LECHMERE, Edmund (1710-1805), of Hanley Castle, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. 4 Apr. 1710,1 o. s. of Anthony Lechmere of Hanley Castle. educ. Fulham under Mr. Lewis Vaslet; Trinity, Camb. 1728. m. (1) 12 Oct. 1732, Elizabeth (d. 13 Sept. 1762), da. and (in her issue) h. of Sir Blunden Charlton, 3rd Bt., of Ludford, Herefs., 2s.; (2) 4 June 1765, Elizabeth, da. of Rev. John Whitmore, vicar of Lechlade, Glos., 1s. suc. fa. 1720.
Sheriff, Worcs. 1732-3.
Described by Horace Walpole as ‘a great grazier and a mere country squire’, Edmund Lechmere, unlike his father and his better known uncle (Nicholas), was a Tory. Returned unopposed for the county in 1734, he voted against successive Administrations in all recorded divisions. At the 1741 election he and another Tory defeated two opposition Whigs, he himself heading the poll. The contest was the subject of some verses by Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, who represents Lechmere as replying to a question put to him by one of his opponents, George Lyttelton, asking why he was standing against men whose political aims appeared to be the same as his own:
Because, Sir, you’re a Whig, and I’m a Tory.
Howe’er with us you the same schemes pursue,
You follow those who ne’er will follow you;
My principles to you I’ll freely state,
I love the church, and Whiggism I hate;
And tho’, with you, Sir Robert I abhor,
His Whiggish heart is what I hate him for;
And if a Whig the minister must be,
Pult’ney and Walpole are alike to me.2
On 15 Feb. 1744, however, he voted with the Government on an amendment to the Address, moved by Edmund Waller, calling for an inquiry into the state of the navy.3 He did not stand in 1747, when the Whig candidate, Lord Deerhurst, wrote to him shortly before the election:
I am extremely concerned, my dear Lechmere, that any measures should have been taken in the county disagreeable to you, though you do not go so far as to intimate by whom. My declarations and wishes have been too public to make me suspected of meaning you personally any ill, and I must frankly assure you that whatever part in this contest the necessity of the times may oblige you to take, my friendship shall not in the least be abated towards you.
Four years later Deerhurst, who had vacated his seat on succeeding to the peerage as Earl of Coventry, wrote again:
The real esteem I have for you as well as the remembrance of some past conversation with you will not allow me to take any measures in regard to the county till I am informed of your disposition in that respect. If your inclinations are to be in Parliament, my brother [John Bulkeley Coventry] I know would drop all thought of it ...
Lechmere’s ‘rural passion’, however, prevailed, despite a further invitation from Lord Coventry in November 1753.4 He died at a great age 29 Mar. 1805.