Wilson-Patten, John (DNB00)

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WILSON-PATTEN, JOHN, Baron Winmarleigh (1802–1892), born on 26 April 1802, was second of the two sons of Thomas Wilson (formerly Patten) of Bank Hall, Warrington, Lancashire. His father had in 1800 assumed the sole surname of Wilson in place of Patten by testamentary direction of Thomas Wilson, son of Thomas Wilson (1663–1755) [q. v.], bishop of Sodor and Man, to whose estates Patten succeeded. The family altered the surname to Wilson-Patten a few years later. John's mother, Elizabeth, was eldest daughter of Nathan Hyde of Ardwick. His elder brother Thomas died at Naples 28 Oct. 1819, aged 18. John's schooldays were passed at Eton, and he went thence to Magdalen College, Oxford (14 Feb. 1821). Here he became intimate with many men who afterwards rose to great eminence, among others Edward G. G. S. Stanley, afterwards Lord Stanley and fourteenth earl of Derby. After leaving Oxford he travelled for some years on the continent, but married in London (15 April 1828), and in Aug. 1830 entered parliament as representative, with his friend's father Lord Stanley, afterwards thirteenth earl of Derby, of his native county of Lancaster. He voted for the second reading of the Reform Bill, and did not seek re-election in 1831, giving place to (Sir) Benjamin Heywood [q. v.], but at the first election under that bill in 1832 he re-entered parliament as colleague of his friend Edward Stanley (afterwards Lord Stanley) for the newly created division of North Lancashire. This constituency he continued to represent till, on the return of Disraeli to office in 1874, he was created Baron Winmarleigh. His long career in the House of Commons was remarkable for the fact that, though a strong conservative, he was an advocate of industrial and labour reforms, irrespective of party. He supported an early bill for dealing with the evils of the truck system, and took a most important part in obtaining the removal of the tax on printed calicoes, which led to great developments in the manufacturing trade of South Lancashire. In 1833 he opposed Lord Ashley's bill to limit the hours of the employment of women and children in factories, carrying by a majority of one his motion for a royal commission to inquire fully into the question [see Cooper, Anthony Ashley, seventh Earl of Shaftesbury]. He held for a few months in 1852 the appointment of chairman of committees of the whole house during the short administration of his old colleague, who had become Earl of Derby. As colonel (1842-72) of the 3rd royal Lancashire militia, he went in command of his regiment on the outbreak of the Crimean war in 1854 to Gibraltar, and on his return was appointed an aide-de-camp to her majesty. On the cotton famine relief committee formed in Manchester to cope with the terrible distress caused by the war in America, he took an active and important part, inducing the president of the poor-law board to accept a resolution of the House of Commons enabling boards of guardians to raise loans on the security of the rates.

In Lord Derby's government of 1867 Wilson-Patten was appointed chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, and was made a privy councillor. In the year following he became chief secretary for Ireland, a post he held till the resignation of Lord Derby, three months later. After his elevation to the upper house as Baron Winmarleigh in 1874 he seldom took part in its debates, but in 1882 he appeared there to deliver what was his last speech, in warm advocacy of the bill for the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. He died at his seat near Garstang, Lancashire, on 12 July 1892. He married, in 1828, Anna Maria, daughter and coheiress of his paternal uncle, Peter Patten-Bold of Bold. By her he had a son, Eustace John, who became a captain in the lifeguards, but died in 1873, leaving an only son, John Alfred, who died in 1889. The barony thus became extinct on Winmarleigh's death. In the museum at Warrington there is a bust of Winmarleigh in marble, by G. Bromfield Adams, which is a good likeness. There is also a life-sized recumbent figure in marble in the parish church of Warrington, and at Lancaster there is a portrait in oil in the Royal Albert Asylum.

[Annual Register, 1892, p. 179; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage, viii. 189; Times, July 1892.]

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