LORAINE, William (1658-1744), of Kirkharle, Northumb.
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Family and Education
b. c.Sept. 1658, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Loraine, 1st Bt., of Kirkharle by Grace, da. of Sir William Fenwick, 2nd Bt.†, of Wallington, Northumb. and sis. and coh. of Sir John Fenwick†. educ. L. Inn 1678, called 1692. m. (1) c.1687, Elizabeth (d. 1690), da. of Sir John Lawrence, ld. mayor 1664–5, of St. Helen’s, London, s.p.; (2) 1692, Anne (d. 1756), da. of Richard Smith of Preston, Bucks. 5s. (4 d.v.p.) 4da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. mother 1706, fa. as 2nd Bt. 10 Jan. 1718.1
Though the Loraines were long established in the north-east, by the 17th century their fortunes were under a cloud. A series of minorities in the late 16th and early 17th centuries had, according to the family historian, led to their being ‘defrauded by covetous and perfidious guardians, and others . . . of considerable members of their estates’. Loraine’s grandfather was said to have suffered losses of up to £20,000 by such means, and his father succeeded to estates which remained much diminished. Loraine trained for the law and established a successful practice in London before, in 1694, ‘the affairs of his family required his presence at home to attend the same’. Thereafter his main concern was to improve and expand the family’s landholdings, which he did with the aid of the portions obtained from two advantageous marriages. During the 1690s Loraine was included in both the county’s lieutenancy and commission of the peace, but little is known of his political inclinations. His grandfather had served in the Royalist army during the Civil Wars, and in 1688 his father had refused to assent to the repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act. His mother’s family was strongly Jacobite, and that of his second wife had demonstrated Royalist sympathies during the Civil Wars. When he successfully contested the Northumberland election of December 1701, however, it was with the support of the by then Whiggish Duke of Somerset. His only recorded action in this Parliament, telling on 16 Apr. 1702 with his fellow Northumberland Member the Whig Sir Francis Blake in favour of bringing in a bill for relief in respect of the Irish forfeitures, is inconclusive. Following the dissolution of this Parliament Loraine did not stand for election again and instead devoted his energies to enhancing his family’s estates, in the course of which he discovered the gardening talents of one of his tenants, Lancelot (‘Capability’) Brown. He remained a Northumberland j.p. for the rest of his life, a fact which may suggest a lack of partisan zeal, though he attempted to obstruct the progress of the Jacobite army in Northumberland in 1715. After the suppression of this rebellion Loraine purchased from the forfeited estates commissioners the Northumberland estates of the Swinburnes. He died on 22 Jan. 1744 of ‘gout of the stomach’, being succeeded in his title and estates by his only surviving son, Charles.2