RUSHOUT, Sir John, 4th Bt. (1685-1775), of Northwick Park, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. 6 Feb. 1685, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir James Rushout, 1st Bt.*; bro. of Sir James Rushout, 2nd Bt.* educ. Eton 1698. m. 16 Oct. 1729, Lady Anne, da. of George Compton, 4th Earl of Northampton, 1s. 2da. suc. nephew as 4th Bt. 21 Sept. 1711.1
Cornet, R. Horse Gds. 1705, lt. 1706, capt. 1710–12; ld. of Treasury Feb. 1742–Aug. 1743; treasurer of navy 1743–4; PC 19 Jan. 1744.
Gov. Harrow sch. 1715–d.; high steward, Malmesbury 1715–16, 1743–50; freeman, Worcester 1717.2
Born on the day of Charles II’s death, an apocryphal story ascribed Rushout’s birth to his mother’s fear of popery. A younger son, he joined the ranks of the army while his brother, the 2nd baronet, inherited the family estates. As fortune would have it, the early death of his brother, followed a few years later by his nephew, saw him inherit the baronetcy and most of the family’s estates in Worcestershire. His niece Elizabeth took the Maylords estate in Essex.3
Rushout’s Whiggery was apparent from his career in the army. In an autobiographical sketch written to promote his claims to a peerage in 1756 he explained his retirement from the army in January 1712 as a move to pre-empt his dismissal, given the Duke of Ormond’s policy of weeding out Whig officers ‘with a view to defeat the Hanoverian succession’. No doubt his new-found status and wealth enabled him to contemplate retirement from the army.4
Rushout’s parliamentary career did not begin at Evesham, where both his father and brother had exercised a significant interest. Instead, his return at a by-election at Malmesbury was facilitated by Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*). He took his seat on 25 Apr. 1713. He followed a consistent Whig line in the Commons, voting on 18 June 1713 against the French commerce bill. At the 1713 election he considered standing for one of the Worcestershire county seats, stood without success at Evesham, but was returned again for Malmesbury. In the new session he voted on 18 Mar. 1714 against the expulsion of Richard Steele. He also acted as a teller for the Whig side on the Harwich election petition on 16 July. Both the compilers of the Worsley list and a comparative analysis of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments considered him to be a Whig. Following the Queen’s death Rushout again made an interest for one of the Worcestershire seats, only to desist in November in favour of Malmesbury which he continued to represent until 1722. Thereafter he represented Evesham. During Robert Walpole II’s* long ministry he played a leading role in the Whig opposition, acting as a lieutenant to William Pulteney*. After a brief ministerial career, he seems to have devoted his energies to securing a peerage, an honour eventually accorded his son, the 5th baronet, in 1797. He died on 2 Feb. 1775.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, xii. 182–5; Eton Coll. Reg. 1698–1752, p. 296; St. Mary’s, Harrow-on-the-Hill Reg. 259; Hereford and Worcester RO (Worcester, St. Helen’s), Northwick mss 705: 66BA4231/22, Thomas Williams’ cash-bk.
- 2. Harrow Sch. Reg. 1571–1800 ed. Gun, 161; Worcs. Arch. Soc. n.s. xvii. 25.
- 3. Nash, Worcs. i. 99; VCH Essex, vii. 37.
- 4. Add. 32862, ff. 218–19.
- 5. Hereford and Worcester RO (St. Helen’s), Cal. Wm. Lygon Letters, 609, Rushout to William Lygon, 24 Aug. 1714; 638, Sir John Pakington, 4th Bt.*, to same, 5 Nov. 1714.