BAGOT, Edward (1674-1712), of Blithfield, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. 21 Jan. 1674, 1st surv. s. of Sir Walter Bagot, 3rd Bt.*, and bro. of Charles Bagot*. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1691; M. Temple 1693. m. 15 Apr. 1697, Frances (d. 1714), da. and h. of Sir Thomas Wagstaffe*, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. as 4th Bt. 15 Feb. 1705.1
As heir to one of the most important families in Staffordshire, Bagot could expect to play a major role in county politics. During speculation about the negotiations for his marriage, he was reported to be worth £4,000 p.a., which would have placed him at the apex of county society. The chronic ill-health of his father accelerated his initiation into politics, and indeed he had replaced his father in the lieutenancy by May 1703. However, the future bishop of Bristol, George Smalridge, was surprised by his decision to seek election in 1698 as conversations at Oxford had led him to believe that Bagot ‘entertained some notions which would not give him leave to qualify himself to be a Member of Parliament’. According to Sir John Leveson Gower, 5th Bt.*, Bagot’s interest was too strong to be threatened: ‘your relations are too numerous. Your family too considerable, and have lived with reputation too long in the country to be baffled should you resolve on it.’ However, a contest was threatened by the intervention of Hon. Robert Shirley, heir to Lord Ferrers, who began to make an interest before the dissolution. Bagot countered by defending the Staffordshire tradition whereby prospective candidates merely informed the gentry of an intention to offer themselves for election and let a county meeting choose the candidates, in order to avoid acrimonious disputes. The sitting Member, Hon. Henry Paget*, agreed with this approach and then joined forces with Bagot against Shirley, who had resolved to continue to a poll. A meeting between the Bagots and the Shirleys at the last moment may possibly have avoided a poll on the understanding that Shirley would be unopposed at the next election, though this must be counted unlikely.2
To contemporaries Bagot’s political stance was clear. His name appeared on a comparative analysis of about September 1698 of the old and new Commons as a Country supporter, and he was forecast as a likely opponent of a standing army. Following his re-election in January 1701 he was noted as likely to support the Court in February over the ‘Great Mortgage’. On 16 May he was given leave to go into the country because his father was very ill. Bagot was re-elected unopposed in November 1701, and on a list of the new Parliament, Robert Harley* classed him as a Tory. Although the Journals do not show him as an active Member, there is evidence that he took his duties seriously. On 29 Jan. 1702 he wrote, ‘we are more honest now than ever we were for we sit at it till two or three o’clock in the morning’. On 26 Feb. he voted with the Tories in favour of the resolution vindicating the Commons’ proceedings the previous year on the impeachments of William III’s ministers.3
Returned again without a contest in the 1702 election, Bagot was thought sufficiently important to be named by William Lowndes* when the latter wrote to the Lord Treasurer in support of Sir George Parker’s* request to succeed William Campion* as sub-commissioner for prizes at Dover: ‘your favour to him will be well taken by his brother Bagot and other gentlemen in the House’. In the first session of the new Parliament he voted with the Tories on 13 Feb. 1703, against the Lords’ amendment enlarging the time for taking the Abjuration. In the following session, he was listed on Lord Nottingham’s (Daniel Finch†) forecast of likely supporters in November 1703 over the Scotch Plot. However, in the next session he did not vote for the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704. Having recently succeeded to the baronetcy, he was again returned unopposed at the 1705 election. He also made a point of assuring another Tory, Sir Richard Myddelton, 3rd Bt.*, of his interest in Denbighshire. On a list of the 1705 Parliament he was marked ‘Low Church’, almost certainly due to his opposition to the Tack. He was, in fact, far more committed to the cause of the Church than this vote implied. Peter Shakerley* canvassed Bagot’s vote for the Tory candidate, William Bromley II*, in the forthcoming Speaker’s election, and despite being afflicted by gout, he set out for London and on 25 Oct. duly voted against the Court candidate. Two other lists confirm his adherence to the Tory cause: one compiled after the admission of the Scottish Members in 1707 and the other a list of the 1707 Parliament which included the returns for 1708.4
It was probably gout which compelled Bagot’s retirement from Parliament at the 1708 election. He continued to espouse the Tory cause locally, most notably as a host to Dr Sacheverell during the doctor’s triumphant tour through Staffordshire in 1710. Bagot almost certainly supported the election of the doctor’s brother Charles as knight of the shire in February 1712 in succession to his own long-time partner Paget. He died in May of that year, being buried at Blithfield. His widow married (Sir) Adolphus Oughton† (1st Bt.), a strong Whig, leading to a major legal suit between her second husband and the Bagots over property she held in dower. The victor in this dispute was Sir Walter Wagstaffe Bagot, 5th Bt.†, a minor in 1712, who went on to reclaim the family’s seat in Parliament, as a Tory, at a by-election in 1724.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. W. Bagot, Hist. Fam. Bagot, 80; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (William Salt Arch. Soc.), ii. 183.
- 2. Nichols, Lit. Hist. iii. 265–6, 269; CSP Dom. 1703–4, p. 278; Wm. Salt Lib. (Stafford), Bagot mss D/1721/3/291, Sir John Leveson Gower, 5th Bt.*, to Bagot, 10 Feb. 1697[–8]; Bagot to Sir Charles Skrymsher, 12 Feb. ; same to [–] [Feb. 1698]; John Pershall* to [Bagot], 4 Aug. 1698 (Horwitz trans.).
- 3. Warws. RO, Wagstaffe-Bagot mss MI 143, Bagot to wife, 29 Jan. 1702.
- 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. xvii. 358; NLW, Chirk Castle mss E.998, Bagot to Myddelton, 30 May 1705; Cheshire RO, Shakerley mss, Shakerley to Bagot, 29 Aug. 1705; Bull. IHR xxxvii. 22.
- 5. Anglesey mss at Plas Newydd, Bagot to Henry Paget, 10 May 1707; Add. 70421, newsletter 27 June 1710; Bagot, 80; Verney Letters 18th Cent. i. 275.