WROTTESLEY, Henry (1772-1825), of 10 New Square, Lincoln's Inn, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 25 or 26 Oct. 1772, 2nd s. of Sir John Wrottesley†, 8th bt. (d. 1787), of Wrottesley, Staffs. and Hon. Frances Courtenay, da. of William Courtenay†, 1st Visct. Courtenay; bro. of Sir John Wrottesley, 9th bt.* educ. Westminster 1786; Christ Church, Oxf. 1791; L. Inn 1793, called 1798. unm. d. 17 Feb. 1825.
Cursitor in chancery 1795-d.; commr. of bankrupts 1799-d.; solicitor to bd. of control 1806-11.
Capt. St. James’s vols. 1798; Staffs. militia 1803, maj. 1809.
Wrottesley continued to sit for the pocket borough of Brackley as the nominee of the 2nd marquess of Stafford, whom he had followed into supporting the Liverpool ministry by 1817. A regular attender, he was described as one of the ‘treasury phalanx’ by a radical commentary of 1823, though he occasionally took an independent line, notably on legal issues.1 On 5 May 1820 he brought up a petition challenging the return at Petersfield.2 He defended the recommendations of the select committee on the administration of Welsh justice, on which he had served, urging partial reform of the Welsh judicature, 1 June. That day he welcomed the labourers’ wages bill. He successfully proposed an amendment to the marriage bill concerning the marriage of minors, 2 June. A commissioner of bankrupts (on a salary of £350 a year), he was critical of the insolvent debtors bill, which he contended would only work if three commissioners were retained to administer it, but admitted that it was an improvement on recent legislation, 5 June. In the first half of 1821 he repeatedly tried to introduce his own reform of debtors law, transferring the surrendering of bankrupts from the London Guildhall to the new bankruptcy court, but his proposals never got beyond a first reading.3 On 14 June 1820 he secured leave for a bill to tighten up the rules governing access to specifications of patents, telling Hume, who had protested that the proposal was anti-liberal, that it was primarily a legal and not a political matter. It went no further. He opposed the bill preventing Irish masters in chancery from sitting at Westminster, warning that it could set a precedent for legislation against any Member who, owing to other commitments, could not attend regularly, 30 June. He spoke against the commital to Newgate of Sir William Manners† for absconding after a warrant had been issued for his arrest in connection with malpractices in the Grantham election, 10 July, and took issue with Dr. Phillimore’s contention that the payment of out-voters for loss of time was ‘highly illegal’, arguing that it was not ‘decidedly against the law’, 12 July 1820.4 He voted in defence of ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb., and against repeal of the additional malt duty, 7 Apr. 1821. On 27 Feb. he presented and sympathized with a petition from Northamptonshire complaining of agricultural distress, but doubted the efficacy of legislation to cure the problem.5 He divided against parliamentary reform, 9 May, the omission of arrears from the duke of Clarence’s grant, 18 June, and an opposition motion for economy and retrenchment, 27 June. On 29 June 1821 he was a majority teller for the third reading of a bill to prevent cruel and improper treatment of cattle. He voted against more extensive tax reductions, 21 Feb., and secured returns of the quantity of country bank notes in circulation between October 1819 and October 1821, 3 Apr. 1822.6
Wrottesley died unmarried in February 1825. ‘He was a easy and fluent speaker’, observed the family historian, but ‘confined himself to speaking only on questions with which he was well acquainted, such as legal matters’.7 In his will, dated 25 July 1822 but not proved until 7 Feb. 1831, his elder brother and executor Sir John Wrottesley was instructed to pay off his debts. The residue of his personal estate, which was sworn under a meagre £200, was bequeathed to one Anna Maria Douglas of John Street, Berkeley Square, Middlesex.8