1851 he published in the ‘Philosophical Transactions’ of the Royal Society a paper ‘On the Results of Periodical Observations of nineteen Stars favourably situated for the Investigation of Parallax,’ and in 1861 in the ‘Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society’ a ‘Catalogue of the Positions and Distances of 398 Double Stars’ (vol. xxix.).
Wrottesley served on several royal commissions of a scientific nature, and was one of the original poor-law commissioners, publishing in 1834, in conjunction with Charles Hay Cameron [q. v.] and John Welsford Cowell, ‘Two Reports on the Poor Laws’ (London, 8vo). In 1853 he called attention in the House of Lords to Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury's scheme of meteorological observations and discoveries, and advocated the policy of encouraging merchant captains to keep meteorological records of winds and currents during their voyages, a project which has since been extensively adopted by the board of trade. Wrottesley's speech on this subject was published (London, 8vo). In November 1854 he succeeded William Parsons, third earl of Rosse [q. v.], as president of the Royal Society, a post which he resigned in 1857. In 1860 he was elected president of the British Association, and on 2 July received the degree of D.C.L. from the university of Oxford. He died at Wrottesley on 27 Oct. 1867. On 28 July 1821 he married Sophia Elizabeth (d. 13 Jan. 1880), third daughter of Thomas Giffard of Chillington in Staffordshire. By her he had five sons and two daughters. His two youngest sons—Henry and Cameron—fell in action. He was succeeded by his eldest son Arthur, third baron Wrottesley.
Besides the ‘Catalogues’ already mentioned, Wrottesley was the author of: 1. ‘Thoughts on Government and Legislation,’ London, 1859, 8vo; German translation, by G. F. Stedefeld, Berlin, 1869, 8vo. 2. ‘An Address on the Recent Application of the Spectrum Analysis to Astronomical Phenomena,’ Wolverhampton, 1865, 8vo. He compiled a treatise on navigation for the ‘Library of Useful Knowledge,’ issued under the auspices of the Society for Diffusing Useful Knowledge in the series on ‘Natural Philosophy’ (1854, vol. iii.). He also contributed many papers to the ‘Memoirs’ and ‘Monthly Notices’ of the Royal Astronomical Society, and furnished a paper ‘On the Application of the Calculus of Probabilities to the Results of Measurements of the Positions and Distances of Double Stars’ in the ‘Proceedings’ of the Royal Society (1859).
[Monthly Notices of the Royal Astron. Soc. 1868, xxviii. 64–8; Proceedings of the Royal Soc. 1867–8, vol. xvi. pp. lxiii–lxiv; Gent. Mag. 1867, ii. 820; Burke's Peerage; Simms's Bibliotheca Stafford. 1894; Welch's Alumni Westmonast. 1852; Barker's and Stenning's Westminster School Reg. 1892; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Official Return of Members of Parliament; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit.; Stedefeld's Ueber die naturalistische Auffassung der Engländer vom Staat und vom Christenthum, Berlin, 1869; Records of Lincoln's Inn, 1896, ii. 85.]
WROTTESLEY, Sir WALTER (d. 1473), captain of Calais, was eldest son of Hugh Wrottesley (d. 1464) and his wife Thomasine, daughter of Sir John Gresley of Drakelaw. The family, whose name seems originally to have been Verdon, had been settled at Wrottesley in Staffordshire for many centuries, the first to adopt the name Wrottesley being William de Verdon, who succeeded to the manor in 1199, and died in 1242 (see the elaborate history of the family in the course of publication in the Genealogist, vols. xv. xvi. et seq.). Walter was a firm adherent of Warwick ‘the king-maker,’ and on 7 Nov. 1460 he was appointed sheriff of Staffordshire. Apparently he held the office for the usual term, undisturbed by the varying fortunes of the party. On 26 Jan. 1461–2 he is styled a ‘king's knight,’ and was granted the manors of Ramsham and Penpole, Dorset, formerly belonging to William Neville, earl of Kent. Grants of the manors of Clynte, Hondesworth, and Mere in Staffordshire, formerly belonging to the Lancastrian James Butler, earl of Wiltshire [q. v.], soon followed, and on 14 June 1463 Wrottesley was one of those to whom Warwick was allowed to alienate manors and castles, although their reversion might belong to the crown. Wrottesley joined Warwick in his attempt to overthrow the Woodvilles, and when in 1471 the king-maker restored Henry VI, Wrottesley was put in command of Calais, a stronghold of the Nevilles. After Warwick's defeat and death at Barnet on 14 April, Wrottesley surrendered Calais to Edward IV on condition of a free pardon. He died in 1473, and is said to have been buried in Greyfriars Church, London. By his wife Jane, daughter of William Baron of Reading, he left two sons—Richard, who succeeded him, and was sheriff of Staffordshire in 1492–3; and William—and three daughters. His descendant, Sir Walter Wrottesley (d. 1659), was created a baronet on 30 Aug. 1642, and the seventh baronet, Sir Richard Wrottesley (d. 1769), dean of Worcester, was grandfather of John, first baron