BROMLEY, William III (1685-1756), of Upton-on-Severn, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. 28 Apr. 1685, o. s. of Henry Bromley by Elizabeth, da. and h. of John Lench of Doverdale, Worcs. educ. Oriel, Oxf. 1701; M. Temple 1703, called 1710. m. (1) 2 May 1720, Mary (d. 1737[–?8]), da. and coh. of Joseph Moore, banker, of London, s.p.; (2) c.1733, Judith (d. 1770), da. of one Hanbury, 1da. suc. fa. 1686.1
Freeman, Worcester 1729; recorder, Tewkesbury 1735–d.2
The Bromleys of Upton were distant relatives of the Bromleys of Holt, both families being descended from Sir Henry Bromley (d. 1615), the eldest son of Thomas Bromley, the Elizabethan lord chancellor. Sir Henry purchased Upton and settled it on his younger son, by which route it passed to this Member. Although his father’s will of January 1686 made no mention of him, it is probable that Bromley was brought up by his mother, who had been given full power to manage the family estates. He embarked upon a successful legal career, but seems to have been interested in politics almost from the time he came of age. In August 1707 he was undoubtedly the ‘Mr Bromley of Upton’ who, along with Thomas Vernon†, Richard Dowdeswell* and Anthony Lechmere* (all reputed friends of William Bromley I*), refused to engage for Samuel Pytts* in the contest for the vacant county seat in Worcestershire. This would place him among the influential group of moderate Whigs in the county who had formed the basis of William Bromley I’s electoral interest. His own parliamentary ambitions centred on Tewkesbury, five and a half miles from Upton. In September 1710 he informed William Lygon (another friend of William Bromley I) that he ‘had for some time a design of offering myself a candidate at this town and have made a private interest’. By early October he was predicting ‘as great a struggle as has been known’, as the two outgoing Members, Richard Dowdeswell and Henry Ireton, were standing against him with the support of the corporation. Dyer depicted Bromley’s victory as the result of the Tory commonalty throwing off the Whig yoke. Thus Bromley was sent off to London in November by a crowd brandishing Dr Sacheverell’s portrait. Henry Brydges may have been closer to the mark when he supplied his brother James* with the information that Bromley ‘was set up by the Tories in opposition to Mr Ireton’, but had thrown out the other Whig, Dowdeswell.3
Unfortunately, the evidence of Bromley’s parliamentary activities does little to clarify his political views. He was classed as a Tory on the ‘Hanover list’ of 1710, and as a ‘worthy patriot’ who during the 1710–11 session detected the mismanagements of the previous administration. However, he voted against an amendment to the South Sea bill on 25 May 1711 in company with a group of committed Whigs, including two with Worcestershire connexions, Nicholas Lechmere* and John Rudge*. The tenor of his remarks on politics in letters to Lygon suggests a disposition to criticize the previous Whig ministry, as when he described the Commons’ ‘humble representation’ to the Queen on 31 May 1711 as a request ‘never to make use of any of those concerned in the late ministry’. In his letter of this date, Bromley wrote at length on his desire to marry Lygon’s daughter. Somewhat defensively he alluded to a fear that his prospective father-in-law had ‘censured my conduct and management and might suspect I might not be duly careful for the future’. In his own defence he declared: ‘I have seen a good deal of the world by going about in it and have partaken of its pleasures as far as has been consistent with the rules of prudence or virtue.’ On a more practical level he estimated his estate at about £450 p.a. in rents and about £150 ‘out in copyholds upon lives’. Nothing came of the proposal. In the 1713 session he may have been the ‘Mr Bromley’ who acted as a teller on 4 May in favour of an early second reading for the bill suspending for two months the duties on French wines. On 18 June he voted against the French commerce bill, being classed as a Whig at the same time. However, no Member for Gloucestershire dared to vote for the bill. He did not contest the seat again. Neither his admission to the freedom of Worcester nor his election as recorder of Tewkesbury can be taken as unequivocal proof of his political position, as both boroughs were then split between representatives of the government and opposition. He died on 7 Feb. 1756, being succeeded by his only daughter, the wife of John Martin of Overbury, possibly a relative of the John Martin who sat for Tewkesbury during George II’s reign.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. Nash, Worcs. ii. 445; Vis. Worcs. ed. Metcalfe, 25–26; IGI, London.
- 2. W. R. Williams, Parl. Hist. Glos. 245.
- 3. Vis. Worcs. 25–26; PCC 39 Lloyd; Surr. RO (Kingston), Somers mss 371/14/L29, William Walsh* to Ld. Somers (Sir John*), 18 Aug. 1707; Hereford and Worcester RO (Worcester), Cal. Wm. Lygon Letters, 345, 355, Bromley to Lygon, 8 Sept., 5 Oct. 1710; Add. 70421, newsletters, 14 Oct., 23 Nov. 1703; G. Holmes, Trial of Sacheverell, 253–4; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 58(7), p. 4.
- 4. Hist. Jnl. iv. 202; Cal. Wm. Lygon Letters, 428, Bromley to Lygon, 31 May 1711; Williams, 245; PCC 60 Glazier; J. Bennett, Hist. Tewkesbury, 256.