Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Windsor, Thomas Windsor
WINDSOR, formerly Hickman, THOMAS WINDSOR, seventh Baron Windsor of Stanwell and first Earl of Plymouth (1627?–1687), born about 1627 and baptised under the name of Thomas Windsor, was son and heir of Dixie Hickman of Kew, Surrey, by his wife Elizabeth, eldest sister and coheir of Thomas Windsor, sixth baron Windsor of Stanwell.
No connection has been traced between the Windsors of Stanwell and Sir William de Windsor, baron Windsor [q. v.], the husband of Alice Perrers. The Stanwell family claim descent from Walter Fitz-Other (fl. 1087), who held that manor at the time of Domesday and was warder of Windsor Castle, whence he derived the name Windsor. His third son, Gerald de Windsor (fl. 1116), was constable of Pembroke Castle (Itin. Kambriæ, pp. 89, 91), and steward to Arnulf, earl of Pembroke [see under Roger de Montgomery, d. 1093?], in whose service he saw much fighting in Pembroke. He was sent to king Murtagh in Ireland to ask his daughter's hand for Arnulf, married Nest or Nesta [q. v.], mistress of Henry I, and was father of William Fitzgerald, Maurice Fitzgerald (d. 1176) [q. v.], David (d. 1176) [q. v.], bishop of St. David's, and Angharad, mother of Giraldus Cambrensis [q. v.], the historian; he was thus the reputed ancestor of the numerous Geraldine families (see, besides the articles referred to, Freeman, Norman Conquest, v. 210, and William Rufus, ii. 96–7, 101, 108–110, 425, 451 and the authorities there cited).
It was from Gerald's eldest brother William that the Windsors of Stanwell claimed descent. That manor remained in the hands of the family until Henry VIII compelled Andrew Windsor (1474?–1543), whom he had in 1529 summoned to parliament as first Baron Windsor of Stanwell, and made keeper of his wardrobe (see Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vols. i–xvi. passim), to exchange it for Bordesley Abbey, Worcestershire. By his wife Elizabeth, eldest sister of Edward Blount, second lord Mountjoy, he was father of William Windsor, second baron (1499?–1558), whose widow married George Puttenham [q. v.], and pestered the council for many years with suits against him for maintenance (Acts P. C. vols. xii–xvi. passim); William's son Edward, third baron (1532–1575), was father of Frederick, fourth baron (1559–1585), and of Henry, fifth baron (1562–1615). The latter's son, Thomas, sixth baron (1590–1641), was created K.B. in June 1610, and was rear-admiral of the fleet sent to fetch Prince Charles from Spain in 1623; he married Catherine, youngest daughter of Edward Somerset, fourth earl of Worcester [q. v.], but died without issue. The barony thus fell into abeyance between the heirs of his two sisters, while the estates passed to his nephew, Thomas Windsor Hickman, who assumed the surname Windsor in lieu of Hickman, and was commonly known as Lord Windsor (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, p. 70; Cal. Comm. for Compounding, p. 1260).
Though little more than fifteen at the outbreak of the civil war, Windsor is said to have been captain of a troop of horse in the royalist army in 1642, and lieutenant-colonel in May 1645; these commissions do not appear in Peacock's ‘Army Lists,’ but possibly he was the Windsor serving in Bard's regiment of foot who was captured at Naseby on 14 June 1645 (Peacock, 2nd edit. p. 98). He compounded for his ‘delinquency in arms’ on 30 April 1646, and was described as having been ‘concerned in’ the articles for the surrender of Hartlebury Castle, Worcestershire (Cal. Comm. for Compounding, p. 1260). His fine, fixed at a sixth of his estate, was 1,100l., which seems to have been paid. On 4 April 1649 he was reported to have gone to Flanders ‘upon challenge sent him by an English gentleman named Griffith’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, p. 380). According to Sir Kenelm Digby, who gives the challenger's name as Griffin, the latter's letters to Windsor caused much merriment among the exiles at Calais (ib. p. 380), and the council of state requested the Spanish ambassador to prevent the duel. On 19 May 1651 he was summoned before the council of state and required to give a bond of 4,000l. with two sureties of 2,000l. to appear when called upon and ‘not to do anything prejudicial to the present government’ (ib. 1651, p. 207). On 2 Aug. 1653 he was granted a pass to go beyond seas, but for the most part he lived quietly in England, absorbed in a fruitless scheme to render the river Salwarpe navigable by means of locks, for the benefit of the salt trade at Droitwich. On 12 May 1656 he married at St. George's-in-the-Fields, London, Anne, sister of George Savile (afterwards Marquis of Halifax) [q. v.]
After the Restoration Windsor received on 16 June 1660 a declaratory patent determining in his favour the abeyance into which the barony of Windsor of Stanwell had fallen (G. E. C[okayne], Complete Peerage, vi. 257; Egerton MS. 2551, f. 27). He took his seat as seventh Baron Windsor in the House of Lords two days later, and in the same year was made lord lieutenant of Worcestershire. On 20 July 1661 he was appointed governor of Jamaica, with a salary of 2,000l. a year, though his commission was dated only from 2 Aug. following. He did not set out till the middle of April 1662 (Pepys, Diary, ed. Braybrooke, i. 342), but during the interval seems to have developed some fairly enlightened views upon the government of colonies (Egerton MS. 2395, ff. 301–303). He arrived at Barbados on 11 July, and there published his proclamations for the encouragement of settlers in Jamaica. Lands were to be freely granted; no one was to be imposed upon in point of religion, provided he conformed to the civil government; trade with foreigners was to be free; and all handicrafts and tradesmen were to be encouraged (Cal. State Papers, America and West Indies, 1661–8, Nos. 324, 335). He left on 1 Aug. for Jamaica, where he acted as governor for little more than ten weeks, part of which was occupied by an expedition to Cuba and the seizure of a Spanish fort there called St. Jago. But during this brief period Windsor claimed to have established an admiralty court, disbanded the roundhead army in Jamaica and remodelled its forces, called in all commissions to buccaneers and ‘reduced them to certain orderly rules, giving them commissions to take Spaniards and bring them into Jamaica’ (ib. No. 379; cf. arts. Modyford, Sir James and Sir Thomas; Morgan, Sir Henry). ‘Being verie sick and uneasie,’ he embarked for England on 20 Oct. 1662, leaving Sir Charles Lyttelton (1629–1716) [q. v.] as his deputy governor (Present State of Jamaica, 1683, p. 39). His commission was revoked on 15 Feb. 1663–4, Sir Thomas Modyford being appointed his successor (Cal. State Papers, America and West Indies, 1661–8, Nos. 656, 735). Windsor's sudden return provoked from Pepys the remark that ‘these young lords are not fit to do any service abroad,’ and he was sceptical as to the reality of Windsor's achievements (Diary, ed. Braybrooke, ii. 109, 117, 134). Windsor himself pleaded ill-health, and his statement that he came back 2,000l. worse off than he went out supplies a further explanation (Hatton Correspondence, i. 46).
On 9 July 1666 Windsor was commissioned captain of a troop of sixty horse (Dalton, Army Lists, i. 76; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1665–6, p. 490); it was, however, only a militia force, and was disbanded soon afterwards (Savile Corresp. p. 15). In June 1671, in return for a challenge which he believed John Berkeley, lord Berkeley of Stratton [q. v.], the lord lieutenant of Ireland, had sent him, Windsor challenged him at Kidderminster on his way to London (Berwick, Rawdon Papers, 1819, pp. 250–1; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1671, pp. 346, 387). Berkeley declined the challenge and informed the king, who sent Windsor to the Tower. He was ‘mightily complimented by visitts from all the towne, and stayed there, I think, about a fortnight, and then, released, came to Windsore and kissed the king's hand there. The councill would heare nothing in favour of him. They looked upon his challenge to a person in the employment of Lt of Ireland as such an affront to ye king as nothing should have made him presume to resent it at that rate’ (Hatton Corresp. i. 63).
In 1676 Windsor was appointed master of the horse to the Duke of York, and on 4 July 1681 was made governor of Portsmouth (Luttrell, i. 106). On 11 Nov. 1682 he was made governor of Hull, and on 6 Dec. following was created Earl of Plymouth, taking his seat on 19 May 1685. On 30 Oct. 1685 he was sworn of the privy council (ib. i. 362), a few days after the expulsion of his brother-in-law, the Marquis of Halifax, with whom he can have had but little sympathy (Foxcroft, Life of Halifax, i. 489). He died on 3 Nov. 1687 (Addit. MS. 28569, f. 180), and was buried on the 10th at Tardebigg, Worcestershire.
Plymouth's first wife, Anne Savile, died on 22 March 1666–7, and was buried at Tardebigg on 1 April following. He married, secondly at Kensington on 9 April 1668, Ursula, daughter of Sir Thomas Widdrington [q. v.], with the consent of her guardian, John Rushworth (1612?–1690) [q. v.] She was born on 11 Nov. 1647, and died on 22 April 1717. By her Plymouth had issue (I) Thomas (d. 1738), who served in the war in Flanders, was on 19 June 1699 created Viscount Windsor in the peerage of Ireland, and on 31 Dec. 1711 Baron Montjoy in the peerage of the United Kingdom, and left a son, Herbert, on whose death in 1758 these peerages became extinct; (2) Dixie (1672–1743), who was scholar of Westminster, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, member for that university in six successive parliaments, and brother-in-law of William Shippen [q. v.] (Welch, Queen's Scholars, p. 221); (3) Ursula, who married in 1703 Thomas Johnson of Walthamstow; and (4) Elizabeth, who married Sir Francis Dashwood, bart.
By his first wife Plymouth had issue a daughter, Elizabeth, and a son, Other Windsor, styled Lord Windsor from 1682 till his death on 11 Nov. 1684; his son Other (1679–1727) succeeded his grandfather as eighth Baron Windsor and second Earl of Plymouth (cf. Luttrell, Brief Relation, passim; Burnet, Own Time, 1766, iii. 376). His grandson, Other Lewis, fourth earl (1731–1777), maintained a voluminous correspondence with Newcastle, extant in British Museum Additional MSS. 32724–982. The earldom became extinct on the death of Henry, eighth earl, on 8 Dec. 1843. The barony eventually passed to Harriet, daughter of the sixth earl, who married Robert Henry, grandson of Robert, first lord Clive [q. v.]; her grandson, fourteenth Baron Windsor, was created anew Earl of Plymouth in 1905.[Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1650–72, America and West Indies, 1661–8, passim; Brit. Mus. Lansd. MS. cclv. 112; Addit. MSS. 5504 f. 106, 5530 f. 82, 6707 f. 55, 12514, 29550–61, passim; Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. App. pp. 27, 56, 2nd Rep. App. p. 15; Lords' and Commons' Journals; Hatton Corresp. and Savile Corresp. (Camden Soc.), passim; Luttrell's Brief Relation; Pepys's and Evelyn's Diaries; Peacock's Army Lists; Dalton's Army Lists, i. 76, 298; Chester's London Marr. Licences, col. 1488; History of Jamaica, 1774, 3 vols. 4to; Tracts relating to Jamaica, 1800, 4to; Nash's Worcestershire; Tickell's History of Hull; J. M. Woodward's Hist. of Bordesley Abbey; Foxcroft's Life of Halifax, passim; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, ed. Archdall; Burke's Peerage and Extinct Peerage; Doyle's Official Baronage; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage.]