WALTER, Peter (1715-53), of Stalbridge, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. 1715,1 1st s. of Paget Walter of Stalbridge by Elizabeth, da. of Edward Mervyn of Salisbury. m. by 1738, Christian, da. of Thomas Bedwell, 1da. suc. fa. (who d.v.p.) aft. 1740 and gd.-fa. Peter Walter 1746.
Peter Walter was returned unopposed on a compromise as a Whig for Shaftesbury in 1741, standing on his own and his father’s interest, ‘in nowise interfering with Mr. [Stephen] Fox’,2 who was created Lord Ilchester on the day of the election. In Parliament he voted for Walpole’s candidate for the chairman of the elections committee, 16 Dec. 1741; but a month later the Duke of Newcastle wrote to his wife that ‘young Peter Walter, influenced by the old one, voted against us’3 on Pulteney’s motion of 21 Jan. 1742 to examine all papers relevant to the recent conduct of the war, which Walpole carried by three votes only. Under the new Administration he voted against the Hanoverians in 1742 but for them in 1744 and 1746, when he was classed as ‘doubtful’. Early in 1746 he succeeded to Stalbridge and to most of his grandfather’s large estates and fortune. He again offered himself as a candidate at Shaftesbury in 1747 but stood down before the poll, Lord Ilchester writing to Henry Fox in June:4
Mr. Walter is very ill at his house at Stalbridge, keeps his bed with the gout in his stomach, and yesterday ’twas reported he would desist ... he is at present far behind and Mr. [George] Pitt has gained ground of him very considerably.
However, the 2nd Lord Egmont in his electoral survey c.1749-50 noted against Shaftesbury: ‘Peter Walter, as Mr. Dodington says he can influence him’, to which the Prince added ‘not to be depended upon’. He died in October 1753. Under his will,5 in which he totally ignored his wife and daughter, he left Stalbridge and other properties to his brother Edward in tail male, with remainder to Henry Bayly, afterwards 10th Lord Paget, who succeeded to them in 1780 and was created Earl of Uxbridge in 1784. The reasons for this disposition to a stranger are unknown, but see Peter Walter supra.