Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Baronet

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Godfrey Webster, 4th Bt

Birthdate: (52)
Death: June 3, 1800 (52) (shot himself)
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Godfrey Webster, 3rd Bt and Elizabeth Webster
Ex-husband of Elizabeth Vassall, Lady Holland
Father of Sir Godfrey Vassall Webster 5th Bt; Infant Webster; Lt Col Sir Henry Vassall Webster; Harriet Frances Webster and Infant Webster
Brother of Elizabeth Chaplin

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Baronet,_4th_Baronet

Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Baronet (25 December 1747 – 3 June 1800) was an English politician. He used the additional surname Vassall in the period 1795 to 1797.


He was the son of Sir Godfrey Webster, 3rd Baronet and Elizabeth Cooper of Lockington, Derbyshire, and nephew of Sir Whistler Webster, 2nd Baronet.

In politics

In January 1780 Webster was on a Sussex committee set up to support the reformist Yorkshire Association. In 1783 he was fighting in a Sussex reform meeting for a general petition. In 1786 he entered parliament as MP for Seaford, with support from the Pelham interest, and after a petition. Standing there again in 1790 with John Tarleton, he was defeated, but Tarleton was elected after a petition. He was back in Parliament in 1796, for Wareham.

Personal life

Webster's uncle, the 2nd baronet, died in 1779, and about half a year later his father died in 1780, making him the 4th baronet. He inherited also Battle Abbey with its estate, but not with vacant possession since his aunt remained in residence.

Webster was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1786. He committed suicide, shooting himself on 3 June 1800 after gambling losses.


  • Profile painting by Louis Gauffier. Battle Abbey, English Heritage.
  • Shot himself after a bad run at cards

Captain in the Sussex militia, a notorious rake and gambler with a famously hot temper. He sold outlying parts of the Battle Abbey estate to fund his gabling and profligate lifestyle. He married the 15year old heiress Elizabeth Vassall in 1786. She inherited an annual income of £10000 in 1795 when her father died, together with a West Indian Estate for Sir Godfrey that produced a further £7000 annually, provided he changed his name to Vassall.

The marriage was not a success. An extended grand tour pf Europe in the 1790's saw Lady Webster with a string of lovers. In 1796 Lady Webster returned from Florence pregnant with the child of Lord Holland, and she and Sir Godfrey divorced in 1797. The settlement awarded Sir Godfrey the custody of the children as well as the whole of his wife's fortune during their joint lives, except for an annual payment of £800 to her. He shot himself 3 years later.

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Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Baronet's Timeline

December 25, 1747
October 6, 1789
Age 41
Age 42
February 1793
Age 45

The pictures show his mother, Lady Holland, and his father, Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Bt

Age 46
October 1795
Age 47
June 3, 1800
Age 52