Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton

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Thomas Wriothesley

Birthplace: Titchfield, Hampshire, England
Death: May 16, 1667 (60)
Southampton House, Bloomsbury, London, Middlesex, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton and countess Elizabeth Wriothesley, of Southampton
Husband of Rachel Wriothesley; Elizabeth Wriothesley and Frances Darcy
Father of Frances Wriothesley; Rachel Russell, Lady Russell; Elizabeth Wriothesley and Elizabeth Percy, Duchess of Montagu and Monck, Duchess of Albermarle
Brother of Lady Penelope Wriothsley Spencer; Anne Wallop and James Wriothesley

Occupation: Lord High Treasurer of Southampton
Managed by: Private User
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About Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton

Sir Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, KG (10 March 1607 – 16 May 1667), styled Lord Wriothesley before 1624, was a 17th century English statesman, a staunch supporter of Charles II who would rise to the position of Lord High Treasurer after the English Restoration. His term as treasurer began concurrently with the assumption of power by the Clarendon Ministry, but his death would precede Lord Clarendon's impeachment from the House of Commons, after which the Cabal Ministry took over government.

Lord Southampton, having acceded to the earldom in 1624, attended St. John's College, Cambridge.[2] At first, he sided with the Parliament supporters upon the subjects leading to the English Civil War, but upon his realisation of their leaders' violence, he became a loyal supporter of Charles I. While remaining very loyal to the deposed monarch, he still vied for peace, representing the king at several peace conferences (as Encyclopædia Britannica notes, he attended at least two conferences: one in 1643, and one at Uxbridge in 1645). He was allowed to live within England, having paid the Commonwealth over £6000.

Several months after the Restoration, Lord Southampton was appointed Lord High Treasurer (8 September 1660), a position in which he would serve until his death. As the Encyclopædia Britannica notes, Lord Southampton "was remarkable for his freedom from any taint of corruption and for his efforts in the interests of economy and financial order," a noble if not completely objective view of his work as the keeper of the nation's finances. Samuel Pepys admired Southampton's integrity and the stoicism with which he endured his painful last illness, but clearly had doubts about his competence as Treasurer; in particular he graphically described the Council meeting in April 1665 where Southampton helplessly asked him where he was to find the funds requested.

Lord Southampton's name lives on in London; both Southampton Row and Southampton Street, Holborn are named after him.

He was the only surviving son of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton and his wife Elizabeth Vernon.

He married three times and had three daughters. His first wife was French Huguenot Rachel de Massue (1603- 16 February 1640), the aunt of Henri de Massue, Marquis de Ruvigny, 1st Viscount Galway. Upon his death in 1667, his two daughters by Rachel, Elizabeth Wriothesley, Viscountess Campden, wife of Edward Noel, 1st Earl of Gainsborough and Rachel Wriothesley, the wife of William Russell, Lord Russell received all of their father's property. This property eventually passed to the Russell's only son, the 2nd Duke of Bedford.

His second marriage was to Lady Elizabeth Leigh, daughter of Francis Leigh, 1st Earl of Chichester from whom he inherited the title Earl of Chichester on Leigh's death.[3] Their only child, Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley would, firstly, marry Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland and upon his decease, she, secondly, married Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu.[4]


  • 1.^ Wells, J. C. Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. 3rd edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2008.
  • 2.^ Venn, J.; Venn, J. A., eds. (1922–1958). "Wriothesley, Thomas". Alumni Cantabrigienses (10 vols) (online ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • 3.^
  • 4.^ Leslie Stephen, ed. Dictionary of National Biography. 38. pp. 263. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
    • 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
    • Encyclopædia Britannica
    • The Peerage
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Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton's Timeline

March 10, 1607
Titchfield, Hampshire, England
September 19, 1637
Titchfield, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Tichfield, Southamptonshire, England
May 16, 1667
Age 60
Southampton House, Bloomsbury, London, Middlesex, England