Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton

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Thomas Wriothesley
Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, wearing his Garter Star and holding his Staff of Office as Lord High Treasurer. Portrait by School of Sir Peter Lely
Born(1607-03-10)10 March 1607
Died16 May 1667(1667-05-16) (aged 60)
Title4th Earl of Southampton
Other titlesEarl of Chichester
Lord Wriothesley
Offices Lord High Treasurer
Predecessor Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
Spouse(s)Rachel de Massue
Lady Elizabeth Leigh
Frances Seymour
Parents Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
Elizabeth Vernon
Quartered arms of Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, KG, as displayed on his Order of the Garter stall plate in St. George's chapel Coat of arms of Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, KG.png
Quartered arms of Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, KG, as displayed on his Order of the Garter stall plate in St. George's chapel
Arms of Wriothesley: Azure, a cross or between four hawks close argent WriothesleyArms.png
Arms of Wriothesley: Azure, a cross or between four hawks close argent

Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, KG ( /ˈrəθsli/ RY-əth-slee; [1] 10 March 1607 16 May 1667), styled Lord Wriothesley before 1624, was an English statesman, a staunch supporter of King Charles II who after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 rose to the position of Lord High Treasurer, which term began with the assumption of power by the Clarendon Ministry. He "was remarkable for his freedom from any taint of corruption and for his efforts in the interests of economy and financial order," [2] a noble if not completely objective view of his work as the keeper of the nation's finances. [3] He died before the impeachment of Lord Clarendon, after which the Cabal Ministry took over government.

Order of the Garter Order of chivalry in England

The Most Noble 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.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.



He was the only surviving son of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton (1573–1624) by his wife Elizabeth Vernon (1572–1655), daughter of John Vernon (died 1592) of Hodnet, Shropshire.

Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton 17th-century English noble

Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, , was the only son of Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton, and Mary Browne, daughter of Anthony Browne, 1st Viscount Montagu. Shakespeare's two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, were dedicated to Southampton, who is frequently identified as the Fair Youth of Shakespeare's Sonnets.

Hodnet, Shropshire village and civil parish in Shropshire, England

Hodnet is a village and civil parish in Shropshire, England. The town of Market Drayton lies 5.7 miles (9.2 km) north-east of the village.


He succeeded to the earldom following his father's death in 1624, after which event he attended St. John's College, Cambridge. [4] At first, he sided with the Parliament supporters upon the controversies leading to the English Civil War, but upon his realisation of their propensity to violence, he became a loyal supporter of King Charles I. While remaining very loyal to the deposed monarch, he still worked for peace and represented the king at the peace conferences in 1643 and one at Uxbridge in 1645. [5] He was allowed to remain in England, having paid fines to the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents of more than £6,000.

Long Parliament English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660

The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640, and which in turn had followed an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640, King Charles I issued writs summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640. He intended it to pass financial bills, a step made necessary by the costs of the Bishops' Wars in Scotland. The Long Parliament received its name from the fact that, by Act of Parliament, it stipulated it could be dissolved only with agreement of the members; and, those members did not agree to its dissolution until 16 March 1660, after the English Civil War and near the close of the Interregnum.

English Civil War Civil war in England (1642–1651)

The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") over, principally, the manner of England's governance. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The war ended with the Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.

In 1643, near the start of the English Civil War, Parliament set up two committees the Sequestration Committee which confiscated the estates of the Royalists who fought against Parliament, and the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents which allowed Royalists whose estates had been sequestrated, to compound for their estates — pay a fine and recover their estates — if they pledged not to take up arms against Parliament again. The size of the fine they had to pay depended on the worth of the estate and how great their support for the Royalist cause had been.

Several months after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Lord Southampton was appointed Lord High Treasurer (8 September 1660), a position he occupied until his death. Samuel Pepys admired Southampton's integrity and the stoicism with which he endured his painful last illness, but clearly had doubts about his competence as Treasurer; in particular he recorded Southampton's despairing words to him, having been asked to raise more funds at a Council meeting in April 1665: "Why, what means all this, Mr. Pepys? This is true, you say, but what would you have me do? I have given all I can for my life. Why will not people lend their money?" [6] However Pepys admitted that Sir William Coventry, the colleague he most admired, was himself an admirer of Southampton, whom he described as "a great statesman". Coventry recalled that other ministers would joke that regardless of his complaints that it was "impossible" to find money, Southampton always succeeded in the end. Southampton however once grimly remarked that "Impossible will be found impossible at the last", an accurate prophecy of the crisis of 1672 which led to the Stop of the Exchequer.

Lord High Treasurer English government position

The post of Lord High Treasurer or Lord Treasurer was an English government position and has been a British government position since the Acts of Union of 1707. A holder of the post would be the third-highest-ranked Great Officer of State, below the Lord High Steward and the Lord High Chancellor.

Samuel Pepys English naval administrator and member of parliament

Samuel Pepys was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. Pepys had no maritime experience, but he rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, hard work, and his talent for administration. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy.

Sir William Coventry was an English statesman.

Lord Southampton's name lives on in London as both Southampton Row and Southampton Street in Holborn are named after him. [2]

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom, as well as the largest city within the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Southampton Row street in the London Borough of Camden

Southampton Row is a major thoroughfare running northwest-southeast in Bloomsbury, Camden, central London, England. The road is designated as part of the A4200.

Southampton Street, London street in central London

Southampton Street is a street in central London, running north from the Strand to Covent Garden Market.

Marriages and children

Portrait c. 1638 of Rachel de Massue, Southampton's first wife, by van Dyck Portrait of Rachel de Massue, Countess of Southampton, by Anthony van Dyck, c.1638.jpg
Portrait c. 1638 of Rachel de Massue, Southampton's first wife, by van Dyck

He married three times and had three daughters:

  1. to Rachel de Massue (1603 – 16 February 1640), a French Huguenot and an aunt of Henri de Massue, Marquis de Ruvigny, 1st Viscount Galway. By Rachel he had children two daughters and co-heiresses:
    1. Elizabeth Wriothesley, Viscountess Campden, wife of Edward Noel, 1st Earl of Gainsborough [2]
    2. Rachel Wriothesley, wife of William Russell, Lord Russell (1639–1683), the third son of William Russell, 5th Earl of Bedford, later created Duke of Bedford. The eventual heir to all the estates of her father Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, was her only son Wriothesley Russell, 2nd Duke of Bedford (1680–1711).
  2. to Lady Elizabeth Leigh, daughter of Francis Leigh, 1st Earl of Chichester from whom he inherited the title Earl of Chichester. [7] By Elizabeth Leigh he had a further daughter:
    1. Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley (1646–1690) who married twice, firstly to Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland (1644–1670), whom she bore an only surviving child, heiress to the vast Percy estates, Lady Elizabeth Percy (1667–1722) who married Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset (1662–1748). She secondly married Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu. [8]
  3. Lady Frances Seymour, daughter of William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset (1587–1660) by his second wife Lady Frances Devereux. They had no children.

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Wriothesley may refer to:

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  1. Wells, J. C. Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 3rd edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Southampton, Earl of"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 489–490.
  3. Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. "Wriothesley, Thomas (WRTY642T)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. Per Encyclopædia Britannica
  6. Diary of Samuel Pepys 12 April 1665
  8. Leslie Stephen (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 38. p. 263. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
Political offices
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The Earl of Portland
The 1st Duke of Richmond
Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
jointly with The Earl of Portland
The 1st Duke of Richmond

English Interregnum
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Sir Henry Wallop
Custos Rotulorum of Hampshire
In commission
Sir Edward Hyde as First Lord
Title last held by
The Lord Cottington
Lord High Treasurer
In commission
The Duke of Albemarle as First Lord
Title next held by
The Lord Clifford of Chudleigh
Honorary titles
English Interregnum Custos Rotulorum of Hampshire
Succeeded by
Lord Percy
Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk
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The Lord Townshend
Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
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Lord St John
Preceded by
The Duke of Somerset
Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire
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The Earl of Clarendon
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The Lord Windsor
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The Earl of Winchilsea
Lord Lieutenant of Kent
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The 3rd Duke of Richmond
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Henry Wriothesley
Earl of Southampton
Preceded by
Francis Leigh
Earl of Chichester