GRANVILLE, John (1628-1701)

GRANVILLE (GRENVILLE), John (1628–1701)

cr. 20 Apr. 1661 earl of BATH

First sat 8 May 1661; last sat 17 June 1701

b. 29 Aug. 1628, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Bevill Grenville and Grace, da. of Sir George Smyth(e) of Madford, Heavitree, Devon; bro. of Bernard Granville; nephew of Sir Richard Grenville; fa. of John Granville, later Bar. Granville of Potheridge, uncle of Sir Bevill, George, and Bernard Granville. educ. unknown. m. c. Oct. 1652, Jane, da. of Sir Peter Wych(e), merchant and comptroller of the royal household, of London, and Jane, da. of Sir William Meredith; 5s. (3 d.v.p.), 11da. (8 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 5 July 1643. d. 22 Aug. 1701; will 11 Oct. 1684–15 Aug. 1701, disputed.1

Gent. of the bedchamber to Charles, prince of Wales, 1645–60; groom of the stole 1660–85; kpr. of St James’s Palace, 1660–d.; PC 1663.

Ld. lt. Ireland 1665, Cornwall 1660–91, 1693–6, jt. 1691–3, Devon 1670–5, 1685–91, 1693–6, jt. 1691–3; warden of the stannaries 1660–d.; steward, duchy of Cornwall 1661–?, Bradninch, 1661–?; rider and master forester of Dartmoor 1661–?; recorder, Launceston 1682–?;2 commr. wine licences 1661–?.

Gov. Scilly Isles ?1645–51, 1689–1700, Plymouth 1661–96, Pendennis 1680–96,; col. regt. of ft. 1685–8, 1689–93.

Associated with: Stowe, Kilkhampton, Cornwall, and St James’s Palace, Westminster.

A legacy of debt

John Granville, earl of Bath, served as a member of the House of Lords for 40 years. Throughout that time he was a significant figure in local and national politics yet an effective assessment of his career is extremely difficult because of the almost total loss of his family papers. Documentary material is particularly rare for the period when Bath’s influence was at its height, that is to say, during the reign of Charles II. Within ten years of his death, his dynasty had failed and what was left of his estate passed through the female line to the Carteret family. Granville’s financial legacy was, to say the least, a tangled one in which allegations of fraud and forgery were never far away. His political legacy involved suspicions of a growing rapprochement with the exiled James II, which were reinforced by the activities of his Jacobite brother Denis (sometime dean of Durham) and by the outspoken ‘country’ party sympathies of his younger son, John. The family’s Jacobitism was seemingly later confirmed by the activities of his nephew George, later Baron Lansdown. It is tempting to speculate whether any or all of these factors contributed to a deliberate decision to destroy the family papers, yet it is equally possible that the destruction was carried out as an unthinking consequential effect of the demolition of the family mansion in the 1720s. A few of Bath’s key papers do however survive among those of the family of the dukes of Grafton.

The Grenvilles had been established in Kilkhampton since the thirteenth century. Despite claims of Norman aristocratic ancestry the family were ranked as no more than minor gentry. In the early seventeenth century they were proud to bask in the military glory won by their Elizabethan ancestor, Sir Richard Grenville of the Revenge, but the lustre was wearing decidedly thin. By the mid-1620s Sir Bevil Grenville was so deeply in debt that he sought election to Parliament as part of a strategy to protect himself.3 Even so he was forced to enter into a debt trust in 1639 to pacify his creditors; at that time he owed some £20,000.4 At the outbreak of the civil wars he fought for the king and revived the family fame by his heroic death at the battle of Lansdown.

The young John Granville’s inheritance was thus heavily encumbered. His financial problems were further compounded by Parliament’s attempts to sequestrate the Granville estate, but his own decision to fight for the royalist cause then worked in his favour. In 1651, when he relinquished the Scilly Isles to parliamentarian forces, the articles of surrender contained, inter alia, a provision protecting his estates from sequestration.5 The terms of the agreement permitted him to join the king in exile but he chose instead to return to England, where he contracted an advantageous marriage and divided his energies between royalist plotting and attempts to wrest possession of the patrimonial estate from his father’s creditors.

The surviving documentation from his various legal actions paints a picture of an unscrupulous individual who, backed by a network of kinsmen and allies in the West Country, including John Arundell of Trerice (father of Richard Arundell, later Baron Arundell of Trerice) and Peter Prideaux, was prepared to use any means to attain his objectives. The allegations against him included claims that he had repossessed lands that had been mortgaged or sold by his father by producing fraudulent deeds to establish that Sir Bevil had acted illegally. He was also alleged to have threatened to rig criminal charges against some of his opponents and to have used his soldiers and threats of actual force against others.6 In the years after the Restoration he proved to be as ruthless with his own creditors as with those of his father.7 It is perhaps also noteworthy that after the Restoration both his brothers (Denis and Bernard) found themselves in similar financial difficulty and embroiled in what appears to have been largely vexatious litigation.

Restoration and the rewards of loyalty

Only two years’ older than Charles II, with shared interests and perhaps also shared grief and anger at losing a father at a young age, Granville and Charles II seem to have become close friends. The young king’s surviving letters to Granville are informal, sometimes written in his own hand and close with the phrase ‘your affectionate [occasionally “very affectionate”] friend’. From as early as November 1649 the new king promised Granville that his absence from the exiled court would never prejudice his interests, and subsequent letters include promises of future rewards ‘on any seasonable occasion that may manifest your deserts and the esteem and kindness I have for you’.8

In the summer of 1659 Granville became involved in negotiations with George Monck, the future duke of Albemarle, about the possibility of restoring the king. Monck was Granville’s cousin (their mothers were sisters) and had reason to be grateful to the Granville family. Granville’s uncle, Sir Richard Grenville, had rescued him as a youth from a charge of murder and had fostered his early military career; John Granville had presented the general’s younger brother Nicholas Monck, later bishop of Hereford, to the rich living of Kilkhampton. John Granville, his younger brother Bernard Granville, and Nicholas Monck were all involved in the negotiations that led to the Restoration but it was John Granville who was entrusted with the king’s commission to treat with Monck and who gained most credit for the success of the negotiations, together with renewed promises of recompense ‘suitable to your desires’.9

That Granville was to be created earl of Bath was already well known before the king’s return to England. Early in April 1660 he was promised an earldom, along with payment of his debts, the office of groom of the stole, and an estate worth at least £3,000 a year. A number of letters, including one from the king himself, referred to him as Lord Bath long before the letters patent were sealed in April 1661.10 Almost immediately afterwards he received a potentially lucrative commission to compound with those who had obtained goods, jewels, and money owing to the crown during the interregnum.11 He received other rewards and also benefited from the ability to act as middleman for individuals seeking office or other valuable grants. In the late summer of 1660, for example, he was instrumental in securing a grant to publish lotteries for Sir Edward Ford and Robert Yarway, in return for which he was to be paid his expenses and receive half the profits.12

More significantly, Bath received two royal warrants. That of April 1661 recognized his (probably false) claim to descent from Rollo, duke of Normandy, and hence to kinship with the king. Two of the ancestors so claimed included Hamon Dentatus, earl of Corbeil and lord of Thorigny and Granville in Normandy, and Robert Fitzhamon, lord of Gloucester and Glamorgan. Bath’s desire to emphasize his family’s Norman ancestry appears to have been behind the decision to encourage the use of the name Granville instead of Grenville or Greenville both as a surname and as a peerage title. The warrant went on to promise that should the earldom of Glamorgan become available during Charles II’s lifetime it would be conferred on Bath and that in the meantime Bath and his heirs could use the titles of Corbeil, Thorigny, and Granville. The second warrant, issued in December 1661, stated that Bath and his father had ruined the family estate by contracting debts in the royalist cause and that the king accepted that £25,000 of these debts should be recognized as public debts. Additionally, in recognition of Bath’s services towards the Restoration he was, as previously promised, to be given an estate (or pension in lieu) worth £3,000 a year.13 A further £1,000 a year was to be paid in silver plate as his salary as groom of the stole. Bath calculated that he was to receive a total of £5,000 a year over and above diet and board wages for this post, although, as he would soon discover, in practice the king’s revenues were insufficient to ensure regular payment and the arrears steadily grew. Finally, he was entitled to an annual fee of £1,022 as governor of Plymouth.14 Bath’s claims to such lavish rewards were backed by Albemarle, with whom he formed a close alliance.

The promise of financial rewards was accompanied by a number of key appointments in the government of the West Country, enabling him to build a formidable power base there. In so doing he provided the court with a reliable ally in an area notorious for religious Dissent and parliamentarian politics, as well as with a capable military commander to oversee a strategically important (and vulnerable) coastline. As warden of the stannaries he played a crucial role in negotiating the potentially profitable pre-emption of tin. He also enjoyed a powerful position at court, where as groom of the stole and first gentleman of the bedchamber he had ready access to the person of the king. His standing with the royal family must have been enhanced still further by his wife’s appointment in June 1663 as one of the ladies-in-waiting to Charles II’s new queen.15 His sister-in-law, Lady Isabella Wyche, became a dresser in ordinary to the queen in or about autumn 1675.16

Parliamentary life and West Country magnate, 1661–7

Bath took his seat at the opening of the 1661–2 session and was present for some 67 per cent of sitting days. He was named to the committees for privileges and petitions and to 17 other committees. Some of the bills considered by these committees were of obvious personal or local interest, such as Albemarle’s bill, the bill for distribution of money to loyal commissioned officers, and those for the duchy of Cornwall and the pilchard fisheries in Devon and Cornwall. Others, such as the two bills for Westminster streets, may have reflected interests acquired as a result of Bath’s appointment (for life) as keeper of St James’s Palace. A number of the bills dealt with the aftermath of the civil wars and interregnum, such as that for reversing Strafford’s attainder, the restoration of the lands of Charles Stanley, 8th earl of Derby, and the repeal of acts passed by the Long Parliament after 1640. Others reflected Bath’s position both as a courtier and as a significant figure in the defence of the new regime: these included the committee to draw an address to the king for communicating his intention to marry, the committee to consider the Quakers’ petition, and the militia bill. On 24 May he was added to the committee for the preservation of the king’s person which had been named earlier that day, suggesting that he had perhaps arrived late to the sitting.

The destruction of the family papers makes it difficult to be absolutely sure that he had a working partnership with his various kinsmen and dependants in the Commons but the parliamentary activities of his brother Bernard Granville and his brother-in-law Sir Cyril Wyche are certainly suggestive of a productive family alliance.17 It is likely that Bath had similarly close political relationships with other West Country members, including Peter Prideaux (married to Bath’s sister), Thomas Higgons (married to another sister), and his more distant kinsman Sir James Smyth. The Granville family were also closely associated with Sir William Morice, to whom there was probably a family link via Albemarle and the extensive Prideaux clan.

Bath’s attendance fell markedly during the 1663 session, when he was present on only 40 per cent of sitting days. He did not take his seat until 23 Mar. 1663, a month after the session had begun. He spent his time instead in the West Country, where he had invested much time and effort settling the affairs of the tinners and organizing the militia, tasks that he considered essential in ‘a county so full of disaffection’. He was particularly proud of his work with the tinners, claiming that he had recovered revenues of £12,000 for the crown that had been ‘lost many years’ and, despite the rewards he had already received, was anxious for more.18 He was absent from Parliament on 1 July when George Digby, 2nd earl of Bristol, launched his attack on Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, and his intentions are made no clearer by his appearance on the notorious list compiled by Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton, as both a supporter and an opponent of the chancellor. It seems likely that Bath opposed Clarendon. His uncle, Sir Richard Grenville, had been at loggerheads with Clarendon during the interregnum, and Bath had a close personal and political relationship with Albemarle, who is known to have disliked Clarendon. Equally it seems unlikely that, as a courtier, Bath would have openly opposed Clarendon at this stage. Albemarle’s intentions towards Clarendon at this time are also obscure.

Bath was present almost every day of the short spring 1664 session and was appointed to three committees. It is a telling mark of the importance of his position at court that in the summer of 1664 he was specifically exempted from the consequences of the king’s order to suspend payments of pensions.19 During the 1664–5 session he was present for 65 per cent of sitting days and was named to committees on three bills, including one for the sale of lands in Devon by Sir Edward Hungerford. He held the proxy of Mildmay Fane, 2nd earl of Westmorland, from December 1664 but there is no indication that this was for any specific purpose. Westmorland was probably infirm: his last attendance in the House was on 17 May 1664 and he died in February 1666. Bath also held the proxy of his fellow civil-war conspirator John Mordaunt, Viscount Mordaunt, from December until it was vacated by Mordaunt’s attendance on 20 Jan. 1665; again there is no indication that it was to be used for any specific item of business.

Despite the rewards he had already received, Bath was keen for more. In the summer of 1665 he used Albemarle as go-between in an attempt to secure the keepership of the privy purse. Although Albemarle declared that he would be ‘much troubled’ by a refusal of the request, Bath lost out to Baptist May, who commanded a still more influential patron – the king’s mistress, Lady Castlemaine.20 Bath missed the brief October 1665 session altogether, probably because he was still in the west country, where he had been sent by the king in September 1665 to secure the peace of the region.21 Between sessions, he was one of the peers who acquitted Thomas Parker, 15th Baron Morley, after he was tried for murder in the court of the lord high steward in April 1666.22 By July 1666 he was back in Devon (where he was by now deputizing for the ailing Albemarle as lord lieutenant) in order to ensure that defensive preparations against the Dutch were in hand, and securing the election in September 1666 of Sir Gilbert Talbot to represent Plymouth.23

During the troubled 1666–7 session Bath was present on nearly 63 per cent of sitting days and was named to seven committees, including bills on the coinage and for the rebuilding of London. On 23 Jan. 1667 he entered a protest over the failure to allow for an appeal to the House of Lords in the bill creating the fire court. At court he was pursuing his arrears. Neither the £25,000 nor the £3,000 a year promised him in 1661 had yet materialized. He settled instead for payments of £5,000 a year towards the £25,000 capital sum and interest.24 He acted as intermediary to promote a reconciliation between the king and Charles Stuart, 3rd duke of Richmond, after the latter’s rash marriage to ‘La Belle Stewart’ in April 1667. That same month also provides a glimpse into Bath’s problems at court, where he was at odds, perhaps for a second time, with the grooms of the bedchamber over rights to the king’s linen.25 By the summer he had once again returned to Plymouth to take personal command of the defences along the coast.26 It was at this point that Albemarle, preparing to go to sea, petitioned the king for a reversion of his dukedom to Bath:

in regard that your petitioner is grown old, and having only one son under age who may not live to have issue, your petitioner intends for failure thereof to settle all the crown lands granted by your majesty to your petitioner in fee simple upon his near and most deserving kinsman John earl of Bath, whom your petitioner hath chosen in that case to inherit his estate, and doth most humbly recommend unto your majesty to enjoy his titles of honour rather than any other of his kindred, not only for being his near relation in blood and the most deserving but more particularly for his late personal merit in conjunction with your petitioner for your majesty’s most happy restoration, wherein the said earl of Bath was intrusted alone by your majesty to treat and conclude with your petitioner about those important affairs, which he did most faithfully perform with so much hazard, courage, secrecy and prudent conduct, as was requisite in those dangerous times for carrying on that great work …27

A week later the king issued a warrant under his signature promising ‘upon the word of a king’ to confer both the crown lands (especially Theobalds Park) awarded to Albemarle and the Albemarle dukedom on Bath in case of failure of male heirs and exhorting his successors to honour the undertaking.28

The deteriorating political situation led at least one observer to suggest that Bath was ‘not a little pleased with this disgrace of my lord chancellor’.29 During the ensuing (1667–8) session he attended on 80 per cent of sitting days. He held the proxy of Francis Talbot, 11th earl of Shrewsbury, from 12 Oct. and that of Christopher Hatton, Baron Hatton, from 27 November. On 20 Nov. 1667 he followed Albemarle and George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, in signing a protest against the refusal of the House of Lords to agree with the Commons over the commitment of Clarendon on a general charge. He was named to ten committees, including subjects of national importance such as Clarendon’s banishment and public accounts, as well as of personal interest, such as the bill to permit John Cosin, bishop of Durham, to lease lead mines. Bath’s younger brother, Denis Granville, was not only archdeacon (later dean) of Durham but was also married to Cosin’s younger daughter.

Parliamentary life and west country magnate,1668-85

The financial crisis caused by war made Bath’s position as warden of the stannaries even more important, with the result that during the second half of 1668 through into the spring of 1669 much of his time was taken up acting as an intermediary between government and tinners during negotiations over the pre-emption of tin.30 Shortly after the end of the session, in April 1669, he negotiated the marriage of his eldest daughter, Jane, to William Gower (later Leveson-Gower).31 The match provides further indications of Bath’s attitude to Clarendon. His new son-in-law’s father, Sir Thomas Gower, had been involved in a number of activities such as the commission on public accounts and the enquiry into the miscarriages of the war, suggestive of enmity to Clarendon.

By May 1669 Bath’s arrears of salary as groom of the stole and first gentleman of the bedchamber had reached £7,250 and new arrangements were made to ensure payment. Continuing discussions of the arrears suggest that these new arrangements were not entirely successful: although the arrears had been reduced to £5,250 by the following May, by July 1670 they had risen to £7,250 again.32 Bath’s financial situation may have been the more pressing as the marriage of Jane to Leveson-Gower had taken place the previous month and Bath had agreed to settle £1,800 a year on her.33 That same month he joined Charles Gerard, Baron Gerard of Brandon, and Sir Gilbert Taylor in petitioning for lands in Denbighshire and Flintshire that might be reclaimed by navigation works on the River Dee.34

When Parliament reconvened for the short session of autumn of 1669 Bath was present on 72 per cent of sitting days. His friend and patron Albemarle was by this time a very sick man; he died early in January 1670. The king immediately selected Bath as the person to inform the young Christopher Monck, 2nd duke of Albemarle, that he was to be invested with his father’s vacant garter.35 Bath was also appointed lord lieutenant of Devon during Albemarle’s minority. The death of the duchess soon after left Albemarle an orphan so that Bath, together with Albemarle’s maternal uncle Sir Thomas Clarges, now became responsible for the welfare of the teenage duke – a responsibility that included oversight of the Albemarle fortune, which was valued at some £22,000 a year.36 Although Bath was clearly a court supporter his precise position in the factional kaleidoscope of court politics in the years immediately after the death of the 1st duke of Albemarle is difficult to determine. By 1676–7 he was firmly in the orbit of Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby (later duke of Leeds), but the speed with which he adopted that trajectory remains uncertain.

Bath was present on nearly every day of the first part of the 1670–1 session, last attending on 11 Apr. 1670 – the day on which the Roos divorce received the royal assent. During this period, in what seems to have been a deliberate action, he collected proxies, holding that of James Howard, 3rd earl of Suffolk, from 15 Mar. and that of Aubrey de Vere, 20th earl of Oxford, from 2 April. Towards the end of March 1670 he was also offered that of Richard Vaughan, who sat in the House as Baron Vaughan but was better known by his Irish title as earl of Carbery. Bath appears to have declined it with the excuse that he would be detained at Plymouth and unable to use it.37 Unless there is an error in the dating this was clearly untrue since Bath was in London in March 1670; it seems more likely that he knew he would receive Oxford’s proxy and be unable to accept another but did not wish to give offence by an outright refusal. Presumably the proxies were for use in connection with the controversial business of the session – conventicles, supply, union with Scotland, and the Roos divorce – but we have no indication of the way in which they were to be employed.

During that spring Bath was named to seven committees, including those on the Roos divorce and the projected union with Scotland. He was absent from the House for the remainder of the session, which did not end until April 1671. Scattered references suggest that that he spent much of that period in the west country tending to the defences there.38 He was even absent for the passage of the Albemarle estates bill and had to send in written confirmation of his willingness to become one of the young duke’s trustees.39 From March 1671 he covered his absence by entering a proxy in favour of John Belasyse, Baron Belasyse.

In May 1671 Bath was back in the London area; it was reported that he was to take part in a garter investiture ceremony at Windsor where he would stand in for the duke of Saxony.40 He did not stay long. By July he was once again back in the west country, making elaborate preparations for a visit to and inspection of the fortifications there by the king. The entertainment was lavish and expensive. Bath

entertained his majesty with all his officers and followers in the citadel at his own cost, and also kept a table in the town … where his lordship entertained the duke of Monmouth, the marquess of Blanquefort [i.e. Louis de Duras, later 2nd earl of Feversham], with many others of the nobility, having provided all things in very great plenty to entertain his majesty with all the nobility and persons of quality, and giving money to all his majesty’s inferior officers at their departure.

In return, the king bolstered Bath’s position still further by promising his royal favour to the corporation.41 Bath was also the recipient of other marks of royal favour: he was one of a very small group of individuals whose pension was specifically exempted from the stop of the exchequer.42 He probably continued to divide his time between London and the west country; he was supervising building works at Plymouth in September 1671 but was in London when he attended the prorogation days at the House on 16 Apr. and 30 Oct. 1672.43 In August 1672 he and his heirs were also awarded in perpetuity an annual pension of £3,000.44

When Parliament reconvened in 1673, Bath was present for almost every day of the session. He was also once again involved in difficult discussions with the tinners, whose demands for what Danby considered an ‘unreasonable price’ meant that negotiations continued well into December 1674.45 He held the proxies of Charles Fane, 3rd earl of Westmorland, and Edward Conway, 3rd Viscount (later earl of) Conway, from 12 and 22 Feb. 1673 respectively. In keeping with the Test Act he took the sacrament together with other leading courtiers in a somewhat ostentatious public ceremony on the Sunday before Easter 1673.46 In June 1673, together with Francis Hawley, Baron Hawley [I], he became trustee for the pension of £1,000 from the aulnage awarded to the recently widowed Frances Stewart, duchess of Richmond. As such he gained additional patronage through his control over the actions of the officers and collectors of the aulnage.47

Bath was present for all four days of the autumn 1673 session. He continued his high attendance through the 1674 session and both those of 1675, not missing a single day. He held the proxy of James Bertie, 5th Baron Norreys (later earl of Abingdon), for both sessions of 1675 as well as that of William Ley, 4th earl of Marlborough, from 12 May 1675, re-entered on 14 Oct. 1675. During the 1674 session he was named to five committees to consider legislation, including one for the estates of the underage Charles Cornwallis, 3rd Baron Cornwallis, and (somewhat ironically, given allegations about his future activities over the Albemarle inheritance) one for the prevention of frauds and perjuries. On 16 Feb. he was also named to a committee to consider a master and servant bill which was specifically asked to consider adding a clause regulating ‘in what manner, and upon what terms, slaves, either blacks or any other foreigners, not being Christians, may be used in England’. As one of the trustees for Albemarle, who had inherited his father’s role as one of the proprietors of Carolina, Bath may well have had a personal interest in slavery and in the contentious issue of whether slavery could be said to exist in England. However the committee seems never to have met and details about just what such an amendment might have been expected to achieve and who had promoted it remain tantalizingly elusive. Bath was also named as one of the mediators between the Hamburg Company and its creditors. During the first session of 1675 he was named to seven committees. Two forecasts for divisions confirm that, as one might expect, his political allegiances were to Danby and the court. In April he was listed as a supporter of the non-resisting test and in November he opposed making an address to the crown requesting a dissolution. During the second session he was named to the committee for privileges.

Throughout this period Bath continued to act as the hinge between central and local government, representing the interests and claims of individuals and corporations in the west country to the crown. His involvement in west country patronage and politics continued even after 1675, when Albemarle reached his majority and assumed the lord lieutenancy of Devon in his own right. Bath also looked to the interests of his own family. In December 1674 he obtained a promise from the king that his brother Denis would be promoted to the deanery of Durham.48 Meanwhile, by January 1675 plans were well advanced for the marriage of his youngest daughter, Grace, to George Carteret, the future Baron Carteret. Grace Granville was six years old; her new husband only two years older.49 The marriage confirmed the close alliance between Granville and his fellow courtier and old royalist ally Sir George Carteret. Occasional glimpses of Bath’s correspondence confirm that by this date he was working closely with Danby, keeping him informed of events at court and hoping to cement the alliance by arranging for his son and heir, Charles Granville, then styled Viscount Lansdown (later 2nd earl of Bath), to marry one of Danby’s younger daughters. It was perhaps symptomatic of the high value that Bath put on himself and his dynasty that negotiations initially foundered over Danby’s reluctance to pay the substantial dowry (£10,000) that Bath demanded.50

Bath’s attendance over the troubled sessions between 1677 and the end of 1678 was again high. During the 1677–8 session he missed only three days; he missed another four days during the first session of 1678 and one during the second session of that year. He held proxies from Norreys and also from Charles Howard, 3rd earl of Nottingham, from the beginning of the 1677–8 session; Norreys’ proxy was re-entered in October 1678. He also held those of Robert Bertie, 3rd earl of Lindsey, from 22 Feb. 1677 to 5 Mar. 1677, Thomas Colepeper, 2nd Baron Colepeper, from 14 May 1677 to 15 Jan. 1678, Charles Dormer, 2nd earl of Carnarvon, from 23 Feb. 1678, and James Scott, duke of Monmouth, from 28 Feb. to 11 Mar. 1678.

Predictably, Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, listed Bath as triply vile. During the 1677–8 session he was named to 26 committees, mostly estate bills. He was also named to the committee to trace the author of Some Considerations upon the Question, Whether the Parliament is Dissolved by Prorogation for Fifteen Months. Only one bill (that for the stannaries) was of obvious personal interest to him. During the first session of 1678 he was named to four committees, one of which concerned his west country neighbour Sir John Weld. Another, for boats carrying coals, might also have been of personal interest as Denis Granville had a financial interest in coal mines. Bath was not named as one of the original members of a fifth committee – that concerning the unlawful killing of deer – but was added later, which suggests that this too may have been a subject in which he was interested. On 4 Apr. 1678 he voted Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke, guilty of manslaughter. During the second session of 1678 he was named to five committees whose business was related to the growing fears of a popish plot; he was also named to the committees for privileges and petitions.

In June 1678 Bath entered a protest against the decision to proceed on the claim of Robert Danvers alias Villiers to the title of Viscount Purbeck, arguing that it was impossible ‘upon complicated and accumulative questions [to] give a resolution; nor hath the practice been so, but upon the case agreed, or single propositions, except where the House is unanimous in judgment; whereas in this cause they appear yet much divided’. Also that year he was summoned as one of the peers to sit in the court of the lord high steward for the Cornwallis trial; along with the majority of his fellow lords triers, and in the face of the evidence, he found Cornwallis not guilty.51

In November 1678 in a committee of the whole considering the Test, Bath voted against making the declaration against transubstantiation attract the same penalty as the oaths. On 20 Dec. he was one of those named to draw up arguments for the conference on disbanding the forces. This was a matter in which as the commander of a military garrison he had both a personal and a professional interest. That day the House went into committee and agreed extensive amendments to the bill, including changes that specifically exempted troops at Bath’s garrison in Plymouth and at Pendennis (commanded by Bath’s political ally and neighbour, Arundell of Trerice) as long as they had been recruited before 29 Sept. 1677. He was not named to the subsequent conference to discuss the amendments, possibly because the provisions regarding Plymouth and Pendennis were not matters of controversy. On 26 Dec. he voted in favour of insisting on the Lords’ amendment relating to the payment of money into the exchequer and the following day he voted against the motion to commit Danby.

Bath was present at the opening of the first Exclusion Parliament on 6 Mar. 1679 and was present at five of the six days in the first abortive session. He missed only one day of the 61-day second session, attending 98 per cent of all sitting days. He held the proxy of Edward Clinton, 5th earl of Lincoln, from 2 Apr. 1679 and that of Norreys from 15 Apr. to 24 April. His close relationship with the king was demonstrated by his willingness to obey the king’s instructions to seal Danby’s pardon.52 Two days later Bath carried a message from the king to Danby whereby Danby was instructed to withdraw himself.53 On 27 Mar. Bath was again the messenger who conveyed the king’s commands to Danby. He made it clear that, despite the king’s expressions of support, Danby would be safer ‘the other side of the water’. He added that Danby should be encouraged by the attempt to pass an act of attainder rather than banishment, ‘the said bill being of that nature that it is believed it will very hardly ever pass the Lords house much less the royal assent’.54

Bath was consistently listed by Danby as a supporter and became an important intermediary between Danby and the king, as well as with Danby’s wider network of allies, even to the extent, some said, of perpetuating Danby’s influence in the Privy Council.55 He provided the king with a list of persons to be canvassed in Danby’s favour, campaigned himself on Danby’s behalf, and kept open a correspondence in which each kept the other abreast of developments at court.56 He voted against the attainder on 4 Apr. 1679 and entered dissents on 8 and 14 Apr. to the resolution to include in the heads of a conference a declaration that Danby’s case could not be used as a precedent and the resolution to agree to the Commons’ amendment. Then, on 1 May, he voted against appointing a joint committee with the Commons to consider the method of proceeding against the impeached lords. On 10 May he was named as one of the managers of the conference to consider Danby’s petition and on 14 May he entered a dissent against the passage of the bill to regulate trials of peers. On 27 May he probably voted for the right of the bishops to stay in the House during capital cases.

During the elections for the second Exclusion Parliament, Bath lent his support to Sidney Godolphin, later earl of Godolphin, who was successfully returned for Helston.57 At a by-election in November 1680, his eldest son, styled Viscount Lansdown, was returned for Launceston. From December 1680, Bath held the proxy of John Manners, 9th earl (later duke) of Rutland. Bath’s confidence in his own position and prospects now resulted in a project to rebuild his home at Stowe. The new house was said to be so magnificent that even ‘the kitchen offices, fitted up for a dwelling-house, made no contemptible figure’.58 It is tempting to speculate whether Bath’s decision to rebuild was influenced in any way by his relationship with Albemarle. Although Albemarle was still a young man, his alcoholism meant that he was often ill, his wife was mentally unstable, and their ten-year marriage had not produced any children. As one of Albermarle’s closest male relatives, accorded what seems to have been a free hand over the Albemarle estates, Bath may have been encouraged to embark on an ambitious building programme because he believed that he and his heirs would ultimately inherit the Albemarle fortune. Such a possibility was certainly being talked of by the end of 1684 and Bath probably knew that he was named as the principal heir in a will made by Albemarle in 1675.59 It is perhaps also worth noting that 1680 was the date at which he took control of the estates inherited by his young son-in-law Carteret.60

Despite his close connections to the court, Bath did not know, as late as 13 Oct. 1679, that when Parliament met on 17 Oct. it would immediately be prorogued to the following March.61 His attendance was again exemplary; he missed only two days. On 15 Nov. 1680 he voted to reject the Exclusion bill at its first reading and a week later voted against the appointment of a committee to consider in conjunction with the Commons the state of the kingdom. On 7 Dec. he voted with the minority to find William Howard, Viscount Stafford, not guilty of treason, the only officer of the bedchamber to do so.62 Bath missed the opening day of the Oxford Parliament but was present on all the remaining days. Not surprisingly, given his record, he was expected to support Danby’s attempt to be bailed from the Tower, although in the event he, together with other allies of Danby, allowed the matter to be delayed and then lost at the dissolution on 28 Mar. 1681.

During the subsequent four-year interval before the next Parliament, Bath continued to play a central role in the campaign to free Danby and in the communications between Danby, the court, and the outside world.63 He was one of many loyal courtiers who attended the trial of Fitzharris in June 1681 and he was present to support Danby when his application for bail was rejected by the judges of king’s bench in June 1682.64 Bath was also active in the campaign against the corporations, bringing in a clutch of surrendered charters. He was appointed recorder of Lostwithiel, with the power of appointing the common clerk, under that borough’s new charter in 1682.65 Presumably the charter left the borough insufficiently loyal for another was issued in 1684.66

For almost a year, from 1682 to the spring of 1683, Bath was involved in an unpleasant quarrel at court about the right of access to the king. The quarrel was given just a little more edge because his opponent, Henry Bennet, earl of Arlington, was a politician on the wane and one of Danby’s enemies. Arlington, who was lord chamberlain of the household, complained that he had been refused admission to the bedchamber ‘in a very rude manner’ and had thus been prevented from speaking with the king. Bath, who, as groom of the stole, was in charge of the bedchamber, defended himself by producing a book of rules and orders, supposedly dating from 1661. This incensed Arlington still further, who complained that the rules were ‘never seen before by himself or his predecessors wherein over and above the wrong to the petitioner, as he conceives, in the abridgment of the best part of his privileges and jurisdiction of his office, many other clauses are inserted to the disturbance of the king’s service’.67

Edward Conway, now earl of Conway, somewhat gleefully remarked that he would be ‘very glad to hear that my lord chamberlain gets the better of my lord of Bath’ but the ensuing investigation appears to have found in Bath’s favour. A group of privy councillors declared that the 1661 book of rules that had been confirmed by the king as recently as 1678, and on which Bath relied, did ‘exclude generally all persons whatsoever, except the princes of the blood, and such as are sworn of the bedchamber’. Nevertheless they concluded that the 1661 orders had rarely been implemented and contained items that were ‘unusual and not agreeable to constant practice’.68 It has been argued that Bath was acting with the connivance of the king, who was consciously seeking to restrict access to his person and to distance himself from his subjects.69 Bath also emphasized his right to supervise the pages and other servants of the bedchamber, who were ‘to be sworn to be obedient in all things to the groom of the stole as the chief officer under the king’.70

Almost contemporaneously with this quarrel Bath found himself defending his conduct as trustee for his teenage son-in-law, Carteret. Carteret was still a minor and was abroad on his travels but in his absence his grandmother, acting on his behalf, sought information about the state of his finances, which Bath (the only active trustee) refused to disclose.71 Carefully declaring that Carteret’s trustees were ‘persons of honour worth and integrity’ whose ‘fidelity, sincerity and punctual performance’ was not doubted, she nevertheless took Bath to court in what may have been a collusive action to force the information out of him.72

In Feb. 1684 Bath stood bail for Henry Arundell, 3rd Baron Arundell of Wardour, one of the Catholic peers who had been accused and imprisoned during the Popish Plot scare.73 He continued to be active in securing the surrender of charters and later that year he was appointed recorder of Plymouth for life under that town’s new charter; his brother Bernard, his son Lansdown, his protégé Albemarle, and his friends Arundell of Trerice, Sir Edward Seymour, and the future bishop of Bristol, Jonathan Trelawny, were all appointed burgesses.74

Loyalty under pressure, 1685–8

In February 1685 Bath’s loyalty and friendship for the royal brothers was such that he and Feversham were the only Protestants to be present at the death of Charles II.75 The change in regime also marked a partial eclipse in Bath’s fortunes. Although he regarded the office of groom of the stole as his for life, James II dismissed him and appointed instead his close friend, Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough. In a petition to the new king Bath drew attention to his arrears of pay and the still unpaid debt of £25,000; he also claimed that he had been forced to encumber his estate and that his dismissal from office amounted to such a sign of disfavour that it had encouraged his creditors to become more pressing.76 He was promised that his pension and salaries would be continued at the rate of £5,000 a year and that he would receive compensation for his place and the six years of arrears owed to him. ‘God grant I may see it’ wrote his brother. ‘Otherwise my brother in his old age will be uneasy in his fortune after 40 years’ service.’77 Bath also claimed the dead king’s bed and furniture as a perquisite of office.78

In part it seemed that his loss of influence at court might be compensated for by the growth of his family connection in Parliament. In 1685 his brother Bernard and his older son Charles were joined in the Commons by Bath’s younger son, John, and his nephews. Bath’s local influence remained undiminished. In March 1685 he was appointed recorder of Plympton under the stannary town’s new charter. He and Albemarle also became burgesses.79 He also became recorder of Liskeard, where the list of freemen under the new charter included Bernard Granville, Lansdown, Arundell of Trerice, Jonathan Trelawny, and a host of other well-known loyal courtiers. Bath himself became recorder of at least nine local corporations.80 When Parliament assembled in May 1685 it was said that Bath had brought in 15 charters and had been dubbed as a result the prince elector.81

Bath was absent for two days in the first half of the 1685 session and did not attend at all after 19 June, having left London to assist in the subjugation of Monmouth’s rebellion. By 22 June he was in Exeter organizing the Cornish and Devon militias; he remained there after the capture of Monmouth to deal with the prisoners.82 In August he received notification that he was to be appointed lord lieutenant of Devon, following Albemarle’s resignation. He insisted that he also be appointed custos rotulorum, ‘it being always an occasion of discord when they are divided’.83 The death of Arlington led to rumours that Bath would succeed him as lord chamberlain but these proved inaccurate and Robert Bruce, earl of Ailesbury, was appointed instead.84 Towards the end of October the king instructed Bath to return to London.85 If he did so, he did not attend Parliament, for which he apologized to the king while at the same time asking for payment of the arrears of his pension and remarking that the result of his activities was that ‘The town of Plymouth is now as loyal and dutiful as the garrison.’86

Yet within months there were signs of major disagreement between Bath and the king. Bath, who considered himself an expert on the political and military management of the west country, asked that he be given the command of the standing forces there and that the forces be dispersed to avoid complaints about quartering too many together. On behalf of the king Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland, refused both requests.87 Monmouth’s rebellion had shaken the king’s faith in Albemarle as a military leader and one wonders whether the level of support displayed for Monmouth in the west had also diminished the king’s belief in Bath’s ability to manage the area. Although Sunderland insisted that the king’s reply was in keeping with the rules for other parts of the country, it is difficult not to read an implication of distrust into the response. Bath’s anxiety to keep on good terms with Albemarle perhaps exacerbated this. He ensured that the Devon militia would continue to march ‘under the name and colours of Albemarle’ and told him,

that your power, interest and command in Devonshire is still as fully absolutely in yourself as formerly, and shall ever so remain whilst I am honoured with the commission of lieutenancy, which I shall rejoice, and be always desirous, as once before, to lay at your grace’s feet whensoever you will be pleased with his majesty’s approbation to accept the same …88

In 1686 revelations of irregularities in the tin industry prompted Bath to suggest new elections to a convocation of tinners. Given the difficulties of earlier attempts to come to terms with the tinners, this was an undertaking fraught with difficulty. The rights and customs of the stannaries were a matter of controversy, having been disused since the civil wars. Bath nevertheless claimed to be in no doubt that the stannary towns would ‘elect such loyal sober persons, as would breathe new life into those languishing laws’.89

The actual convocation proved to be something of a mixed blessing. While Bath insisted in November 1686 ‘that no meeting could ever end better that had so ill a prospect of agreement before it met’, he was equally convinced that his authority had been undermined by Jonathan Trelawny, recently appointed bishop of Bristol. Just as Bath had had a long and close attachment to Charles II so the Trelawny family had had a similarly close association with James II. Trelawny owed his elevation to the episcopate to his friendship with the new king and, according to Bath, he flaunted his new influence at court,

insinuating that he had by his interest at court procured the convocation ‘to get them a farm’ and a good price for their tin; on all occasions making use of the lord treasurer’s name and the king’s authority; acting therein contrary to his [Bath’s] commission: which made it very difficult to reconcile all things to the satisfaction of the tinners and convocators, and impossible to mention a less price, as the bishop had so raised their expectations.90

Meanwhile, although Bath’s attitude to the repeal of the Test Act remained determinedly ambiguous (his contemporaries variously listed him as opposed to repeal, supportive of repeal, and undeclared), he was caught up in the king’s new campaign against charters. He managed to persuade several Cornish boroughs by prescription to exchange their ancient rights for chartered ones.91 Early in 1688 he set out for Cornwall to put the three questions, though Roger Morrice for one was convinced that this was against his inclination for ‘there is no men in the kingdom that do more abominate the Protestant Dissenters, nor that have been more severe upon them’.92 Jonathan Trelawny correctly predicted a high level of resistance:

I was glad to find the gentry unanimous for the preserving the Test and our laws and what pleased me as much, resolved to appear in their several corporations and not suffer so many foreigners to be put upon them, as were returned hence by the wheedle of the earl of Bath our lord lieutenant, whom they will attend in a body upon his coming into the country, and with the decency of a complement desire that they themselves may be permitted to serve the king in Parliament, which if his lordship will not yield to, but answer that he has the king’s commands for the return of such as his majesty named to him, the gentry, at least a great part of them will assert their particular pretensions in such boroughs as have dependence upon them, and try whether the earl of Bath will with a high hand turn out such mayors and magistrates as will not comply with his nominations, disoblige the gentry, and endanger the kingdom.93

Early in March 1688 Bath was ‘very joyfully received’ at Exeter but the town’s new charter, granted the same month, sent a chilling message to those most anxious to defend the Anglican Church. It provided a model for the charters that followed, containing clauses that empowered the king to appoint as well as to remove members of corporations and that dispensed them from the Test.94 The joy soon dissipated. By 23 Mar.,

Letters from the west bring the news that the earl of Bath labours with as little success in the counties of Devonshire and Cornwall who return most of the members to Parliament as other lord lieutenants have met with in other parts of the kingdom, notwithstanding he has very seriously offered to the inhabitants to grant them the sale of tin, which would give them the facility of delivering all the tin they might dig out to his m[ajesty] at the rate of £3.10 – pr cwt – and to receive cash for it on delivery without having to wait for other buyers or having to send it to market.95

When Bath returned to London in April he confirmed this in person. His failure marked a major setback for government policy. As a result *Sunderland and William Herbert, marquess of Powis, both postponed planned trips to their own lieutenancies.96 Yet Bath was still willing to be party to the order to read the Declaration of Indulgence in churches.97 Twists in royal policies caused other troubles too. In the summer 1688 he received a letter from Albemarle, now governor of Jamaica, pointing out the contradictions in his instructions and asking Bath to find out what it was that the king really wanted him to do.98

Bath went back to Cornwall in August, and the following month, despite the setbacks, he was given a list of approved parliamentary candidates.99 As the political crisis deepened and the king began to backtrack, Bath was left to sort out the contradictions. By early October he had received the writs for parliamentary elections in Devon, Cornwall, and Exeter, as well as the proclamation for ‘surcease of all proceedings thereon’, and had to ask for advice about what to do with them. In a long and pointed but restrainedly polite letter to Sunderland he nevertheless left no room for doubt about the extent of his anger and frustration both at the changes in policy and at the way in which he himself had been marginalized. He referred with false modesty to his own ‘weak endeavours’ to serve the king, castigated the ‘irregularities and extravagances’ of the regulators and went on to declare ‘that the best expedient for settling matters in cos. Cornwall and Devon is to put things in such a method that they may return to their ancient course’. He particularly drew attention to the problems of Exeter,

which gives laws to all the rest, but it is so miserably divided and distracted that I dare affirm there is not a place in the king’s dominions that wants more speedy or serious consideration. It is the bishop’s seat, the residence of the dean, canons and prebendaries. The great interest of the place consists of church men, and it has always been true to the church and consequently loyal to the king. Its motto is Semper fidelis [always faithful]. You may easily imagine it to be a great mortification to them to see the most substantial, rich, loyal citizens turned out of the government for no offence … and this in such a hurry that they destroyed their charter for very haste. It cannot choose but be grievous to them to be domineered over by a packed chamber of dissenters, and to see the sword … carried every Sunday before the Mayor in state to a conventicle. The animosities, I am told, are so great that they would be dangerous in the most peaceable times. In these they may be fatal if some speedy course be not taken.100

Bath had already sent lists of justices to be added and removed from the commissions of the peace to the lord chancellor, George Jeffreys, Baron Jeffreys. He was careful to secure royal approval for reinstating prominent individuals and tried to balance conflicting demands by nominating a number of ‘gentlemen of the first rank’ who were sympathetic to Dissent but whose status would make them acceptable to loyal Anglicans. The earlier purges had resulted in the addition of men who were ‘of mean quality and small estate and very unacceptable to those worthy gentlemen who are now to be restored’ and he suggested that they should be removed. Jeffreys complied.101

So deep were the worries that news of the birth of a prince of Wales caused economic as well as political upset in Cornwall. The newly appointed farmers of the pre-emption of tin found that ‘the difficulties of the times’ had delayed the passing of their patent, which was perhaps fortunate as they also claimed that the market had collapsed.102 On 23 Oct. 1688 Bath wrote to Godolphin reporting that the convocators had ‘grown peevish and suspicious’ and prone to ‘new jealousies and difficulties’. The restoration of charters recently ordered by the king had had little effect because its terms excluded most of the Cornish corporation charters. Nor could he follow the king’s instructions to ‘take care’ of Exeter as the militia was commanded by the mayor, who

was a person in whom he had no confidence, as he had often faithfully acquainted the king; the rest of the officers had tendered him their commissions, and desired to be excused from serving under him (the mayor), so that his lordship might easily judge what was to be expected from such a commander in case of necessity. He had not thought fit to remove him, but would be glad of his majesty’s pleasure therein by the next post. Without putting the militia of that city into better hands it was impossible (unless the king sent some of his standing forces) to preserve that important place long in peace, or defend it against an enemy.103

Revolution and defection to the prince of Orange, 1688–92

Bath’s reputation as the king’s man and his apparent willingness to accept policy changes, even when he disliked them, seems to have blinded James II to the depth of his rage. On 30 Oct., as the prospect of invasion became ever more likely, Bath was one of several lords lieutenant of strategically important counties to receive instructions to keep watch on the coast and to remove ‘all horses oxen and cattle fit for burden or draught’ 20 miles inland from any attempted landing place.104 Others were equally sure of his loyalty. In the confusion that followed the landing of William of Orange there were reports that Bath had attempted to thwart the invaders by ordering all haystacks and provisions to be burnt and that as a result he had been killed at the hands of an Orangist mob.105 As the political situation continued to deteriorate, a sceptical Van Citters reported back to the estates general that Bath’s interest with the west country’s tin miners, ‘who are in great numbers’, was being used by the court in a desperate and ineffective attempt to shore up support.106

In reality Bath was already in touch with the invading forces.107 He had been unwilling to commit himself when approached earlier by Henry Sydney, the future Viscount Sydney, but just three days after the prince of Orange’s landing an approach by Edward Russell, later earl of Orford, who brought with him a personal letter from the prince, changed his mind. Russell asked Bath to name his terms; Bath declined to do so, trusting to the prince’s gratitude and goodwill, but he must have made at least some of his pretensions known verbally for in a letter of 20 Nov. 1688 William promised ‘to see justice done you’ and added a note in his own hand to the effect that he would never forget Bath’s services.108 Theophilus Hastings, 7th earl of Huntingdon who was staying with Bath at Plymouth reported that on the evening of 17 Nov. Bath left Plymouth, saying he would return within half an hour but he had not come back by the following day. Presumably he was visiting William for on 18 Nov. he wrote to the prince, agreeing to obey his commands, which included the seizure of the citadel, raising the militia, and imprisoning Huntingdon.109

In the meantime Bath continued to play the part of attentive host, offering his own shalloop to Huntingdon, who had expressed an interest in visiting St Nicholas Island. Although pleased at the favour, Huntingdon declined; it was not until later that he realized that Bath had intended to leave him there as a prisoner. He was invited instead to dine with Bath, who explained to his somewhat gullible listener that he had restrained ‘port liberty’ for his soldiers as part of their training ‘the better to accustom them to a siege’. During what seems to have been a pleasant and genial dinner, Bath’s men seized the citadel and removed all the Catholic officers and soldiers. As soon as he was informed that the operation was complete, Bath placed Huntingdon under arrest.

The next day, 26 Nov. 1688, Bath had the prince of Orange’s declaration read to the garrison who greeted it with huzzas and threw up their hats. The declaration was then posted on the gates of the citadel.110 When, shortly afterwards, the justices, deputy lieutenants, and principal gentlemen of eastern Cornwall met at Saltash they unanimously endorsed Bath’s actions, as did the townsfolk and the militia. Following Bath’s lead they signed the Association. Bath was confident that Charles Robartes, 2nd earl of Radnor, and the gentlemen of west Cornwall would follow suit and arranged for copies of the declaration to be published in the remaining boroughs and market towns of the county. Thanks to Bath the invading fleet was able to anchor safely in Plymouth harbour, which then became William’s principal naval base.111

In December 1688 Bath was only one of three peers who received a summons to the Parliament that James had scheduled for January.112 The other two peers (Huntingdon and Edward Griffin, Baron Griffin) were stalwart supporters of James II and it seems that Bath’s writ was obtained at the request of Lady Huntingdon to ‘facilitate’ her husband’s freedom.113 When the Convention assembled on 22 Jan. 1689 Bath was probably still at his house in Cornwall where he had gone to celebrate Christmas.114 He took his seat on 2 Feb. and was subsequently present for just over 85 per cent of sitting days. By now he commanded a considerable family connection in Parliament. His younger brother Denis had followed James II into exile but the remaining members of the family transferred their loyalties to the new regime. Bath’s nephews Bevil, Bernard, and George and his nephew-in-law, Alexander Pendarves, joined his brother Bernard and younger son John in the Commons, while his son Lansdown received a writ in acceleration to the Lords (where he was known as Lord Granville) and his son-in-law Carteret also took his seat in the Lords. Other members of the Commons who represented west country constituencies undoubtedly also looked to him for leadership.

Bath now appeared to be distancing himself from his own political past. His once close relationship with Danby had turned sour, but dating the breakdown is extremely difficult. One factor in the transformation may have been the failure of Lansdown’s marriage to Martha Osborne in or about the summer of 1682.115 Yet there is no evidence of any enmity between the two men before the Revolution; rather it seems likely that it was the Revolution that was the catalyst that provoked Bath’s jealousy. His anger was also inextricably intertwined with the Albemarle inheritance. News of the death of Albemarle reached England almost contemporaneously with the Dutch invasion. Bath believed that he would succeed to the Albemarle estates and thus consolidate still further his position as a regional magnate; he also expected to be created duke of Albemarle, pursuant to the promise made him by Charles II. There was too the ongoing issue of the outstanding debts due from the crown.

Bath returned to London in January 1689 determined to pursue all these claims. His first step seems to have been to register the warrant of April 1661 – with its claim to the earldom of Glamorgan and the titles of Corbeil, Thorigny, and Granville – with the college of arms.116 In a petition (which from the style of address is likely to have been written shortly before the formal offer of the crown to William and Mary on 13 Feb.) he also laid out his claim to the office of groom of the stole or for compensation for the same. He was distressed by the appointment of Hans Willem Bentinck, earl of Portland, to the office and still more distressed by the decision to grant Bentinck possession of Theobalds Park. Furthermore the crown still owed Bath a substantial sum. Initially he sought to make an ally of Portland, telling him ‘that you having taken possession of my office it is but just that you should mediate with the king that I might have right and justice done me in compensation’.117

While Bath found it necessary to besiege the crown with petitions for what he perceived to be his just recompense, Danby enjoyed a privileged position as one of the ‘immortal seven’. Before the Revolution Bath’s earldom had enjoyed higher precedence than that of Danby; until 1685 as both groom of the stole and a trusted friend of Charles II he had also been closer to the centre of power than the erstwhile lord treasurer. Danby’s promotion to a marquessate (as Carmarthen) in April 1689 and his ability to command office under the new regime meant that their relative positions were now reversed: he was now more powerful than Bath and also outranked him.

Bath’s parliamentary activity undoubtedly also contributed to the process. In February 1689 both men voted consistently in favour of the words ‘abdicated’ and ‘that the throne is thereby vacant’ and both were named as managers of the conference to consider amendments to the declaration declaring William and Mary to be monarchs. Then in May, when Carmarthen led the campaign against reversing Oates’s convictions for perjury, Bath not only parted company with him but went on to enter three protests against the refusal to do so. In so doing he allied himself with Carmarthen’s Whig enemies. He held Carteret’s proxy from 12 July so was able to employ that in the division on Oates that took place on 30 July 1689. During the session he acted as teller on seven occasions, leading one to wonder if he had been similarly involved before the Revolution (for which records of tellerships do not survive).

On 5 Mar. Bath told on the division for an amendment to the bill for the trial of peers; on 23 Apr. for the division concerning the Commons amendment to the abrogating oaths bill; in June for that on the addition of a proviso to the land tax bill which would have bolstered privilege of peerage by enabling the peers to name their own commissioners and on the vote for reversing the 1682 judgment against the former sheriff of London, Thomas (now Sir Thomas) Pilkington. In all these cases, although solid evidence is lacking, it seems likely that he voted with the Whigs. In September 1689 news of the death of Lady Lansdown, which was said to bring ‘joy’ to Bath, removed the final link between him and Carmarthen.118 At or about this time the relationship between Lansdown and his brother-in-law Peregrine Osborne, styled earl of Danby, later 2nd duke of Leeds, was so poor that that Lansdown had been forced to promise the king that the pair would not resort to a duel.119 Osborne’s volatility however was such that it is difficult to be certain that the quarrel stemmed from family animosity or some other cause.

Alongside his parliamentary activities during this session, Bath also took the first steps in what was to become a long-running attempt to gain possession of the Albemarle fortune. As noted above, he had expected to be the major beneficiary under the 2nd duke of Albemarle’s will. He was therefore dismayed to discover that Albemarle had made a new will shortly before leaving England in 1687 in which, after safeguarding the interests of his wife during her lifetime, he had entailed virtually the whole of his property on a Col. Henry Monck and his two sons, Christopher and Henry Monck. Col. Monck had been a protégé of the 1st duke of Albemarle; the 2nd duke had taken a similar interest in the careers of Christopher and Henry junior. There is no extant evidence to confirm a family connection but Albemarle clearly believed that he and Col. Monck were related to each other through the paternal line. It seems that it was not until 1684 that he realized that his relationship to Bath was through their mothers and that Bath was not therefore the heir to the Monck patrimony.120

The will of 1687 was drawn up by the leading lawyer Henry Pollexfen. Albemarle took the original with him to Jamaica but made sure that two certified copies were left in England; the original and both copies were opened in the presence of witnesses on 8 Apr. 1689. Within six months Bath was embroiled in a case in the prerogative court of Canterbury to overturn the 1687 will and in a suit and counter-suit in chancery to the same end.121 He produced what he claimed to be a deed of settlement drawn up by Albemarle in 1682, which contained a clause nullifying any subsequent disposition of the Albemarle estates unless witnessed by six individuals of whom three had to be peers of the realm. His case rested on the legality and authenticity of this deed and the somewhat preposterous claim that Albemarle had deliberately drawn up an invalid second will in order to avoid the importunities of his mentally fragile duchess. The various suits and counter-suits generated by the dispute, and the allegations of perjury and fraud that accompanied it, fascinated the social and political elite for nearly 20 years.

During the 1689–90 session Bath was present for 71 per cent of sitting days. His activities during this session are more difficult to trace but his protest on 23 Nov. 1689 about the loss of a proviso to the bill of rights that would have required royal pardons to impeachments to have the approval of both Houses of Parliament suggests open enmity to Carmarthen, who marked him as an opponent of the court in a list he compiled between October 1689 and February 1690. His attendance over the short first session of 1690 rose to nearly 92 per cent, perhaps because his presence in London was required in order to continue litigation over the Albemarle inheritance. In March 1690, as a result of an enquiry into protections, he withdrew one protection and claimed that a second was forged.122 On 13 May he joined with leading Whigs in a protest against the refusal of the House to grant further time to the City of London in connection with the bill to reverse the judgment against it. In the meantime his case against the duchess of Albemarle continued with an appeal to the court of delegates and fresh moves in chancery, where he produced a copy of Charles II’s 1667 promise that if the Albemarle line should ever fail the dukedom would revert to Bath.123 After the end of the session, when the king had left for Ireland, Bath was once again instructed to attend to the defence of the west country by directing the militia there and preparing to deal with possible mutinies by the tinners.124 His reluctance to do so (he sent his son instead) annoyed the queen.125

The 1690–1 session saw Bath’s attendance rise to nearly 90 per cent. He almost immediately faced a challenge to his claim of privilege in the Albemarle case.126 He was discomfited still further by the arrest of Lansdown, who was rumoured to have revived his quarrel with Danby.127 Legal complications over the attempt to court martial Arthur Herbert, earl of Torrington, resulted in October 1690 in a bill to clarify the powers of the commissioners of the Admiralty. Bath, clearly part of an alliance against Carmarthen that stretched across both Houses and that was led in the Lords by Bath’s Cornish neighbour Charles Powlett, duke of Bolton, and Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, entered a protest at the passage of the bill, as did his son Lansdown. On the same day Bath also protested at the resolution to discharge James Cecil, 4th earl of Salisbury, and Peterborough from bail; previously, on 6 Oct. he had voted against their discharge from imprisonment in the Tower, with Carmarthen adding the comment that he was ‘easy to be made [to] follow the king’s mind by what he holds under him’.128 In the Commons John Granville’s defence of Torrington was such that the king removed him from all his offices.129 One might have thought that such disapprobation would extend also to Bath, yet in the spring of 1691 preparations for Lansdown‘s second marriage, to Isabella de Nassau van Auverquerque, the daughter of one of the king’s closest companions, sparked gossip that Bath was to be promoted to a dukedom.130

Various enquiries had supported the validity of Bath’s financial claims.131 As a result his claims on the crown and his son’s marriage settlement were being negotiated together. On 12 Mar. 1691 Queen Mary signed a warrant summarizing the results of the settlement. Bath was granted the right to nominate a ‘fit person of estate and quality’ to an English barony or to receive £10,000 in ready money, over and above the £6,000 already paid as dowry, in lieu. He was also promised the dukedom of Albemarle at the next creation of dukes or payment of the arrears relating to the original promise to pay £15,000 (which by then amounted to over £50,000), plus payment of his pensions and arrears as governor of Plymouth. The warrant makes it clear that William III was fully aware of the agreement that had been reached and that it was backed by ‘the royal word of a king and queen’.132 As a result, in August 1691 Henry Guy notified the paymaster general that Bath’s pensions of £5,000 a year had been confirmed and that payments were to be made, backdated to Christmas 1690.133

Other matters progressed in a less satisfactory manner. In May 1691 the delegates – who included Carmarthen, Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, and Thomas Herbert, 8th earl of Pembroke, unanimously rejected Bath’s appeal against the duchess of Albemarle.134 In July Bath’s post-revolutionary enthusiasm for the Whigs was underlined still further when he acted as godfather to Bolton’s infant grandson.135 Whether the Whigs really were enthusiastic about gaining the support of a man who had been so prominent in the Tory reaction of the 1680s is unclear; in a letter to Portland that must have been written some time after Portland’s appointment as groom of the stole in March 1689, Bath revealed that he had been unable to obtain a private audience with the king since his return to London from the west, which suggests that even at that early stage he had powerful enemies at court.136

Bath was absent when Parliament reassembled for the 1691–2 session, not taking his seat until 14 Nov. 1691. He did not attend after 27 Jan. 1692 at all. He covered his absence during the first part of the session by a proxy to Lansdown and during the second part by a proxy to Carteret. There were other scattered absences so that overall his attendance was just under 58 per cent. During November, after an exceptionally long trial, Bath won his case against the duchess of Albemarle. Carmarthen spoke so reluctantly for the duchess that neither she nor Bath were satisfied with his testimony.137 Lansdown’s marriage had already raised Bath’s political and financial credit. Now his legal victory implied that he could take possession of an estate valued at between £6,000 and £10,000 a year. It was also reported that the salary of £5,000 awarded to him by Charles II as groom of the stole was to be resumed, ‘being given him upon the account for what he lost for Charles the First’. 138 This report was only partially correct since the resumption of the pension was part of a deal whereby Bath waived arrears of £20,000.139 Nevertheless his creditors were delighted. Rumours of his imminent creation as duke of Albemarle began to circulate once again.140

Only partial information is available about the state of Bath’s finances at this time. He was apparently still in possession of a substantial quantity of plate issued to him during the reign of Charles II and never returned, and it seems that even after Bath had relinquished his claim to the arrears of £20,000 the crown still owed him some £10,000.141 Perhaps it was a sense of fellow feeling that led William George Richard Stanley, 9th earl of Derby, to believe that Bath would vote in favour of his bill to secure the restoration of estates lost in the civil wars. In the event Bath was absent from the House on 25 Jan. 1692, the day of the second reading, but Derby’s predictions were in any case unsound. The bill was rejected even though he thought he would win by an overwhelming majority.142

Overplaying his hand, 1692–1701

Shortly before the 1692–3 session began Bath petitioned the queen about his pension. Having, in his view, sacrificed £20,000 in return for a contractually guaranteed payment of £5,000 a year, he was incensed to find that that payment had been stopped, allegedly because of financial exigency, but more probably because William III was trying to force Bath to exercise his influence over his two sons in order to persuade them to support the administration.143 Over the session Bath’s attendance was again high (some 84 per cent). He took his revenge on the government first by protesting at the decision not to propose a joint committee to consider the state of the nation on 7 Dec. 1692 and then, in the face of the king’s known displeasure, by voting in favour of committing the place bill on 31 December. Within days of the place bill vote, however, he had moved back to a Whiggish pro-court position. He supported the attempt of the Whig Henry Howard, 7th duke of Norfolk, to divorce his Tory wife, deliberately abstained at the third reading of the place bill on 3 Jan. 1693, and voted to acquit Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun, on 4 Feb. 1693. On 10 Mar. he was named as one of the reporters for the conference on the duchy of Cornwall bill. He held Carteret’s proxy from 14 Jan. 1693.

Shortly after the session ended in March 1693, Lansdown, who had been appointed jointly with his father as lord lieutenant of Devon and Cornwall in 1691, was removed from those offices after quarrelling with the king over his own unpaid arrears.144 Sunderland instructed the lord keeper, John Somers, later Baron Somers, to delay reissuing the necessary new commissions for Bath while exploring the possibility of replacing him with Radnor.145 Sunderland was convinced that Bath was playing a double game and that he ‘would be very glad to be of one side and have his sons of the other, for men grow more politic every day’.146

Sunderland’s attempts to discipline the Granvilles may also have included promises of reward. Contemporaneously with Lansdown’s quarrel with the king, there were renewed rumours of a dukedom for Bath, and in June Sunderland, in discussing the prospects for managing the Lords, referred to Bath as one of three peers who needed ‘something besides money’. Unfortunately for Bath his prospects of promotion in the peerage had to be weighed against the needs of others. John Sheffield, 3rd earl of Mulgrave (later duke of Buckingham), had made it clear that he wanted a marquessate – but not if others were to be offered dukedoms.147 Bath held on to his lord lieutenancies, partly because of the support he received from Nottingham and partly because of his willingness to frighten Somers by telling him that without the commissions it would be impossible to convene the west country militias in case of emergency. Sunderland declared Bath’s reasoning to be frivolous but had to acknowledge that further delay was impossible.148

Bath was present on 77 per cent of sitting days in the 1693–4 session, with well over half his absences being in March and April 1694. He was present almost every day in November and December 1693 but absent on 22 Dec., presumably because he was attending yet another hearing in the Albemarle case. On 3 and 15 Jan. 1694 he was named as one of the managers of the conference over the controversial issues surrounding the loss of the Turkey convoy the previous summer. Meanwhile, the Albemarle inheritance case now began to assume even greater prominence. On 8 Jan. the duchess of Albemarle and her new husband, Ralph Montagu, earl (later duke) of Montagu, brought an appeal against the 22 Dec. verdict in Bath’s favour and on 26 Jan. Thomas Pride petitioned for a waiver of privilege by Bath and Montagu so that he could proceed with a claim as heir at law to his uncle, the 1st duke of Albemarle. On 29 Jan. Bath and Montagu both agreed to waive privilege. On 17 Feb., after a hearing that had lasted several days and which had even attracted the king to attend incognito, Bath won yet another round in the legal battle, although only by a small majority.149 Bath, Lansdown, and Montagu were all present that day and there was no formal rule prohibiting them, as interested parties, from voting, but the surviving division list does not include their names. Carteret did vote, unsurprisingly in favour of his father-in-law. Montagu, backed by Nottingham, was not prepared to give up.150 On 20 Feb. the House was confronted with a need to hunt for precedents when it received his request that exhibits used in the appeal be released for use in another legal action against Bath. The decision to dismiss his request passed by a majority of just two and was sufficiently controversial to provoke a formal dissent.

Despite his victory, Bath’s standing with the government was still precarious, probably because of his son’s activities in the Commons in favour of the triennial bill, and there were fresh reports that he was to be removed from his lord lieutenancies.151 In April 1694 he received what he undoubtedly interpreted as a fresh insult from the crown when, despite the promise of 1691, he remained an earl while Charles Talbot, 12th earl of Shrewsbury, was promoted to a dukedom. To make matters worse in May Carmarthen was also elevated to a dukedom (as Leeds).

Bath’s attendance in the following (1694–5) session was just over 82 per cent but there is almost no information about his parliamentary activities. The Albemarle inheritance dispute dragged on with further lengthy hearings in the court of king’s bench (one of which was said to have lasted all day and all night) in November 1694 and February 1695.152 Bath triumphed once again but the case was far from over.153 In March Montagu revived his request for an order by the House of Lords concerning exhibits in the appeal, causing something of a minor political crisis when the Commons found out and decided that this amounted to an attempt to extend the Lords’ judicature to original causes. A breach between the Houses was avoided when the Lords dismissed Montagu’s petition on 18 March. Just who had stirred matters up in the Commons remains a matter for speculation, but John Granville is an obvious candidate; his other activities certainly led him to be regarded by the administration as one of the Commons’ leading troublemakers.

Bath appears to have been relatively inactive during the 1695 elections but even so he still headed a significant parliamentary connection. During the 1695–6 session he was again present on some 82 per cent of sitting days but he left no trace of his activities until 24. Jan. 1696 when, together with his son and four other Tory peers, he signed the protest against the passage of the bill to prevent false and double returns at elections to the Commons. On 27 Feb. 1696 he signed the Association. Lansdown, who was absent on 27 Feb., signed the following day. In the Commons Sir Bevil Granville also signed the Association but John and Bernard Granville refused it.154 Perhaps Bath was still suspected of playing a double game, for by April he had been removed from his lord lieutenancies and from the governorship of Plymouth. He also seems to have been annoying the king by his failure to keep good order in St James’s Park and in May it was reported that he had been ordered to sell his offices as ranger of St James’s and lord warden of the stannaries.155 During the summer of 1696 there was yet another hearing in the Albemarle case, in which allegations of fraud and forgery by Bath were made openly. When Montagu won the case Bath promptly resumed privilege in order to obstruct further process and in the meantime he and Montagu both indicted each other’s witnesses for perjury. At this point the two men had allegedly spent some £20,000 between them on litigation.156

When Parliament reassembled for the 1696–7 session Bath was present for nearly 73 per cent of sitting days. Almost half his absences were concentrated in the period between 25 Feb. and 13 Mar. inclusive and may well relate to the final illness of his daughter Jane, dowager Lady Leveson, who died on or about 27 Feb. 1697. During the early months of the session the House was confronted with a series of allegations and counter-allegations about the use and misuse of privilege in the Albemarle case by both parties. A decision to allow Bath privilege for a period of six months so that he could pursue his actions for perjury was allegedly undermined by Montagu’s determination to obstruct and delay the prosecutions.157 Then, in December 1696, wrangles over the Albemarle inheritance were eclipsed by the controversies over the Fenwick attainder. John Granville led the opposition to the attainder in the Commons; his father was equally active in the Lords. On 15 and 18 Dec. he entered dissents to the decision to allow Goodman’s information to be read and to the resolution that the bill be read a second time. On 23 Dec. he not only voted against it but entered a protest at its passage. Since the king was determined that Parliament should pass the attainder and since Bath was one of many smeared by Fenwick as a Jacobite collaborator, such conduct was scarcely likely to win the confidence of the administration. His punishment was rapid. In January 1697 it became known that the king’s favourite, Arnold Joost van Keppel, was to be created earl of Albemarle.

Bath was furious. He tried to prevent the use of the Albemarle title and petitioned for the dukedom.158 He pointed out that his ‘just pretensions’ to the title had been recognized not only by the king but by others. The original warrant authorizing the ennoblement of the Dutch general, Frederick Schomberg, for example, had indicated that he was to become duke of Albemarle but after learning of Bath’s claim to that title he had chosen Schomberg instead. Bath attributed his misfortune in being under royal displeasure to the ‘unparalleled ill practices by the agents of his powerful adversaries’.159 Loath as Bath was (or so he claimed) ‘to be compelled to seek relief by a contest in a public manner’, he was nevertheless prepared to threaten a law suit to compel the performance of Queen Mary’s promises, which he claimed amounted to a contractual obligation. Referring to the assistance that he had rendered William at Plymouth in 1688 he insisted that barely a fortnight before William’s landing at Torbay, James II had offered to make Bath duke of Albemarle and to confer on him the Albemarle lands as well as the garter vacated by Albemarle’s death. He paraded this information as evidence that ‘I lost more then I now pretend unto for his service and the public which I preferred before any private interest’ and offered to prove it ‘by persons of honour’.160

Bath’s only other known activity in the House that session took place on 15 Apr. 1697 when (again in company with his son Lansdown) he entered a protest against the failure of an amendment to the bill to restrain the number and ill practices of stock-jobbers, arguing that the amendment was necessary to prevent the retrospective application of the new regulations.

During the summer of 1697 there were lengthy hearings concerning the perjury allegations in the Albemarle case. There would have been more but the judges postponed them because they were too tired to cope with another all-night sitting.161 Bath, victorious yet again, was said to be so incensed by the perjury allegations that he was contemplating suing Montagu’s lawyer, James Sloan, for scandalum magnatum; instead he prosecuted him, unsuccessfully, for subornation of perjury.162 Bath’s west country electoral interests were now clearly under attack from the government. Sir Francis Drake, who was closely associated with Somers, had foiled a plot by senior local Tories to avoid taking the Association in 1696, and in the same year, assisted by Somers and Shrewsbury, obtained a new charter for Plymouth under which he became recorder for life. By Sept. 1697 he, rather than Bath, was effectively managing the parliamentary representation of Plymouth, Bere Alston, and Tavistock.163

During the 1697–8 session Bath was present for just over 76 per cent of sitting days. His known activities in the House again centred on the Albemarle case. In the autumn he claimed privilege yet again, leading to yet another compromise brokered by the House in January 1698.164 In the meantime the notoriety of the case (and the disgust that it inspired) sparked a debate on 17 Jan. 1698 on the evils of the ‘exorbitant fees’ charged by lawyers and led to the nomination of a committee to prepare a bill to regulate the expense of law suits and to prevent vexatious delays.165 The case became increasingly convoluted. The House confirmed a verdict in the court of common pleas in favour of Montagu in February 1698 but a month later, to the dismay of the judges, allowed Bath to bring a writ of error in order to convict some of Montagu’s witnesses of perjury.166 On 7 Mar. Bath was appointed as one of the managers of a conference to discuss amendments to the bill explaining poor relief. On 15 Mar., along with a number of leading Tories, he voted against the motion to commit the bill to punish the financier Charles Duncombe for a second reading and entered a dissent when the motion passed.

Bath’s longest absence during the 1697–8 session was concentrated towards the end of May and early June 1698. It is tempting to wonder whether this too was related to the Albemarle case, since on 12 May it was reported that ‘The great lawsuit … has met with an unexpected turn.’ Bath had bought off Christopher Monck, the residuary legatee under the 1687 will, in order to undermine Montagu’s case by means that were later alleged to be fraudulent.167 Despite this apparent coup, hearings in related suits heard in king’s bench and common pleas at the end of May went against him, with the result that he was publicly labelled as a fraudster.168 In July 1698, apparently undaunted by this turn of events, Bath again approached Somers for assistance in obtaining the dukedom of Albemarle. He wanted, so he said, ‘only what is already granted for the most part under his majesty’s great seal upon valuable considerations and confirmed under the sacred royal word of the late queen’, but he was clearly aware that he was in disfavour at court for he also referred to his inability to wait on the king in person ‘without his leave under my present unfortunate circumstances’.169

Although he reached his seventieth birthday shortly after the commencement of the 1698–9 session, Bath’s attendance remained high: he was present on some 73 per cent of sitting days. In September he and Montagu had finally agreed to settle their long dispute, though Bath had still not given up hopes for the Albemarle title.170 Although the Whig Junto were opposing his son’s election as Speaker of the Commons, he appears to have remained on good terms with Somers – so much so that during the rest of the autumn Bath went out of his way to heap fulsome thanks on Somers for his various services (both as counsel and as lord keeper) in connection with the Albemarle case, for his ‘many good offices’ in presenting Bath’s various petitions to the king and for his ‘favourable promise to be my advocate to the king’.171

Whether he obtained the personal interview for which he was angling is unclear. He continued to be unwilling to adopt a political line that would secure him in the court’s favour. On 8 Feb. 1699, perhaps again in alliance with opposition members in the Commons, he voted against the resolution to assist the king to retain the Dutch guards and entered a dissent on the same subject. He was also involved in less controversial matters: on 20 and 21 Apr. he was named as one of the managers for conferences on the acts for Blackwell Hall and Billingsgate markets. His presence in the House on those days (after an absence of a week) may well have been related to another issue: the writ of error brought by Christopher Dighton against Bath’s brother Bernard Granville. Although not included in the presence list, on 3 May 1699 he was named as one of the managers of the conference to discuss the supply clauses that had been tacked by the Commons to the bill for duty on paper. This was an issue that overrode party politics since the interest of the peers in preserving their privileges and the interests of the king coincided.172

Over the next (1699–1700) session, Bath’s attendance fell slightly to some 68 per cent but there is little information about his activities other than that he was believed to be opposed to the bill for continuing the East India Company as a corporation. Although still in office as ranger of St James’s Park his inability to suppress alehouses and encroachments there continued to irk the king and he was faced with demands to return the plate that had been issued to him as groom of the stole during the reign of Charles II.173 Bath seems to have felt himself under increasing financial pressure, and by November 1700 he had again complained of the stop on payment of his pension. Presumably he did not appreciate (as the lords of the treasury apparently did) the fine difference between a ‘stop’ and a failure to pay caused by a shortage of liquidity in the nation’s accounts, since the result was in either case the same. He had not been paid since Michaelmas 1692.174

The first session of the 1701 Parliament was the last that Bath was able to attend before his death in August 1701. His attendance over this session fell to 44 per cent, which was largely attributable to long spells of absence in February and March and again in June. On 20 Mar. he entered a protest at the failure of the Tory attempt to send the address relating to the partition treaty to the Commons. On 23 May he (and other proprietors of Carolina and the Bahamas) petitioned the House against the bill for uniting the government of several colonies and plantations in America to the crown. Although the House ordered him to be heard, the bill appears to have been lost, possibly because of the disruption to business caused by the attempted impeachments of the Junto lords. Bath’s last attendance was on 17 June 1701 when he voted to acquit Lord Somers.

Bath died on 22 Aug. 1701, leaving a will in which he claimed to be owed some £25,000 by the crown. Somewhat ironically, in view of the long-running and still unresolved disputes over the Albemarle inheritance, his own disposition of his estate also gave rise to litigation.175 It was perhaps even more ironic that the hereditary pension that was paid so irregularly during his lifetime was continued after his death. A moiety was still being paid in 1883 when it was bought out under the Consolidated Fund Act of 1872 for £32,334.176 He was succeeded by his son Charles, whose suicide two weeks later was popularly ascribed to the horror that he experienced when he began to realize the full extent of the tangled web of debt, deceit, and litigation left behind by his father.


  • 1 TNA, PROB 11/462.
  • 2 HMC Var. i. 328.
  • 3 HP Commons, 1604–29, iv. 453.
  • 4 CCC, 2214.
  • 5 CSP Dom. 1651, pp. 214–17.
  • 6 TNA, C 5/29/208, C 10/56/67, C 9/16/122; Northants. RO, G2952.
  • 7 TNA, C 6/284/47.
  • 8 Suff. RO (Bury St Edmunds), Ac 423/385, 852, 853, 854, 857.
  • 9 Ibid. Ac 423/384, 385.
  • 10 TNA, PRO 30/11/268, ff. 100–1; Bodl. Carte 214, ff. 150–1; HMC Finch, i. 92; HMC 7th Rep. 259.
  • 11 CSP Dom. 1660–1, p. 607.
  • 12 Northants. RO, G2936.
  • 13 Suff. RO (Bury St Edmunds), Ac 423/658, 659; TNA, PROB 36/5, Albemarle to Bath, 27 May 1666.
  • 14 Northants. RO, G2842, G2849.
  • 15 CSP Dom. 1663–4, p. 160; Travels of Cosmo the Third Grand Duke of Tuscany through England during the Reign of King Charles the Second (1821 edn), 389–90.
  • 16 CSP Dom. 1676–7, p. 287.
  • 17 HP Commons, 1660–90, ii. 432–3.
  • 18 CSP Dom. 1663–4, pp. 57, 90.
  • 19 CTB, 1660-7, p. 608.
  • 20 CSP Dom. 1664–5, p. 438.
  • 21 HMC Heathcote, 205–6.
  • 22 Stowe 396, ff. 178–90.
  • 23 CSP Dom. 1665–6, p. 578; 1666–7, p. 165; HP Commons, 1660–90, iii. 524.
  • 24 Northants. RO, G2862.
  • 25 CSP Dom. 1663–4, p. 404; Staffs. RO, Paget pprs. D 603/K/2/5, f. 16.
  • 26 CSP Dom. 1667, pp. 318, 335.
  • 27 Northants. RO, G 2860.
  • 28 Suff. RO (Bury St Edmunds), Ac 423/666.
  • 29 Eg. 2539, f. 112.
  • 30 CTB. 1667-8, pp. 407, 468; 1669–72, 18, 183.
  • 31 TNA, C 6/221/55, bill of Katherine and Richard Leveson-Gower.
  • 32 CSP Dom. 1668–9, p. 323; CTB, 1669-72, pp. 34, 49, 55, 132, 152, 265, 414, 563, 627.
  • 33 Verney ms mic. M636/23, M. Elmes to Sir R. Verney, 14 Apr. 1669.
  • 34 CSP Dom. 1668–9, p. 270.
  • 35 HMC Le Fleming, 67.
  • 36 Add. 36916, f. 161.
  • 37 HEHL, EL 8123, Carbery to Bridgwater, 30 Mar. 1670.
  • 38 HMC Somerset, 103; CSP Dom. 1670, p. 423; 1671, p. 105.
  • 39 HMC 8th Rep. i. 14.
  • 40 CSP Dom. 1671, p. 219.
  • 41 Ibid. p. 391.
  • 42 CTB, 1669-72, pp. 1365–8.
  • 43 CSP Dom. 1671, p. 470.
  • 44 TNA, TS 21/1481.
  • 45 CTB, iv. 191–2, 220, 224, 226, 229–30, 544, 572, 589, 632.
  • 46 HMC Le Fleming, 100–1.
  • 47 CTB, 1672-5, pp. 159, 165, 404, 423, 428, 436.
  • 48 CSP Dom. 1673–4, p. 472.
  • 49 Verney ms mic. M636/28, Sir R. to E. Verney, 7 Jan. 1675; J. to E. Verney, 7 Jan. 1675.
  • 50 Eg. 3330, ff. 2–34; Verney ms mic. M636/30, Sir R. to E. Verney, 9 July 1677.
  • 51 State Trials, vii. 158.
  • 52 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 500.
  • 53 Add. 28040, f. 10.
  • 54 Add. 28049, ff. 16–17.
  • 55 HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 517.
  • 56 Add. 28049, ff. 20–21; HMC Buckinghamshire, 408–9, 415; HMC Lindsey Supp. 25, 33; Add. 28049, ff. 60–61, 62–63, 72–73; Add. 28053, f. 165.
  • 57 Add. 28052, ff. 47–48.
  • 58 D. and S. Samuel Lysons, Magna Britannia, iii. 165.
  • 59 Northants. RO, Montagu letterbook, i. f. 98.
  • 60 TNA, C 10/215/16, answer of John earl of Bath, 2 July 1684 and of Thomas, Lord Crew and others, 3 July 1684.
  • 61 HMC Lindsey Supp. 33–34.
  • 62 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 521.
  • 63 HMC Buckinghamshire, 434; Add. 28053, ff. 257–8, 263; Add. 28042, f. 86; Add. 28043, f. 57; Eg. 3332, ff. 16, 18–19, 39–40, 61–62, 77–78, 133–4; Eg. 3334, f. 55.
  • 64 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 95–96, 199–200.
  • 65 HMC Var. i. 328.
  • 66 HP Commons, 1660–90, i. 170–1.
  • 67 CSP Dom. 1683, pp. 90–92, 134, 144, 147, 154, 165–6, 245, 254; HMC 7th Rep. 817; HMC Ormonde, n.s. vii. 27–32.
  • 68 Add. 61605, ff. 153–4.
  • 69 B. Weiser, Charles II and the Politics of Access, 46–48.
  • 70 CSP Dom. 1683, p. 153.
  • 71 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 42, f. 298.
  • 72 TNA, C 10/215/16, bill of Carteret, 5 July 1683.
  • 73 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 300–1.
  • 74 Northants. RO, G2866, G2882, G2943, G2947, G2999; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, p. 281b.
  • 75 HMC Stuart, i. 3–4.
  • 76 Northants. RO, G2847.
  • 77 HMC 5th Rep. 186.
  • 78 CSP Dom. 1685, pp. 22, 98.
  • 79 Ibid. 363.
  • 80 Ibid. 28, 66, 71, 73–74, 80, 86–88, 109, 256–7.
  • 81 Evelyn Diary, iv. 442–5.
  • 82 CSP Dom.1685, pp. 219–20, 311.
  • 83 Ibid. p. 313.
  • 84 NAS, GD 157/2681/35, newsletter, 22 Oct. 1685.
  • 85 CSP Dom. 1685, p. 369.
  • 86 HMC 5th Rep. 319.
  • 87 CSP Dom.1686–7, p. 39.
  • 88 HMC Buccleuch, i. 345.
  • 89 CTP, 1685–8, p. 17.
  • 90 Ibid. pp. 19–20.
  • 91 Add. 34510, f. 73.
  • 92 Ibid. f. 75; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 432; Morrice Ent’ring Bk, iv. 225–6.
  • 93 Bodl. Tanner 28, f. 139.
  • 94 P. Halliday, Dismembering the Body Politic, 252.
  • 95 Add. 34510, ff. 101–2.
  • 96 Ibid. ff. 110, 112.
  • 97 NLW, Coedymaen i. 40.
  • 98 TNA, PROB 36/5.
  • 99 CSP Dom. 1687–9, pp. 272–3.
  • 100 Ibid. 304–5.
  • 101 CBS, D135/B1/4/1; D135/B1/4/12.
  • 102 CTP, 1556–1696, p. 30.
  • 103 Ibid. p. 31.
  • 104 CSP Dom. 1687–9, p. 334.
  • 105 Verney ms mic. M636/43, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 16 Nov. 1688.
  • 106 Add. 34510, ff. 170–2.
  • 107 Add. 4236, f. 293.
  • 108 J. Carswell, The Descent on England, 146; Northants. RO, G2839; TNA, PRO 30/11/268, ff. 98–99.
  • 109 HMC Hastings. ii. 193; CSP Dom. 1687–9, p. 357; TNA, PRO 30/11/268, ff. 98–99.
  • 110 HMC Hastings, ii. 196–9.
  • 111 CSP Dom. 1687–9, p. 371.
  • 112 HMC Buckinghamshire, 456.
  • 113 HMC Hastings, ii. 201–2.
  • 114 English Currant, 4 Jan. 1689.
  • 115 Browning, Danby, 350–1.
  • 116 Suff. RO (Bury St Edmunds), Ac 423/665.
  • 117 Northants. RO, G2844; G2857.
  • 118 Verney ms mic. M636/43, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 25 Sept. 1689.
  • 119 HMC Lords, iii. 150–1.
  • 120 Northants. RO, Montagu letterbook, i. f. 98 (briefly calendared at HMC Buccleuch, i. 215).
  • 121 TNA, PROB 18/20/70; C 9/273/1, bill of duchess of Albemarle, 1 Feb. 1690; C 10/237/14, answer of Peter Barwick, 14 Nov. 1689.
  • 122 HMC Lords, iv. 11.
  • 123 Sloane 4036, f. 68; TNA, C 9/273/1, answer of the earl of Bath, 31 May 1690.
  • 124 HMC Finch, iii. 379.
  • 125 G. Burnet, Memorial of Mary Princess of Orange, appendix, ix.
  • 126 LJ, xiv. 531, 542, 551, 554.
  • 127 HMC Lords, iii. 150–1; LJ, xiv. 527.
  • 128 Browning, Danby, iii. 180.
  • 129 Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 65.
  • 130 HMC Finch, iii. 19.
  • 131 Northants. RO, G2840, G2879.
  • 132 TNA, PRO 30/11/268, ff. 103–4 (copy at Surr. Hist. Cent. 371/14/A/4).
  • 133 Northants. RO, G2854, G2872.
  • 134 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 225.
  • 135 Ibid. ii. 270.
  • 136 Northants. RO, G 2857.
  • 137 HMC 7th Rep. 209.
  • 138 Verney ms mic. M636/45, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 30 Nov. 1691.
  • 139 CTP, 1556–1696, p. 257.
  • 140 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 308–9; HMC 7th Rep. 209.
  • 141 HMC Lords, iv. 425, 410.
  • 142 Lancs. RO, DDK 1615/9.
  • 143 Northants. RO, G2868, G2875; Suff. RO (Bury St Edmunds), Ac 423/663.
  • 144 CSP Dom. 1693, pp. 98, 132–3; Bodl. Tanner, 25, f. 21.
  • 145 HMC Finch, v. 66; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 65; EHR, lxxi. p. 585; UNL, Portland mss, PwA 1211/1, Sunderland to Portland, 25 Apr. 1693.
  • 146 UNL, Portland mss, PwA 1230/1, Sunderland to Portland, 21 Aug. [1693]; Somers to Sunderland, 16 Aug. [1693]; Sunderland to Somers n.d. [1693]; Somers to Portland 30 June [1693].
  • 147 UNL, Portland mss, PwA 1217/1, Sunderland to Portland, 20 June [1693].
  • 148 UNL, Portland mss, PwA 1231.
  • 149 Add. 17677 OO, ff. 180–3; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 268, 278.
  • 150 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 271–2, 274–5; TNA, SP 105/60, ff. 123–6.
  • 151 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 274–5; Add. 17677 OO, ff. 191–3.
  • 152 Add. 17677 OO, ff. 388–9, 393; Verney ms mic. M636/48, J. Verney to Sir R. Verney, 21 Nov. 1694.
  • 153 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 437; Lexington Papers, ed. H Manners Sutton, 56–57.
  • 154 Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 347.
  • 155 CTB, 1696-7, p. 33; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 62.
  • 156 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 75, 385–6; Evelyn Diary, v. 246.
  • 157 PA, HL/PO/JO/10/1/485/1066a–d.
  • 158 Northants. RO, G2881; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 176.
  • 159 Surr. Hist. Cent. 371/14/A/8b, Bath to Somers, 13 July 1698 (enclosure); Northants. RO, G2840.
  • 160 Northants. RO, G2841, G2881; Surr. Hist. Cent. 371/14/A/5, Bath to Somers, 7 Feb. 1697; 371/14/A6, Bath’s memorial, 1 Jan. 1697.
  • 161 Vernon–Shrewsbury Corresp. i. 238, 240–1; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 223–4.
  • 162 CSP Dom. 1697, pp. 187, 211; Vernon–Shrewsbury Corresp. i. 287; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 312.
  • 163 HP Commons, 1690–1715, iii. 916.
  • 164 Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 296; LJ, xvi. 202–3; PA, HL/PO/JO/10/1/485/1066e–g.
  • 165 Longleat, Bath mss, Prior pprs. 9, ff. 9–10.
  • 166 HMC Lords, n.s. iii. 114–15; Thynne pprs. 44, ff. 61–62; CSP Dom. 1698, p. 162.
  • 167 HMC Downshire, i. 776; TNA, C 9/193/45/2, bill of Henry Monk, 23 Aug. 1708.
  • 168 Evelyn Diary, iv. 288.
  • 169 Surr. Hist. Cent. 371/14/A/7, Bath to Somers, 9 July 1698; 371/14/A/8a, Bath to Somers, 13 July 1698.
  • 170 Northants. RO, G2945; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 443.
  • 171 Surr. Hist. Cent. 371/14/A/9, Bath to Somers, 29 Oct. 1698; 371/14/A/10, Bath to Somers, 11 Nov. 1698.
  • 172 Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 255–6.
  • 173 CTB, 1699-1700, pp. 116, 342, 354, 426.
  • 174 CTP, ii. 439; CTB 1702, p. 1060.
  • 175 TNA, E 133/88/58; C 10/398/48, bill of George, Lord Lansdown, 27 Jan. 1713.
  • 176 TNA, TS 18/189.