VERNEY, Hon. John (1699-1741), of Compton Verney, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. 23 Oct. 1699, 5th s. of George Verney, 12th Lord Willoughby de Broke, by Margaret, da. and h. of Sir John Heath of Brasted, Kent. educ. New Coll., Oxf. 1714; M. Temple 1715 called ex gratia 1721, bencher L. Inn 1728. m. 16 Sept. 1724, Abigail, da. of Edward Harley of Eywood, Herefs., auditor of the imprest, 1s. 2da.
2nd justice of Brec. circuit 1726-32; K.C. 1727; attorney-gen. to Queen Caroline 1729-37; c.j. Chester 1733-8; master of the rolls 1738-d.; P.C. 12 Oct. 1738.
Verney was returned as a Tory for Downton by his brother-in-law Anthony Duncombe. He spoke on 22 Jan. 1724 against the Government on a motion for maintaining the existing strength of the army, but supported them on a similar motion on 28 Jan. 1726, at the end of the year being made a Welsh judge. Shortly before the announcement of his appointment a Tory wrote to the second Earl of Oxford (Edward, Lord Harley), with whom Verney was connected by marriage: ‘It looks as though there was some rub in the way. I hope he has not managed like some indiscreet ladies to have scandals without joy’.1 A few days after his re-election he spoke for the Government on an opposition motion about the despatch of a fleet to the Baltic.
At the general election of 1727 Verney stood for Radnor as well as for Downton, writing to Walpole:
Mr. Duncombe’s election at Salisbury being very doubtful makes me the more solicitous for my success at Radnor ... the returning officer, who is Mr. [Thomas] Lewis’s brother, has declared he will return him right or wrong ... It would be a great uneasiness to me to petition, because Radnorshire is one of the counties in my commission and possibly ill-natured people might reflect upon me for it ... I am persuaded that the least word from you will make [Lewis] desist, for he has a place in the Custom House ... Duke Chandos sees Mr. Lewis every day and can easily prevail upon him to do anything you think proper.2
He was defeated at Radnor, but kept his seat at Downton.
In the new Parliament Verney is described as speaking in a financial debate on 4 Mar. 1728 ‘very ridiculously, and of that which it was plain he was utterly ignorant, and Barnard lashed him’.3 In 1730 and 1731 he spoke in support of the Hessians and against a petition for abolishing the monopoly of the East India Company. On 8 Feb. 1733 he opposed receiving a petition from the York Buildings Society on the ground that ‘the law would redress any abuses of this nature’, but his advice was not accepted by the House.4
Verney was out of the next Parliament, as his Downton seat was taken by Duncombe for himself, while he was again defeated at Radnor. In 1738 he applied to Hardwicke for the vacant post of master of the rolls, to which he was appointed. Early in 1741 he offered to resign on grounds of ill-health, adding: ‘I propose to stand next Parliament for Downton, where I shall be elected without any difficulty’.5 He was returned but died 5 Aug. 1741, before Parliament met.