GORING, Sir Henry, 4th Bt. (1679-1731), of Highden, and Wappingthorne, nr. Steyning, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



4 Apr. 1707 - 1708
1 Feb. 1709 - 1715
29 Jan. - 16 June 1715

Family and Education

bap. 16 Sept. 1679, 4h s. of Capt. Henry Goring (d.1685) of Wappingthorne (s. of Sir Henry Goring, 2nd Bt., M.P. Sussex 1660, Steyning 1661-79, Sussex 1685-7) by his 2nd w. Mary, da. and coh. of Sir John Covert, 1st Bt., of Slaugham, Suss. m. (post nupt. settlement 25 Feb. 1714), Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir George Matthew of Twickenham, Mdx., 9s. 2da. suc. half-bro. Sir Charles Goring, 3rd Bt., 13 Jan. 1714.

Offices Held

Capt. in Col. Edmund Soame’s Ft. 1705; transferred to Col. Samuel Masham’s Horse 1707; col. 31 Ft. Mar. 1711, half-pay 1713, and June-Sept. 1715.


An officer in the regiment of Colonel Masham, the husband of Queen Anne’s favourite, Goring appears to have owed his appointment to the command of a regiment in 1711 to the board set up under the Duke of Ormonde by the new Tory Government to take army promotions out of Marlborough’s hands. Returned for Horsham in 1715 but unseated on petition, he was one of the Jacobite officers who were required to sell their commissions on the outbreak of the 1715 rebellion.1 In the spring of 1716 he was involved in a project to restore the Stuarts, with the help of Swedish troops, to be directed on the English side by his ‘intimate friend’ General John Richmond Webb, he himself engaging ‘to join those troops as soon as they land’.2 Early in 1721, when his name was sent to the Pretender as a probable supporter in the event of a rising, he put forward a new plan for a restoration with the assistance of the Irish troops in Spain under the Duke of Ormonde and those in France under Lt.-Gen. Dillon, writing to Ormonde, 20 Mar.:

I will venture with the utmost deference and respect to tell you that the whole kingdom begs a retrieve, as well the Whigs as the Tories, and if you would come with 1,000 soldiers and 10,000 arms, it is a safe gain. I am told the gentleman in whose hand this will go through [Dillon] proposes two thousand soldiers and arms. I know these are ready. He will tell you at the same time you receive this what he can do ...

In a covering note to Dillon he wrote:

I am told you proposed to the Bishop of Rochester [Atterbury] to send 2,000 soldiers and that he thought it too small a number. In this, I can assure you, he is the only person that thinks so who intends to serve the King [the Pretender] and he has sent this information of his own head, without consulting friends in England, for I know they will all go into that number, though probably they would be glad of more. I beg you will not lay this design aside but press the Duke of Ormonde to come, for it cannot fail of success. I will do everything that is to be done in concert with some friends, for the more secrecy the better. We shall not want numbers.

On 22 Apr. Atterbury, who now agreed with the scheme, informed the Pretender:

The time is now come when with a very little assistance from your friends abroad, your way to your friends at home is become safe and easy ... The worthy Sir Henry Goring will be able to explain things more fully to your friends on the other side, who can with the most dispatch and secrecy convey accounts of them to you.

Goring’s zeal was rewarded by a letter from the Pretender of 4 Jan. 1722, saying:

I send to Mr. Dillon for you a warrant for making you a viscount [in the event of a restoration] with the titles in blank for you to fill up as you think fit. The share you have in the present project and that which I hope you will have in my restoration justly deserve the most particular marks of my favour and kindness, and when it pleases God I may see better days, you will find that I shall never forget the part you have acted towards me in my misfortune.3

The rising was to have taken place during the general election of 1722 (when he stood unsuccessfully for Steyning), but not enough money had been collected to buy arms in sufficient quantity, on which Lord Mar, one of the Pretender’s representatives in France, observed that Goring ‘though an honest, stout man, had not showed himself very fit for things of this kind, I mean to have the advising and leading of them’.4 After the discovery of the plot, he fled to France on 23 Aug., the day before Atterbury’s arrest.5 In the course of the ensuing trials, in which he was referred to as one of the principal managers of the plot, his agent disclosed that Goring had attempted to enlist in the Pretender’s service a gang of brandy smugglers said to number a thousand, against whose activities the Government subsequently passed legislation.6 He remained in exile in France until his death, 12 Nov. 1731.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Dalton, Geo. I's Army, i. 358-9.
  • 2. HMC Stuart, ii. 67-68.
  • 3. Stuart mss 52/141; 53/48; 57/5; 65/16.
  • 4. 23 Mar. 1722, to the Pretender, ibid. 58/91.
  • 5. Report from the Committee of the House of Commons appointed to examine Christopher Layer and others, App. E. 17.
  • 6. Howell's State Trials, xvi. 336, 374, 397, 449-51; SP Dom. 35/42, pt. i. ff. 225-8; Sir Henry Goring to the Pretender, 6 May 1723, Stuart mss 67/16; Knatchbull Diary, 26 Apr. 1723; 9 Geo. I, c. 1.