Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1672–1739)

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Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1672-1739) Diplomat.jpg
Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford
Bornc. 1672
Died15 November 1739
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1688–1715
Rank Lieutenant-General
Unit 1st (Royal) Dragoons
Awards Order of the Garter
Coat of arms of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, KG Coat of arms of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, KG.png
Coat of arms of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, KG

Lieutenant-General Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (of the 2nd creation), KG (baptised 17 September 1672 15 November 1739), known as Thomas Wentworth, 3rd Baron Raby from 1695 to 1711, was an English peer, diplomat and statesman who served as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Lieutenant general, formerly more commonly lieutenant-general, is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. It is the equivalent of a multinational three-star rank; some British lieutenant generals sometimes wear three-star insignia, in addition to their standard insignia, when on multinational operations.

Order of the Garter Order of chivalry in England

The Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III in 1348 and regarded as the most prestigious British order of chivalry in England and later the United Kingdom. It is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.

Diplomat person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with another state or international organization

A diplomat is a person appointed by a state to conduct diplomacy with one or more other states or international organizations. The main functions of diplomats are: representation and protection of the interests and nationals of the sending state; initiation and facilitation of strategic agreements; treaties and conventions; promotion of information; trade and commerce; technology; and friendly relations. Seasoned diplomats of international repute are used in international organizations as well as multinational companies for their experience in management and negotiating skills. Diplomats are members of foreign services and diplomatic corps of various nations of the world.



Thomas was the eldest surviving son of Sir William Wentworth of Northgatehead—who served as High Sheriff of Yorkshire—and his wife Isabella Apsley, daughter of the prominent Royalist commander Sir Allen Apsley and his wife Frances Petre. His paternal grandfather, Sir William Wentworth of Ashby Puerorum, was a younger brother of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford

High Sheriff of Yorkshire Chronological list of the High Sheriffs of Yorkshire, England

The Sheriff is the oldest secular office under the Crown. Formerly the Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been transferred elsewhere or are now defunct, so that its functions are now largely ceremonial.

A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of government, but not necessarily a particular monarch. Most often, the term royalist is applied to a supporter of a current regime or one that has been recently overthrown to form a republic.

Sir Allen Apsley (1616–1685) was a leading Royalist in the English Civil War. He was the son of Sir Allen Apsley (1582–1630), and brother of Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681).

His education seems to have been deficient; critics said that he was almost illiterate, and certainly his spelling was appalling. This, combined with his reputation as a very poor public speaker, and his ignorance of any foreign language, would lead many to question his qualifications to be a diplomat. Jonathan Swift said that while he was lively and spirited, he had "the Devil's own pride".

Jonathan Swift 17th/18th-century Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, and poet

Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

Military career

In about 1687, he was a page of honour to Queen Mary of Modena. On 31 December 1688, he was commissioned a cornet in Colchester's Regiment of Horse. [1] Thomas Wentworth saw much service as a soldier in the Low Countries, and was occasionally employed on diplomatic errands. [2] He fought corageously at the Battle of Steenkerque, and was wounded. For his good service he was appointed an aide-de-camp to King William in August 1692, was commissioned guideon and 1st major in the 1st Troop of Horse Guards 4 October 1693, and cornet and 1st major in the same 20 January 1694. On 7 May 1695, Wentworth was appointed a groom of the bedchamber to the king. [1]

Mary of Modena English royal consort

Mary of Modena was Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland as the second wife of James II and VII (1633–1701). A devout Roman Catholic, Mary married the widowed James, who was then the younger brother and heir presumptive of Charles II (1630–1685). She was uninterested in politics and devoted to James and their children, two of whom survived to adulthood: the Jacobite claimant to the thrones, James Francis Edward, and Louisa Maria Teresa.

3rd Dragoon Guards

The 3rd Dragoon Guards was a cavalry regiment in the British Army, first raised in 1685 as the Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Horse. It was renamed as the 3rd Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1751 and the 3rd Dragoon Guards in 1765. It saw service for two centuries, including the First World War, before being amalgamated into the 3rd/6th Dragoon Guards in 1922.

Low Countries historical coastal landscape in north western Europe

The Low Countries, the Low Lands, or historically also the Netherlands, is a coastal lowland region in northwestern Europe, forming the lower basin of the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt rivers, divided in the Middle Ages into numerous semi-independent principalities that consolidated in the countries of Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, as well as today's French Flanders.

When his cousin William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford died without issue on 16 October 1695, Wentworth succeeded him as the 3rd Baron Raby. He did not inherit the Strafford fortune or the Jacobean house, Wentworth Woodhouse which passed to the second earl's nephew, Thomas Watson, son of his sister Anne.

William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford English Earl

William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford was a member of England's House of Lords

There have been two creations of the title Baron Raby, both in the Peerage of England. The first was in 1640, as a subsidiary title of the Earl of Strafford. The first earl was attainted and his peerages declared forfeit in 1641, but heir obtained a reversal in 1662. On his death, all his peerages became extinct save the Barony of Raby, which continued until the death of the fifth baron in 1799. Confusingly, the third baron was again created Earl of Strafford in 1711, and the earldom and barony remained merged until their mutual extinction.

Wentworth Woodhouse country house in the village of Wentworth, South Yorkshire, England

Wentworth Woodhouse is a Grade I listed country house in the village of Wentworth, in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England. It is currently owned by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust. Considered to be the largest private residence in the United Kingdom, it has an east front of 606 feet (185 m); the longest country house façade in Europe. The house has more than 300 rooms, although the precise number is unclear, with 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) of floorspace. It covers an area of more than 2.5 acres (1.0 ha), and is surrounded by a 180-acre (73 ha) park, and an estate of 15,000 acres (6,100 ha).

Raby was commissioned colonel of the Royal Regiment of Dragoons in 1697 and appointed deputy lieutenant of Lincolnshire on 21 May 1700. He was employed as ambassador extraordinary to Berlin in March 1701, the first of several missions he undertook to Prussia. Under Queen Anne, Raby became a brigadier of horse on 7 January 1703 and a major general on 1 January 1704. [1]

1st The Royal Dragoons

The Royal Dragoons was a mounted infantry and later a heavy cavalry regiment of the British Army. The regiment was formed in 1661 as the Tangier Horse. It served for three centuries and was in action during the First and the Second World Wars. It was amalgamated with the Royal Horse Guards to form The Blues and Royals in 1969.

In the United Kingdom, a deputy lieutenant is a Crown appointment and one of several deputies to the lord lieutenant of a lieutenancy area: an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county.

Lincolnshire County of England

Lincolnshire is a county in eastern England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders Northamptonshire in the south for just 20 yards (18 m), England's shortest county boundary. The county town is the city of Lincoln, where the county council has its headquarters.


From 1703 to 1704 and 1705 to 1711 he was Queen Anne's ambassador to Berlin. There he secured the services of Johann von Bodt to design Wentworth Castle, at Stainborough in Yorkshire, built, largely directed by letter from a distance, from about 1710 to 1720. While serving abroad, on 1 January 1707, he was commissioned a lieutenant general. From March 1711 to 1714 he was British ambassador at the Hague. [2] On 14 June 1711, he was sworn of the Privy Council, and on 29 June 1711 was created Viscount Wentworth of Wentworth-Woodhouse and of Stainborough and Earl of Strafford . From 1712 until 1714, Strafford was First Lord of the Admiralty, and in October 1712, was made a Knight of the Garter. After the death of Anne, he was one of the Lords Justices who represented George I until the new king arrived in Great Britain. [1]

Strafford was a representative of Great Britain at the Congress of Utrecht, and in 1715 was impeached for his share in concluding the resulting treaty, but the charges against him were not pressed to a conclusion [2] (although he lost his colonelcy).[ citation needed ]


Strafford retired to Wentworth Castle. He was a leading conspirator in the Atterbury Plot of 1720–1722 to restore the Stuarts to the throne, and was also a party to the Cornbury Plot of 1731–1735. The Pretender appointed him one of his 'Lords Regent' in England and commander of the Jacobite forces north of the Humber. [3] For his role in furthering the Jacobite cause, he was created "Duke of Strafford" in the Jacobite Peerage of England on 5 June 1722 by the Old Pretender. [4] On the collapse of the Plot, the Government, while fully aware of his deep involvement, decided to take no action against him, and he lived out his last years in peace. He would occasionally still attend House of Lords debates, although he was a very bad public speaker.


On 6 September 1711 he married Anne Johnson, daughter of Sir Henry Johnson, member of parliament for Aldeburgh, and his first wife Anne Smithson. [5] The marriage was described as both advantageous and happy: while Anne brought him a dowry rumoured to be £60000, her letters show their deep mutual affection. Together they had three daughters, Anne (who married William James Conolly), Lucy, and Henrietta; and a son, William (born 1722). Thomas Wentworth died of kidney stones, after years of failing health, on 15 November 1739. He was succeeded in his titles by his only son William, who became 2nd Earl of Strafford.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Doyle, James William Edmund (1886). The Official Baronage of England, v. 3. London: Longmans, Green. pp. 415–416.
  2. 1 2 3 Chisholm 1911.
  3. Smith, Ruth, "Handel's English librettists" in The Cambridge Companion to Handel , edited by Burrows, Donald, (Cambridge University Press, 1997), page 97 online at (accessed 5 March 2008)
  4. De Ruvigny, Marquis, The Jacobite Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Grants of Honour (Edinburgh: T.C. & C.E. Jack, 1904, new edition by Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003, ISBN   0-8063-1716-7) p. 171
  5. "Strafford, Earl of (GB, 1711 1799)". 25 June 2005. Retrieved 7 October 2017.

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Military offices
Preceded by
Edward Matthews
Colonel of The Royal Regiment of Dragoons
Succeeded by
The Lord Cobham
Diplomatic posts
Unknown British Ambassador to Prussia
Next known title holder:
The Earl of Forfar
Preceded by
The Viscount Townshend
British Ambassador to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
William Cadogan
Political offices
Preceded by
John Leake
First Lord of the Admiralty
Succeeded by
The Earl of Orford
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Strafford
2nd creation
Succeeded by
William Wentworth
Preceded by
William Wentworth
Baron Raby
1st creation