WATSON WENTWORTH, Thomas (1693-1750), of Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 13 Nov. 1693, o.s. of Hon. Thomas Watson Wentworth. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1707. m. 22 Sept. 1716, Mary, da. of Daniel Finch, M.P., 2nd Earl of Nottingham and 7th Earl of Winchilsea, 1 surv. s. 4 surv. da. suc. fa. 6 Oct. 1723; K.B. 27 May 1725; cr. Baron Malton 28 May 1728; Earl of Malton 19 Nov. 1734; suc. cos. Thomas Watson, 3rd Earl of Rockingham and 5th Baron, as 6th Baron Rockingham, 26 Feb. 1746, the earldom becoming extinct; cr. Mq. of Rockingham 19 Apr. 1746.
Ld. lt. W. Riding and custos rot. N. Riding of Yorks. 1733-d.
Returned in 1715 for the family borough of Malton, Wentworth, like his father, was classed as a Whig who would often vote with the Tories. In his first Parliament all his recorded votes were against the Government, except on the septennial bill, which he supported. On succeeding his father he set himself up as the leader of the Yorkshire Whigs, to whose ‘confederacy’ he was described as ‘a noble and significant recruit’. At a by-election for the county in the last year of George I his influence powerfully contributed to the return of the Whig candidate; at the general election following he himself took the other seat; and on his elevation to the peerage in 1728 he nominated his successor. His position as the head of the government interest in Yorkshire was recognized by his appointment to the lord lieutenancy of the West Riding in 1733, when he was raised to an earldom. Thenceforth his electoral influence declined. Accused of attempting ‘to dictate to the country’, he lost one seat in 1734, aggravating the setback by instituting costly, unpopular, and unsuccessful petition proceedings; in 1741 both seats went to the opposition interests, headed by his rival for the leadership of the Yorkshire Whigs, the Earl of Carlisle; and though by 1750 both seats had been recovered for the Government, neither of the Members was his nominee.1 Created a marquess in 1746 to avoid giving him a garter,2 he was considered by the 2nd Lord Egmont about 1750 as ‘to be had’ by the promise of a dukedom, ‘if it were worth while’, a view with which the Prince of Wales agreed.3 Soon afterwards ‘the little Marquis’ died, ‘drowned in claret’,4 14 Dec. 1750.