Wyndham, Wadham (DNB00)

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WYNDHAM, Sir WADHAM (1610–1668), judge, born in Somerset in 1610, was the ninth son of Sir John Wyndham (1558–1645) of Orchard-Wyndham by Joan, daughter of Sir Henry Portman of Orchard-Portman. He received his baptismal name from his grandmother Florence, daughter of John Wadham of Merrifield in Somerset; his grandfather was Sir John Wyndham, the first owner of Orchard-Wyndham [see under Wyndham, Thomas, 1510?–1553]. His elder brother, Sir Hugh [q. v.], is separately noticed. His eldest brother, John (d. 1649), of Orchard-Wyndham, was father of the first baronet and great-grandfather of Sir William Wyndham [q. v.] Being the grandson of Nicholas Wadham's sister, he was entered at Wadham College as a fellow-commoner in 1626 (caution money received on 30 April 1626, and returned in 1629), but he does not appear to have matriculated at the university in the usual manner. He was entered of Lincoln's Inn on 22 Oct. 1628, and was called to the bar on 17 May 1636. He soon secured a large practice, and in May 1655 he was one of George Coney's counsel, being retained for the defence with Sir Thomas Twysden and Sir John Maynard (1602–1690) [q. v.] Their line of argument was regarded as a defiance of the government, and they were all three, by Cromwell's orders, committed to the Tower, but were released upon their submitting a humble petition to the Protector, sacrificing the interests of their client, says Ludlow, rather than lose a few days' fees (Ludlow, Memoirs, i. 112; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1655, pp. 167, 179, 196). Not receiving the coif under Cromwell's government, Wyndham was one of the fourteen lawyers of eminence who were summoned to be serjeants a month after the Restoration, having been called upon in the first instance to consult with the judges at Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, with respect to the proceedings against the regicides; in the further proceedings Wyndham was engaged as one of the counsel for the prosecution (State Trials, v. 1023).

At the end of the regicide trials he was on 24 Nov. 1660 promoted to be a judge of the king's bench, in which court he sat for eight years, receiving the customary honour of knighthood. During the whole of that time, according to the evidence of his contemporaries, he maintained a high character for learning and impartiality. His colleagues were Hyde, Twysden, and Kelyng, and their decisions were reported by Siderfin, Sir Thomas Raymond, and Sir Creswell Levinz. Siderfin says that Wyndham was of great discretion, especially in his calm and sedate temper upon the bench; Raymond calls him a good and prudent man, while Sir John Hawles, solicitor-general under William III, speaks of him as ‘the second best judge which sat in Westminster Hall since the king's restoration,’ the first being presumably Sir Matthew Hale [q. v.] (Remarks on Col. Algernon Sidney's Trial, 1683).

Sir Wadham died at his seat of Norrington on 24 Dec. 1668. He married, in 1645, Barbara, daughter of Sir George Clarke, knt., of Watford, who survived him many years, dying in 1704 at the age of seventy-eight. His eldest son John, father of Thomas, lord Wyndham of Finglass [q. v.], matriculated from Wadham College, Oxford, in 1663, was admitted of Lincoln's Inn on 23 Feb. 1660–1, was called to the bar in 1668, and sat as M.P. for Salisbury (1681 and 1685–7). The third son, William, is the ancestor of the Wyndhams of Dinton, Salisbury. In 1657 Sir Wadham became owner of the house at Salisbury known as St. Edmund's College; this he devised (will dated 20 Aug. 1663) to his fourth son, Wadham (d. 1736), grandfather of Henry Penruddock Wyndham [q. v.] Wyndham's opinions and judgments are cited in the 1730, 1744, and 1755 editions of Fitzherbert's ‘Natura Brevium.’

[Gardiner's Reg. of Wadham College, p. 79; Burke's Landed Gentry; Burke's Extinct Peerage, s.v. ‘Wyndham, Earl of Egremont;’ Hoare's Modern Wiltshire, vi. 815; Foss's Judges of England, 1870, p. 774; Cobbett's State Trials, v. 1023, ix. 1003; Godwin's Hist. of the Commonwealth, iv. 174; Marvin's Legal Bibliography.]

T. S.