WALCOT, Humphrey (1672-1743), of Stanmore, Mdx. and Bitterley Court, Salop.
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Family and Education
bap. 23 Feb. 1672, 4th but 3rd surv. s. of John Walcot† of Walcot and Beguildy, Rad.; bro. of George Walcot*. m. (1) Margaret (d. 1715), da. of Edmund Pearce of Wilcott, Salop, s.p.; (2) c.1720, Anne, da. and h. of George Curteis of Otterden, Kent, wid. of Thomas Wheler, 1s. 3da.1
Dep.-paymaster of the forces 1712–13; asst. R. African Co. 1717–22, dep.-gov. 1720, sub-gov. 1721.2
A protégé of Hon. James Brydges*, Walcot had originally followed his elder brother George into the Spanish trade: he was apprenticed at Cadiz in 1691 and three years later was reported as residing at Gibraltar. After the marriage in 1696 of his eldest brother, Charles, to the sister of James Brydges, he settled at Stanmore, very near Canons Park, an estate which Brydges had recently inherited. The two families were already distantly related, and when Walcot formed a company in 1701 to develop and promote his uncle William’s patented method of desalinating sea water, the rights to which had just been assigned to him by his father, he was able to publish a testimonial to the efficacy of the method given in 1688 by Brydges’ father, Lord Chandos, and to vaunt the fact that Chandos had become the first person to purchase a share in the new company. Whether or not the project was a success – in 1705 Walcot was advertising for sale ‘at his warehouse . . . in Houndsditch’ engines ‘for making sea water fresh and wholesome’ – he was able to purchase in 1709 the estate of Bitterley Court from his brother Charles for £4,000.3
The estate brought with it an interest at Ludlow that was strong enough to enable Walcot to write in April 1710 of his ‘great hopes of success’ there at the next election, and for it to be reported in September that one of the outgoing Members, his cousin Sir Thomas Powys, was being ‘hard pressed’ to retain his seat against Walcot’s challenge. However, on 2 Sept. James Brydges had written to urge that Walcot withdraw his candidature, and eventually, a few days before the election, agreement was reached between Walcot and Powys, the former withdrawing with some reluctance, as he informed Brydges:
when I was so likely to carry my election, even first in the return. However, if what I have done be agreeable to your sentiments I am satisfied, and have laid a good foundation for a future interest, notwithstanding the vile attempts and reports which have been made, among which none could be more scandalous than that my brother Walcot would make interest for my Lord Newport [Hon. Henry*] if the gentlemen of the country, who are burgesses here, would not vote for me. His principles are more steady to the Church than to mention such a thing.
None the less, Walcot’s withdrawal left his brother disgruntled. After having refused to put his interest at Bishop’s Castle at the disposal of Sir Robert Raymond*, the candidate supported by the Harley family, Charles Walcot was said to be ‘very much confounded’ by Raymond’s return, and ‘as an excuse intimated that (Sir) Simon Harcourt I* had prevailed upon Mr Brydges to write to his brother to desist, which was in favour of Sir Thomas Powys who would otherwise have lost it at Ludlow’.4
Brydges appointed Walcot in August 1712 to be his deputy as paymaster of the forces, and tried unsuccessfully the following year to secure for him some more permanent office, in the Exchequer, before he himself resigned the paymastership. Walcot also acted as deputy to Brydges from 1714 onwards in the collection of the aulnage duties, of which Brydges was one of several lessees.5
In the 1713 election Walcot was returned at Ludlow, with Brydges’ help, at the top of the poll. Classified as a Tory in the Worsley list but as a ‘whimsical’ Whig in a list of the Members re-elected in 1715, and as a Whig in a further analysis of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments, he gave his interest at Bishop’s Castle in 1715 to Lord Harley (Edward*) and subsequently featured as an opponent of the Court during George I’s first Parliament. Walcot was buried on 29 Oct. 1743.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. J. B. Burton, Walcot Fam. 77–78; IGI, Salop.
- 2. T70/101.
- 3. Burton, 77–78; CSP Dom. 1691–2, p. 35; 1694–5, p. 127; C. H. C. and M. I. Baker, James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos, 4; NLW, Ottley mss 2190, 2189, Walcot to Dr Ottley, 8, 29, Nov. 1701; H. Walcot, Sea-Water Made Fresh and Wholesome; Post Man, 15–17 Feb. 1705.
- 4. Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 57(4), p. 133; 58(5), pp. 218–19; 58(6), pp. 254–5; Add. 70263, Winnington to Harley, 25 Sept. 1710; 70236, [Edward Harley]* to Robert Harley, 10, 13 Oct. 1710.
- 5. Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1735–8, pp. 51–52; Baker, 104, 360.
- 6. Stowe mss 57(9), p. 171; Salop Par. Reg. Soc. Hereford dioc. iv. Bitterley, 92.