one who has fallen off from Revolution principles’. He did not improve in their eyes during this Parliament, voting early in 1710 against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, and at the next election was obliged to fight off a Whig candidate.2
Marked as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’ of the 1710 Parliament, Bromley began it as a staunch Tory; indeed as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the 1710–11 session exposed the mismanagements of the previous ministry. He was also a member of the October Club. However, although he had been listed in the previous April as one of the ‘Tory patriots’ who favoured peace, he participated in the first significant back-bench Tory revolt against the new ministry’s foreign policy, when on 7 Dec. 1711 he voted with the Whigs on the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion. It may well be that on this issue Bromley’s West Indian and other mercantile interests induced in him a greater caution than the bulk of his party exhibited in their determination to put an end to the war. By 1713 it appears that he was taking a decidedly independent line from that of his party. In the division of 18 June 1713 on the French commerce bill he was listed as a Whig who both spoke and voted against the ministry. The possibility of some local connexion has led historians to suggest that he may now have been acting as a follower of the Hanoverian Tory Lord Anglesey (Hon. Arthur Annesley*) but his deviant voting pattern had been initiated before Annesley’s own break from the Court. In the 1714 Parliament, to which he was re-elected unopposed, he voted against the expulsion of Richard Steele, and was classified in the Worsley list as a Whig who would sometimes vote with the Tories, though his correspondence makes clear that he was still a Tory. Indeed in Cambridgeshire the Whigs claimed that he was ‘for bringing in the Pretender’.3
Bromley was listed as a Whig when he was returned to the 1715 Parliament, but this appears to have been an error. He voted against the ministry in 1716 over the septennial bill and a year later over the movement of Dutch troops, when he was inexplicably included among the ‘civil’ office-holders listed as acting with the opposition. In his will, drawn up only four days before his death, he pointedly bequeathed 200 guineas to William Bromley II* of Baginton, ‘which I desire he would be pleased to receive as a testimony of my respect to his person and virtues’. There were also legacies to his ‘worthy friend’ Francis Shepheard* and Shepheard’s brother Samuel* (another ‘Hanoverian Tory’ from 1713–14), who with Bromley of Baginton was made a guardian of his son Henry, later knight of the shire himself and 1st Lord Montfort. He specifically asked that the buildings and gardens he had begun at Horseheath should be completed in accordance with the plans he had laid down. It was there that he died, on 20 Oct. 1718, aged 36, and was buried in the parish church.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxi. 243.
- 2. HMC Lords, n.s. vii. 539–41; Cal. Le Neve Corresp. 142, 145; Bodl. Rawl. B.281, f. 199; Add. 5847, f. 181.
- 3. Bull. IHR, xxxiii. 226, 228, 234; Huntington Lib. Q. xxxiii. 165; Boyer, Pol. State, iii. 117; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 282; Bodl. North b.2, Bromley to Ld. North and Grey, 30 [-]; North c.9, f. 5.
- 4. PCC 231 Tenison; Hearne Colls. vi. 249; Procs. Camb. Antiq. Soc. xli. 29.