HUNGERFORD, Walter (1675-1754), of St. Clement Danes, Westminster, and Studley House, nr. Calne, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. 9 July 1675, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir George Hungerford*; bro. of George Hungerford*. m. 22 Nov. 1703, Elizabeth Dodson (d. 1749) of St. Clement Danes, s.p. suc. fa. 1712.1
Commr. appeals in excise 1708–Dec. 1714.2
Sheriff, Wilts. 1727–9.
Rather than attend university or an inn of court, Hungerford was sent away to sea as a young man with a loan of £500 from his father. His election for Calne in 1701 largely rested upon the misfortunes of the previous Members, for his brother, George, died prematurely in 1698 and his brother-in-law, Henry Blaake*, did not contest the seat in 1701 after becoming estranged from Sir George Hungerford. Another consideration for Hungerford’s election may have been his residence in St. Clement Danes, his address at his marriage in 1703, for by this means the corporation could have saved those certain parliamentary expenses which it generally paid its MPs. Hungerford nevertheless made little or no impression upon the work of the House and he is not known to have spoken. He did not put up at the next election, but may well have been the ‘Colonel Hungerford’ who in 1705 assisted Lord Bruce (Charles*) in the election at Great Bedwyn, and whom one of the Whig candidates, Nicholas Pollexfen*, tried in vain to have removed from the Wiltshire commission of the peace ‘in revenge for his meddling’ there. The ‘meddling’ involved threats to take his business from local artisans if they failed to vote for Bruce, though it was reported that his forcefulness was unsuccessful. The colonel supported Lord Bruce again in 1708, though not without some grumbling: he
muttered . . . about not being writ to . . . and that he was neglected . . . and that he offered his service at Ludgershall but no notice [was] taken of it, and a great deal of this sort, but at last came to again and said he would ride 1,000 miles to serve your lordship.
Having bought an excise office worth £200 a year from Joseph Addison* in 1708, Hungerford was dismissed in 1714 despite an appeal from Addison to the Treasury to let him ‘enjoy the fruits of his purchase’. Defeated at Calne in 1715, he was eventually returned again in 1734 and 1741, when he sat as a Whig.3
Little is known of Hungerford’s last years, although he seems to have used his residence at Studley House, a mile west of Calne, as a base from which to purchase further Wiltshire properties, including Rodbourne manor and neighbouring messuages. Hungerford is best remembered for his suits against his father, which earned him some disfavour: when commenting upon a chance meeting between the two men in the street in 1706 at which a duel had to be forcibly prevented, Lady Sarah Cowper asserted that if ‘at that instant [Sir George] had struck this rebel in the guts, the Queen I fancy had pardoned him who rid the world of such a villain’. Hungerford had also alienated his sister Frances after claiming the reversion of her house in Yatesbury, a dowry from Sir George, following her husband’s death in 1693; Hungerford refused to repay the £1,000 mortgage owed to Sir Robert Holford, who threatened to evict Frances. Hungerford made his will in March 1750, leaving Rodbourne and Great Durnford manors, Wiltshire, and Stanton Court, Devon, to three nephews. He died on 31 May 1754 and was buried in the family vault at Bremhill, Wiltshire.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: D. W. Hayton / Henry Lancaster
- 1. W. L. Bowles, Paroch. Hist. Bremhill, 263; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxiv. 218; Add. 33412, f. 135; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxix. 193.
- 2. Boyer, Anne Annals, vii. 243.
- 3. Add. 33412, f. 133; Wilts. RO, Ailesbury mss, 1300/1320, Charles Beecher to Ld. Bruce, 10 Oct. 1705, 26 Apr. 1708; Addison Letters, 298; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxii. 285.
- 4. Herts. RO, Panshanger mss D/EP F31, p. 224; VCH Wilts. xiv. 166, 140; Wilts. N. and Q. viii. 300; R. C. Hoare, Hungerfordiana, 58.