Thornton Romances

Dear Nora: I?m sending you the reproduction of a page from the “Thornton Romances” sent to me by Lincoln University.? I do hope that it arrives safely and not accompanied by bits and pieces of all the correspondance involved in acquiring it as my computer skills are very few save a little e-mailing and digging around in Google. Thank you very much for the reproduction of the portrait of our ancestors. I had come across it quite often in Google but never imagined that one day descendants of Harriet Comber and of her brother would be in touch!?Very sincerely.?Pat – Helena Patricia Comber
helena
==
Dear Pat,
It was very good to hear from you and?really interesting to learn that we have so?many cousins in South America,
I am a relative newcomer to?Wandesforde?other than?to know that many of our ancestors used his name. You’ve seen the report of my visit with my grandson?to?Christcurch?Cathedral and I trust separately you have seen the extensive notes we kindly received from StuartKinsella, the archivist there.
I’ve just been reading “Memoirs of the life and death of the Right Honourable the Lord Deputy?Wandesforde: collected from authentic records and?MSS. by his great great grandson Thomas Comber,…Second edition.” This is a wonderful account, written in 1777 in Old English, which takes a little getting used to. It’s published by?ECCO, History and Geography and came on line from?Wordery. I don’t know the price because my sister gave it to me for Christmas, it’s softback. He? certainly achieved a great deal in a short lifetime, especially in his last few years in Ireland. I visited?Castlecomber?recently and discovered that the?Wandesford?family only sold up and left?Castlecomberin the 1960s?when they?moved to England. The house was demolished and it is now a public park called?Castlecomber?Discovery Park with plenty of references to?Wandesforde, you’ll see it on line.
Our?family’s connection is as follows;
Our great grandmother was;
Clemintina?Woodhead, her father?was;
H.J.P.?Woodhead?(Brighton) 1829-1903, his mother was;
Harriett Comber 1793-1872, her father was;
Thomas Comber 1765-1835, his father was;
Thomas Comber 1722-1779, his father was;
Thomas Comber 1688-1765, his parents were;
Alice Elizabeth Thornton 1653-1720,?and Thomas Comber, Alice’s mother was;
Alice?Wandesforde?1626-1720 and her father was;
Sir Christopher?Wandesforde?1592- 1640.
Much of this (and a lot more)?has kindly been given to us by Judy Bennett from England. Judy (like you, discovered us on line) is the granddaughter of H.G.W.?Woodhead?1844-1959, a very interesting man, you’ll find him on Google. I’ll pass on your email to?Judy and she may get in touch. I know that Judy is presently in US so there might be a delay.
It would be interesting to know when?your ancestors went off across the Atlantic!
My sister Netta and I live?near Dublin. We’re adding to our Dear Grandchildren all the time and are delighted to hear from another? cousin.
Yours sincerely
Eoin?Hickey.

Sir Christopher Wandesford

Dear Eoin,

Ceni Owen at Christ Church passed on to me?your contact details regarding Sir Christopher?Wandesford and Christ Church.

I’m afraid that there is nothing to see at the?cathedral these days, but he died on 3 December,?and was buried in the choir of the cathedral on 7?December 1640. He was such an admired ruler -?he was lord deputy of Ireland – that he was one?of the only people to be professionally ‘caoin’ed?or keened (as in the Irish ‘ag caoineadh’, for ‘crying’)?on his death by the Irish and not just the English.

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,?describes it thus:?’He died at Dublin on 3 December 1640 and was?buried there, in Christ Church, seven days later.?His funeral sermon was preached by Bramhall,?one of the executors of his will. According to his?daughter, the Irish ‘did sett up their lamentable?hone, as they call it, for him in the church, which?was never knowne before for any Englishman don’?(Autobiography of Mrs Alice Thornton, 26).?A monument was erected in the choir – it is unclear?where – and this was noted and roughly drawn by?Thomas Dineley when he visited Ireland in 1680.

I attach the account of Dineley, and the image that?he drew of the monument.

No entry for him appears in the Dictionary of Irish?Biography, but I’ve pasted in the full entry from the?Oxford Dictionary of National Biography below.

Many thanks for your interest.
Best wishes,
Stuart

 

Fiona Pogson, ‘Wandesford, Christopher (1592-1640)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/28662, accessed 15 Nov 2014]

Wandesford, Christopher (1592-1640), politician and administrator, was born at Bishop Burton, near Beverley, Yorkshire, on 24 September 1592 and baptized there on 18 October. He was the son of Sir George Wandesford (1573-1612), landowner, of Kirklington, Yorkshire, and Catherine, daughter of Ralph Hansby of Gray’s Inn. He attended school at Well, together with his kinsman Thomas Wentworth, later earl of Strafford, and matriculated from Clare College, Cambridge, in Michaelmas 1610. He was admitted to Gray’s Inn on 1 November 1612, but the death of his father that year forced him to attend to an estate much of which was leased out at uneconomic rents and burdened with debts. Prudent management of his financial resources enabled him to free the estate from wardship, provide for his brothers and sisters, and, by 1630, to spend at least ?1600 in improvements to his seat at Kirklington. Wandesford is said by Lodge to have married, as his first wife, a daughter of William Ramsden of Byrom, Yorkshire, but this seems highly unlikely. On 22 September 1614 he married Alice (1592-1659), only daughter of Sir Hewett Osborne. She was sister to Sir Edward Osborne, vice-president, under Wentworth, of the council of the north. They had seven children, five of whom survived to adulthood, including Alice [see Thornton, Alice], whose autobiography presents the marriage as a very happy one.

MP for Yorkshire
Wandesford sat for Aldborough, Yorkshire, in the parliaments of 1621 and 1624, and probably gained a seat at Richmond in 1625 and 1626 through his friendship with Wentworth; in 1626 he appears to have considered challenging Sir John Savile and his son Thomas for a county seat. In July 1625 he was placed on the commission of the peace for the North Riding. Wandesford was particularly active in the 1626 parliament, taking a leading role in the Commons’ attack on the duke of Buckingham, handling the especially dangerous charge of administering medicine to James I. In consequence he was removed from the commission of the peace and issued with a privy seal loan demand of ?100. He remarked to Wentworth that ‘when the privy seals cum, I think itt will be the proportion only that shall trouble me’ (Strafford papers, 16/242), but his willingness to accept that the king might be entitled to some form of non-parliamentary revenue did not extend to the forced loan. His refusal to pay did not result in imprisonment, in contrast to his kinsmen Wentworth and Sir George Radcliffe, although he kept them company in London for part of the summer of 1627. By the autumn he was anticipating the calling of another parliament, making preparations to keep Wentworth’s ‘syde warme by the bar agayne’ (Strafford papers, 20/262), and asking his friend to use his influence with Coryton and Seymour to secure him a west country seat in case he should fail in his native county. His letters to Wentworth from the autumn and winter of 1627-8 reveal his hopes for a more moderate stance by the Commons: ‘if the howse doe mete, I pray God send them the discrete mixture of patience and curradge to apply the proper cure to thess bleeding wounds’. What was needed was a more circumspect approach:

The miseryes, or injuryes (call them as you please) fallen upon perticuler persons will not possess them so totally as to make them neglect the prosecution of the whole; save the ship first and then punish the neglect of thoss mariners that brought her into hazard.(Strafford papers, 16/261; 20/262)

Wandesford sat for Thirsk in 1628, through Wentworth’s influence with the Bellasis family. On 5 June, following the king’s demand that the Commons avoid any business that might lay scandal upon the state, he supported the remonstrance with the complaint that ‘we are taxed with puritanism, faction, popularity’ (Johnson, Keeler, and others, 4.124). Throughout the session he played a less prominent role than in 1626, when Wentworth had been absent, but Wentworth’s removal to the Lords before the next session placed Wandesford once again in an important position. On 2 March 1629 he spoke against Holles’s proposal that no merchant be permitted to pay tonnage and poundage, having argued, together with John Pym, for a more moderate approach to the problem.

Wentworth’s appointment as president of the council of the north brought benefits for Wandesford, the first being his restoration to the commission of the peace in December 1628. The following year he was added to the commission of the peace for the West Riding and the northern commission for compounding with recusants, and he was successful in his efforts to replace Sir Thomas Hoby as chief seneschal of the manor of Ripon. In 1630 he was granted further northern offices, including the posts of deputy bailiff of Richmondshire and deputy constable of Richmond and Middleham castles. He was rumoured to have been offered the ambassadorship to Spain in 1630, and to be a candidate for the post of master of the wardrobe in March 1632, but he took up office in Ireland in 1633 following Wentworth’s appointment as lord deputy. Wandesford explained why he had rejected the ‘private and countrey life’ which he recommended to his son:

my Affection to the Person of my Lord Deputy, purposing to attend upon his Lordship as near as I could in all Fortunes, carryed me along with him whithersoever he went . no Hopes, no Promises, indeed, no Assurance of a greater Fortune, could have tempted me from the security of my own Retiredness, but the Comfort I took in his Friendship and Conversation. (Wandesford, 62-3)

Irish official
Wandesford had assisted Wentworth with his personal and political affairs since at least 1620. While living in London during the early 1620s, Wandesford had acted as Wentworth’s ‘ambassadour’ (Wentworth to Wandesford, 30 July 1623, Strafford papers, 2.105), sending him court news and handling his business with Sir Arthur Ingram. Their surviving correspondence reveals the closeness of their friendship: during Wentworth’s imprisonment in 1627 they maintained a ‘wekely discourse’ (Wandesford to Wentworth, 9 Sept 1627, ibid., 16.261) in which they shared their views on political developments. Wandesford was prepared to offer Wentworth frank advice and in July 1628 he informed Wentworth of the generally unfavourable response in the West Riding to his elevation to the peerage. By the early 1630s he regularly conveyed messages to Wentworth from the lord treasurer, Weston, and waited on Wentworth’s other political contacts at court. Wandesford and Radcliffe formed the core of the team that Wentworth assembled in Dublin, and their devoted and capable service was emphasized by Wentworth in his reports to his political allies and colleagues.

Wandesford was sworn of the Irish privy council on 25 July 1633. He had already been granted the mastership of the rolls in Ireland on 17 May, initially for the duration of Wentworth’s deputyship, a restriction that might suggest that the king initially harboured doubts about a man who had been instrumental in the attempted impeachment of Buckingham. In March 1634, however, the post was granted to him for life. Also in 1634 Wandesford was appointed to a small committee established to examine alleged exactions by Irish office-holders, and his seat on the court of castle chamber assisted Wentworth in his efforts to control all organs of government. In the 1634-5 parliament Wandesford was MP for Kildare, after Richard Boyle, earl of Cork, declined to secure him one of the seats that he controlled. Wandesford accompanied Wentworth to Connaught in 1635 during the lord deputy’s preparations for plantation, and he served as one of the lords justices during Wentworth’s two visits to England: in 1636, with Viscount Loftus, and in 1639, with Lord Dillon. He assisted the earl of Ormond in his land dispute with Sir Thomas Butler, and enjoyed good relations with John Bramhall, bishop of Derry, whose living of Elvington lay close to Kirklington. His letters to Bramhall of the late 1630s show him to have become apprehensive about the growing crisis in Scotland and its impact on the other Stuart kingdoms.

It would seem likely that Wandesford, as well as Radcliffe, was offered a knighthood in 1633, and his refusal might, as Comber suggested, have been prompted by consideration of his financial situation. Unlike Radcliffe, he did not buy into the Irish customs farm, and he seems to have relied on the profitable mastership of the rolls to purchase and invest an Irish estate. Following his death, the king issued instructions that fees payable to Irish officers be reduced and the mastership was given particular emphasis. In 1635 Wandesford bought an estate in the Naas, co. Kildare, where, during the autumn of 1636, he completed his Book of Instructions for his son, not published until 1777. In 1637, having sold the land to Wentworth, Wandesford acquired Castlecomer and 20,000 acres of largely undeveloped land in Idough, co. Kilkenny, known as ‘Brennan’s country’, where he rebuilt the house, built a market town, planted woods, and founded collieries and a forge. The expulsion of the Brennans appears to have troubled Wandesford, as his will included an offer of compensation. Their claim was, however, quashed by decree in 1695 following their support for the Jacobite cause.
Lord deputy, death, and descendants

Wandesford was elected MP for Kildare again in 1640. He was then appointed lord deputy on 1 April 1640, following Wentworth’s elevation to the lieutenancy in January and an apparently successful parliamentary session in March during which four subsidies were voted. According to Comber, Wandesford was granted the titles Baron Mowbray and Musters and Viscount Castlecomer on his appointment as lord deputy, a mark of honour that he rejected with the remark ‘Is it a fit Time for a faithful Subject to appear higher than usual when the King, the Fountain of Honours, is likely to be reduced lower than ever?’ (Comber, 121-2). Wandesford’s term in office was short and unpleasant. Parliament reassembled in June and he was forced to allow writs to be sent to the seven boroughs deprived of representation by Wentworth in 1635, leading to increased Old English representation in the Commons. His attempts to secure legislation confirming the plantation of Connaught failed when the bill was apparently dropped. On 13 June he was not able to prevent the Commons from rejecting the new method by which the subsidies were to be levied. In these actions Old English representatives evidently received a measure of support from protestant members. Wandesford’s letter to Radcliffe, dated 12 June, expressed his anxiety at the combination of ‘the Irish’ with ‘those of our owne partye (as we call them)’ (Whitaker, Life, 249-50): the willingness of protestant members to entrust matters to committees on which Catholics were in the majority suggests a degree of co-operation against the administration. The lord deputy could not count on the assistance of the whole council: the absence of some on military duties was not helpful, but the remaining councillors failed to support the government wholeheartedly. Wandesford could find few to praise in his report to Radcliffe.

Parliament reassembled on 1 October and proved no less difficult to manage than it had been in June. Wandesford’s need to finance the Irish army left him with little choice but to hold parliament. He attempted to recover some of the ground lost in June in his refusal to send writs to the disputed boroughs, but the Commons put in place a new method of assessment for the three subsidies yet to be collected that would reduce their yield from an anticipated ?45,000 to about ?12,000 each. The orders of 20 October and 11 November on this matter were torn out of the Commons’ journal by the lord deputy on the instructions of the king. Wandesford failed to prevent the house from passing the petition of remonstrance against Wentworth’s administration and naming a committee to present it to the king. He prorogued parliament on 12 November and ordered the committee to remain in Ireland, but the privy council’s removal of travel restrictions between the two countries enabled the committee to take the remonstrance to England. Wandesford appears to have had a very pleasant personality, lacking the abrasive, intimidatory characteristics possessed by Wentworth. In November 1640 Wentworth thought it necessary to insist, through Radcliffe, that Wandesford’s ‘old rule of moderate counsells will not serve his turne in cases of this extreamity; to be a fine, well-natured gentleman will not doe it’ (Whitaker, Life, 221). The same month Wandesford learned of Wentworth’s imprisonment, and before the end of November he was seriously ill of a fever. He died at Dublin on 3 December 1640 and was buried there, in Christ Church, seven days later. His funeral sermon was preached by Bramhall, one of the executors of his will. According to his daughter, the Irish ‘did sett up their lamentable hone, as they call it, for him in the church, which was never knowne before for any Englishman don’ (Autobiography of Mrs Alice Thornton, 26).

Wandesford was survived by his wife who died on 10 December 1659. Their third son, Christopher (b. 1628), was created a baronet on 5 August 1662. He married Eleanor, daughter of Sir John Lowther, and was father of Christopher (1656-1707), politician, the second baronet, later created Viscount Castlecomer, who married Elizabeth (d. 1731), daughter of the Hon. George Montagu of Horton, Northamptonshire.

Their eldest son, Christopher Wandesford, second Viscount Castlecomer (bap. 1684, d. 1719), politician and government official, was baptized at St Margaret’s, Westminster, on 2 March 1684. He was MP for St Canice in the Irish parliament in 1707 before succeeding to the peerage on the death of his father on 15 September 1707. He was appointed an Irish privy councillor in 1710 but then pursued a political career in England, sitting for Morpeth as a whig in 1710-13, and for Ripon from 1715 until his death. In 1713, with his brother-in-law Lord Newcastle and others, he founded the Hanover Club, and in May that year he spoke in parliament against a commercial clause of the treaty of Utrecht. In October 1714 George I appointed him a privy councillor and gave him the governorship of Kilkenny in September 1715. On 31 May 1715 he married the Hon. Frances, daughter of Thomas Pelham, first Baron Pelham, and their only child, Christopher, third Viscount Castlecomer, was born in 1717. He died at Newport Street, London, on 23 June 1719. His wife survived him, dying on 27 June 1756.

Fiona Pogson

Sources ??DNB ? C. Wandesford, A book of instructions (1777) ? T. Comber, Memoirs of the life and death of the lord deputy Wandesford (1778) ? The autobiography of Mrs Alice Thornton, ed. [C. Jackson], SurtS, 62 (1875) ? Strafford papers, Sheff. Arch., Wentworth Woodhouse muniments, vols. 2, 12, 16 ? J. P. Cooper, ed., Wentworth papers, 1597-1628, CS, 4th ser., 12 (1973) ? H. B. McCall, The story of the family of Kirklington and Castlecomer (1904) ? T. D. Whitaker, ed., The life and original correspondence of Sir George Radcliffe (1810) ? T. D. Whitaker, A history of Richmondshire, 2 vols. (1823), vol. 2 ? J. K. Gruenfelder, ‘The electoral patronage of Sir Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, 1614-1640’, Journal of Modern History, 49 (1977), 557-74 ? M. Jansson and W. B. Bidwell, eds., Proceedings in parliament, 1625 (1987) ? W. B. Bidwell and M. Jansson, eds., Proceedings in parliament, 1626, 2-3: House of Commons (1992), vols. 2-3 ? R. C. Johnson and others, eds., Commons debates, 1628, 6 vols. (1977-83), vols. 2-4 ? C. Thompson, ‘The divided leadership of the House of Commons in 1629’, Faction and parliament, ed. K. Sharpe (1985), 245-84 ? R. P. Cust, The forced loan and English politics, 1626-1628 (1987) ? R. Cust, ‘Wentworth’s “change of sides” in the 1620s’, The political world of Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford, 1621-1641, ed. J. F. Merritt (1996), 63-80 ? C. Russell, Parliaments and English politics, 1621-1629 (1979) ? GEC, Peerage, new edn ? E. Cruickshanks and R. D. Harrison, ‘Wandesford, Christopher’, HoP, Commons, 1690-1715, 5.790-91 ? TNA: PRO, C 231/4; C 231/5 ? J. Foster, The register of admissions to Gray’s Inn, 1521-1889, together with the register of marriages in Gray’s Inn chapel, 1695-1754 (privately printed, London, 1889) ? Venn, Alum. Cant. ? Rymer, Foedera, 3rd edn, vol. 8 ? H. Kearney, Strafford in Ireland, 2nd edn (1989) ? J. T. Cliffe, The Yorkshire gentry from the Reformation to the civil war (1969) ? CSP dom., 1631-3 ? CSP Ire., 1633-47 ? J. Lodge, The peerage of Ireland, 4 vols. (1754), vol. 3 ? TNA: PRO, SP 16/214/64 ? The journals of the House of Commons of the kingdom of Ireland (1796), vol. 1 ? P. Roebuck, Yorkshire baronets, 1640-1760 (1980) ? G. E. Aylmer, The king’s servants: the civil service of Charles I, 1625-1642 (1961) ? Report on manuscripts in various collections, 8 vols., HMC, 55 (1901-14), vol. 3 ? Calendar of the manuscripts of the marquess of Ormonde, new ser., 8 vols., HMC, 36 (1902-20), vols. 1-2 ? [T. Carte], The life of James, duke of Ormond, new edn, 6 vols. (1851), vol. 5 ? E. Rawdon, ed., The Rawdon papers (1819) ? B. Williams, Carteret and Newcastle (1966) ? The Wentworth papers, 1705-1739, ed. J. J. Cartwright (1883)
Archives ??Bodl. Oxf., letters to Sir George Radcliffe, MS Add. C. 286 [copies] ? NL Ire., corresp. with Ormonde ? Sheff. Arch., Wentworth Woodhouse Muniments, Strafford papers, corresp. with Thomas Wentworth
Likenesses ??portrait, exh. 1868; in possession of Alice Comber, 1904 ? G. P. Harding, watercolour drawing (after portrait, 1630), NPG ? portrait; in possession of Christopher, first Viscount Castlecomer, 1904
Wealth at death ??Yorkshire estate rent roll ?1060 p.a. by 1640; Irish estate worth several thousand pounds p.a.; Wandesford’s steward claimed that between Nov 1641 and April 1642 estate lost ?4000 in rents and rent arrears, plus ?3000 in goods and debts: Cliffe, Yorkshire gentry, 44; Lodge, Peerage of Ireland, 198

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