Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Wyndham, Thomas (1681-1745)

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WYNDHAM, THOMAS, Baron Wyndham of Finglass (1681–1745), grandson of Sir Wadham Wyndham [q. v.], being the fourth and youngest but eldest surviving son of John Wyndham of Norrington, M.P. for Salisbury in 1681 and 1685, by his wife Alice, daughter of Thomas Fownes, was born at Norrington, near Salisbury, on 27 Dec. 1681. He was educated at the cathedral school, Salisbury, and matriculated from Wadham College, Oxford, on 19 Nov. 1698. He does not appear to have taken any university degree, but he was admitted of Lincoln's Inn on 11 July 1698, and called to the bar on 9 May 1705. He was appointed recorder of Sarum in 1706, and in 1724 was promoted to the chief-justiceship of the court of common pleas in Ireland, a very ‘easy post’ according to Archbishop Boulter, in succession to Sir Richard Levinge [q. v.] In a brief memorandum diary that he kept Wyndham mentions that he left Salisbury for Dublin on 16 Nov. 1724, and that the journey took him twenty-four days. On the death of Lord-chancellor West in November 1726, Wyndham's claims to the vacant place were strongly pressed by Boulter, who was the factotum of the party organised for the purpose of defeating Irish appointments being given to natives. The great seal was eventually given to Wyndham in accordance with his advice. In 1730, in the case of Kimberly, an attorney who had been sentenced to death for abduction, the chancellor overruled the claim, raised upon a technical plea, that the sentence should be quashed. In the following year, on 18 Sept., he was raised to the peerage as Baron Wyndham of Finglass, co. Dublin. He presided in six sessions of the Irish parliament as speaker of the House of Lords. On 20 Aug. 1735 he tells us that Dean Swift dined at his table. He acted as lord high steward at the trial of Henry Barry, lord Barry of Santry, for murder on 27 April 1739, and sentenced him to death. Wyndham was the first lord high steward so appointed in Ireland. He resigned the chancellorship on 7 Sept. 1739, and on 8 Sept. he sailed for England. He died in Wiltshire on 24 Nov. 1745, and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral, where there is a white marble monument to him by Rysbrack on the south side of the west door. He was unmarried, and his title became extinct. He bequeathed some 2,500l. to the family foundation of Wadham, in the hall of which college a portrait of the Irish chancellor is hung. This portrait, executed in 1728, was engraved by Marshall.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Gardiner's Reg. of Wadham College; Gent. Mag. 1745, p. 614; Harris's Salisbury Cathedral Epitaphs, 1825, p. 3; Miscellanea Geneal. et Herald. 2nd ser. iv. 36, 54, 77; G. E. C[okayne]'s Complete Peerage; Burke's Landed Gentry; Noble's Biogr. Hist. ii. 186; Letters of Hugh Boulter, D.D., 1770; O'Flanagan's Lives of the Lord Chancellors of Ireland, ii. 51.]

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