WENTWORTH, Walter (c.1569-1627), of ?Devon and Castle Bytham, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1569, 3rd s. of Peter Wentworth of Lillingstone Lovell, Oxon. by his 2nd w. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. Oct. 1584, aged 15. m. (1) Mary (d.1614), da. of Griffith Hampden of Great Hampden, Bucks., at least 1s. 1da.; (2) the wid. of one Russell, s.p.

Offices Held

?Servant of 3rd Earl of Bedford.


Wentworth’s father and uncle Paul were leaders of the puritan opposition in Elizabethan Parliaments; his brother Thomas had a long parliamentary career, suffering imprisonment for a speech he made in the Commons in 1614; and the contribution made to the same cause by his relative by marriage John Hampden is justly famous. Wentworth himself was less significant, appearing in the shadow of others—visiting his father in prison, witnessing his uncle’s will, acting as executor for his brother Nicholas.

He entered Oxford on the same day as his elder brother Thomas, but after that his career is lost until his appearance in the last Parliament of the reign. He had probably, meanwhile, entered the service of Edward Russell, 3rd Earl of Bedford, who brought him into Parliament for Tavistock. He is not known to have contributed to the work of the House of Commons in 1601. During James I’s reign he is found on several occasions exercising Bedford’s patronage of livings in the diocese of Exeter. Towards the end of his life Wentworth moved, for reasons unknown, to Castle Bytham in Lincolnshire, near Lord Willoughby’s family seat. He died there in 1627 and was buried in the parish church on 13 Oct. The will, dated the 1st of that month, has a religious preamble:

I bequeath my soul into the hands of my Redeemer, Christ Jesus, assuredly trusting to be saved by his merits who was put to death for my sins and rose again for my sanctification.

He left £800 and some household goods to his daughter Mary, who was still under age. His widow, who may have been a relative of the Earl of Bedford, is not mentioned, but her sons by an earlier marriage were remembered: Edward Russell received £50 and John £10 a year ‘as long as he follows the wars and gets no place of preferment’. He also left £100 to his brother’s children, to be supervised by Sir Peter Wentworth, of Lillingstone Lovell, head of the main branch of the family, Sir Edward Boys of Hutton-on-the-Hill, Yorkshire, Thomas Gates of the Inner Temple, and William Strickland of Headingley, Yorkshire, who was made a baronet by Charles I. All these were Walter’s relatives. Apart from bequests to servants, to the poor of two parishes, and to another nephew and niece, the residue of the property, the extent of which is not known, went to his only son Samuel, the sole executor. Samuel died without issue in 1637 or 1638.

W. L. Rutton, Wentworth Fam. 260, 264, 300-1; J. Wentworth, Wentworth Gen. i. 30-1; Devon RO, bps. of Exeter mss. 21, ff. 97, 98, 108; HMC Exeter, 93-7; SP14/10a/81; PCC 107 Skinner.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: M.R.P.