MASTER, William (c.1661-1732), of Richmond, Surr. and St. Paul’s, Covent Garden, Westminster

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Dec. 1701 - 1705

Family and Education

b. c.1661, o. surv. s. of George Master, barrister of Lincoln’s Inn by Judith, da. and coh. of Christopher Wase of Holloway, London.  educ. L. Inn 1677; Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 16 May 1679, aged 17. unmsuc. fa. 1679.1

Offices Held


Master’s father, a practising lawyer, had been a younger son of Sir William Master† of Cirencester Abbey. On his father’s death from a stab wound in 1679 he inherited a modest estate at Ham in Gloucestershire and his mother’s half of the manor of St John Clerkenwell. He was entered at Lincoln’s Inn in accordance with his father’s testamentary wish that he be prepared for a career at the bar, but was never called. At the second election of 1701 his first cousin, Thomas Master†, nominated him to stand at Cirencester where the family had a strong interest. Returned despite his opposer’s accusations of foul play, he was classed as a Tory by Robert Harley* in December, and on 26 Feb. 1702 voted for the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of the King’s Whig ministers. Re-elected to Queen Anne’s first Parliament, he acted as a teller on 21 Nov. 1702 in favour of adjourning a supply debate; on 14 Dec. in a procedural motion against reviving committees; and on 14 Mar. 1704 against receiving a private petition concerning the Irish forfeitures bill. Later that year, on 28 Nov., he joined those moderate Tories who either voted against the Tack or abstained. He did not stand in 1705 and subsequently made no attempt to re-enter Parliament. In later life he immersed himself in antiquarian pursuits, joining Thomas Hearne’s wide circle of contacts, and lived for a while in France. He died at his Richmond ‘lodgings’ on 25 Nov. 1732, when Hearne remembered him as ‘a man of pleasant conversation’, and with reference to his Tory views, as ‘honest’. He left his estate to his cousin (once removed) Thomas Master*, whose father had given Master his electoral opportunity in 1701.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Vis. Glos. ed. Fenwick and Metcalfe, 120–1; Lysons, Environs (1792–6), iii. 137, 144; PCC 35 King.
  • 2. Vis. Glos. 121; PCC 35 King; VCH Middlesex, viii. 65; Lysons, 137, 144; Hearne Colls. vii. 145, xi. 135; Gent. Mag. (1732), p. 1083; PCC 290, 300 Bedford.