Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pitt, Thomas (1688?-1729)

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PITT, THOMAS, first Earl of Londonderry (1688?–1729), born about 1688, was second son of Thomas Pitt [q. v.], the colonial governor. He represented Wilton in the British House of Commons from August 1713 until the dissolution in July 1727, and served against the rebels in Lancashire in 1715 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 13th Rep. App. iii. p. 55). On 3 June 1719 he was created Baron of Londonderry in the kingdom of Ireland, and took his seat in the Irish House of Lords on 8 July following (Journals of the Irish House of Lords, ii. 608). On 8 Oct. 1726 he was further advanced to the dignities of Viscount Gallen-Ridgeway of Queen's County and Earl of Londonderry, but he never sat in the Irish House of Lords as an earl (ib. iii. 540). At the general election in August 1727 he was returned to the British House of Commons for Old Sarum, but vacated his seat on his appointment to the post of governor of the Leeward Islands in May 1728. He died at St. Kitts on 12 Sept. 1729, aged 41, and was buried in the family vault at Blandford.

He married, on 10 March 1717, Lady Frances Ridgeway, younger daughter and coheiress of Robert, fourth and last earl of Londonderry (created 1623), by whom he left two sons—viz. (1) Thomas, who succeeded as second earl, and died from a fall from his horse on 24 Aug. 1734, aged 17; (2) Ridgeway, who succeeded as third earl, and died unmarried on 8 Jan. 1765, aged 43, when all the honours became extinct—and one daughter, Lucy, who became the wife of Pierce Meyrick, the youngest son of Owen Meyrick of Bodorgan, Anglesey. His widow, who inherited the Cudworth estate in Yorkshire, married, in December 1732, Robert Graham, of South Warnborough, Hampshire, and died on 18 May 1772. There is no record of any speech made by him either in the Irish House of Lords or in the British House of Commons.

[Hutchins's History of Dorset, 2nd edit. i. 99; Boyer's Political State of Great Britain, xxxviii. 492; Gent. Mag. 1734 p. 452, 1765 p. 46, 1772 p. 247; Burke's Extinct Peerage, 1883 pp. 429, 430, 453; G.E.C.'s Complete Peerage, 1893, v. 130–1; Collins's Peerage of England, 1812, v. 46; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, pt. ii. pp. 34, 45, 57, 68; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890, p. 727; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. v. 227.]

G. F. R. B.