and third son of Earl Charles, was only eighteen years of age when he succeeded to the earldom on the death of his father. Earl William married in July, 1673, the Lady Elizabeth Butler, first daughter of James the twelfth Earl and the first Duke of Ormonde, the ducal title and other honours being conferred upon the noble and gallant Cavalier by Charles II, as a reward for his sufferings and distinguished services during the Civil War on behalf of the Royal cause.~ The Earl of Derby was appointed lord-lieutenant of Lancashire and Cheshire, and also of five Welsh counties. He is represented as being a nobleman of polite education, extensive information, and strong capacity, and with these accomplishments he displayed good sense and great generosity and affability of manners to all around him, and so gained for himself universal esteem. Notwithstanding, however, his . natural endowments and varied accomplishments, he was decidedly opposed to taking any active part in the great affairs of the State, which, per-haps, may be attributed mainly to a consideration of the hard and unmerited sufferings of his grandfather, and the ingratitude experienced by his heroic grandmother and father, the remembrance , of which, as Seacombe, his household steward, informs us, induced his lordship " to prefer a country retire-ment, as he frequently declared upon many occasions, before any honour or preferments at Court ;" nor need there be any surprise at this choice on the part of the Earl, as the sad experiences of his family had produced anything but agreeable results to their representative, who found the princely estates of his noble ancestors so disposed of~, and allowed to be so disposed of by the reigning dynasty on whose behalf they had been sacrificed, that he was in possession of no estate in Lan-cashire, Cheshire, Westmoreland, Cumberland, Warwickshire, York, or Wales from which he could not see another of equal value lost by his grandfather for his loyalty to the Crown.~
Earl William, true to his choice, led the life of a country gentleman, and appears to have patronised the pastimes then popular in the Isle of Man ; and Sir Walter Scott, in a note to the eleventh chapter of his Peveril of the Peak, favours us with a " certified copy " of the rules on which that sport of horse-racing was conducted, under the permission of the Earl of Derby, in which it. will be seen that a descendant of Wil11am Christian entered a horse for the prize. This curious document, for which Sir Walter Scott tells us he is indebted to his kind friend, the learned Dr. Dibdin, is as follows
IN5IJLA ~ Articles for the plate which is to be run for in the said island, being of the
MONÆ. ~ value of five pounds sterling, (the fashion included,) given by the Right
To my governors deputy-governor, and ye rest of my officers in my Isle of Man.
It does not appear that Earl William took that personal interest in the government of his Manx domain that might have been expected ; but his appointment of Dr. Wilson to the bishopric of Sodor and Man must ever command the approval and the gratitude of the Manx people, whose . interests, as well as those of Earl William, were greatly pro-moted by his sound wisdom, practical counsel, and exemplary piety and courage, and his Christian bearing and labour in the government of the Church.
Dr. Thomas Wilson was born at Burton, near Neston, in Cheshire, in 1 663, and graduated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he remained till 1 689, when he was ordained, and afterwards licensed curate of New Church, in the parish of Winwick, Lancashire, his maternal uncle, Dr. Sherlock, being then rector ; and we are told that there, out of a stipend of £30 a-year, Mr. ~Tj1sofl devoted one-tenth of his income to charitable purposes. In October, 1 690, he was ordained priest, and he was not long before his religious deportment and amiable manners in private life commended him to Wilham, Earl of Derby, who, in 1692, appointed him his lord-ships domestic chaplain and tutor to his son James, Lord Strange, with a ~ salary of £930 a-year, and afterwards made him almoner of Lathom at £920 a-year more ; and sometime after this the Earl of Derby offered him the valuable living of Baddesworth, in Yorkshire, the Earl intending that he should still continue chaplain and tutor tc~his son ; but this latter appointment Mr. Wilson declined to accept, being moon-sistent with his resolution and opinions on the question of non-residence. Whilst at Knowsley, Mr. Wilson appears to have taken great pains with his noble pupil, whose want of consideration and precipitancy of temper he endeavoured to correct. On one occasion, as Lord Strange was going to sign Ins name to a paper which he had not read, Mr. Wilson dropped some burning sealing-wax on his finger ; the sudden pain made the noble pupil very angry, but his accomplished tutor soon pacified him by observing that he did it to impress a lasting remembrance on his mind never to sign or seal any paper he had not first read and attentively examined.
It is observed that the dictates of conscience influenced the whole of Mr. Wilsons pious career ; and as a proof of this observation, as well as of his noble patrons good sense and accessible demeanour, one circumstance out of many may be noticed, particularly as it is intimately connected with the affairs of the Earl of Derby. In consequence of a somewhat extravagant expenditure, and the absence of personal super-vision of his affairs and accounts, Lord Derby had become deeply involved, and many of the tradesmen about his lord-ships estates had become thereby seriously embarrassed; when Mr. Wilson, witnessing with equal concern the ruin of his patrons property and the distress of his dependants, determined to venture a respectful remonstrance, although he felt fully sensible that such a step was fraught with danger to his hopes of preferment ; yet, being unable to shirk what he considered to be a duty, he waited upon the Earl in his dressing-room, and, after a short conversation, left with him a letter, calling his lordships attention to the prevailing state of things, in which he states, " Severall in the neighbourhood are undone if they are not speedily considered ; they are forcd to the last necessity, some to sell their estates, and others ready to leave the country, or to lye in gaol for debts which are owing to them from your lordship. They come every day with teares and petitions, which nobody takes notice of, and so your lordship never comes to know what they suffer and complain of." The Earl, convinced of his chaplains probity and good intentions, was aroused to a serious investigation of his affairs, and received from his faithful and conscientious chaplain the most willing assistance, and, by the measures adopted, the reputation and property of the Earl was preserved, and his creditors, some of whom had no legal or honest claim, were saved from bankruptcy ; nor did the faithful chaplain, Mr. Wilson, miss his reward, for although at first he declined the prelacy of the Isle of Man, yet, in 1698, the King having declared to the Ear], who was at that time Master of the Horse, that if his lordship did not fill up the see, which had been so long time vacant, he would do so himself and thus, to use his own expression, he was by the Earl forced into the bishopric,"* which had been vacant since 1693, and which he held for upwards of fifty-seven years, having at the time of his death, March 5th, 1755, attained the patriarchal age of 93 years, and long enjoyed the universal esteem of the Christian world. Long before his death he had provided his own coffin, made from an elm tree he planted soon after his going t,o the island, which was cut down and sawed into planks for that purpose a few years before his death. He died on the anniversary of his wifes death, which took place precisely half a century before his own.
Besides other improvements on his Lancashire estates, Earl William erected a new south front to Lathom House, but did not live to complete the whole of the work.
Earl William died November 5th, 1702, at Chester, being then mayor and chamberlain of that city, and his remains were interred in the family vault at Ormskirk, on the 4th of January, 1703.
Before passing on to notice the illustrious personage who became the tenth Earl of Derby, it must be observed that Earl William-Richard-George by his Countess had issue, four Sons and four daughters :1, a son, stillborn, 12th April, 1679. 2, James, Lord Strange, born 28th July, 1 680, who died unmarried 28th September, 1699. Dr. Leigh, in his Natural History of Lancashire, &c., published in I 700, pays the following tribute to the memory of James, Lord Strange, the pupil of Bishop Wilson :" This young nobleman, in the ripening bloom of his years, had all the marks of a sweet temper, real honour, and solid judgment, that in those days could possibly be expected ; but to the unspeakable loss of his parents, and the universal sorrow of the whole country, he unfortunately died the last year (1699) at Venice, of the small-pox, in the course of his travels." The remains of the youthful nobleman were brought over to England, and buried with those of his ancestors in the Derby Vault at Ormskirk. :3, Elizabeth, born I 9th November, 1681 , died 30th July, 1682, and buried at Ormskirk. 4, William, born 24th August, 1683, died 5th April, 1 684, and buried at Ormskirk. 5, Thomas, born 21st April, 1685, died in April, and was buried at Ormskirk, on the 20th April, 1 687. 6, Henriette Maria, born 10th January, 1686-7, and was married, first, May 21st, 1706, to John Annesley, fourth Earl of Anglesey, who died on the 18th of September, 1710, and was buried at Fain-borough, the issue by this union being an only daughter, Elizabeth, born in May, 1710, and died before the Earl ; and for her second husband the Countess Dowager of Anglesey, on the 24th July, 1714, was married to John, third Lord Ash-burnham,* who was created Earl 14th May, 1730 ; and by this marriage was transferred to Lord Ashburnham Lathom House, with the estate belonging thereto, which was after-wards sold to Mr. Henry Furnese, from whom it passed by purchase, in 1724, to Sir Thomas Bootle, Knight, of Melling, whose niece and heiress, Mary, daughter and sole heiress of Robert Bootle, Esq., of Lathom House, married Richard Wilbraham, Esq., of Rode, M.P. for Chester, and great grand-father of the present Lord Skelmersdale : The issue of Lord and Lady Ashburnham was an only daughter, Henrietta-Bridget, who died unmarried on the 8th of August, 1732. Lady Ashburnham died on the 26th of June, 1718, being only thirty-one years of age, and the Earl Ashburnham died on the 10th of March, 1736-7. 7, a daughter, stillborn, 13th December, 1691. 8, Elizabeth, born 16th April, 1697, and died unmarried on the 24th April, 1714, in the eighteenth year of her age.
Earl William-Richard-George having died without surviving male issue, the barony of Strange, by writ of 1628, fell into abeyance between his two surviving daughters and co-heiresses, the Lady Henrietta-Maria (afterwards Lady Ashburnham) and the Lady Elizabeth, the latter of whom, and also the Lady Henrietta-Bridget (only daughter of Lord and Lady Ashburnham) died, as already stated, unmarried, consequently the barony of Strange reverted to their uncle James, to whom the honours of the earldom of Derby had also devolved.
* The Duke of Ormonde marriedhis cousin Lady Elizabeth Preston Baroness DftilW&U and was father of the " gallant Earl of Ossory," who was summoned by writ to the Parliament of England in 1665, as Lord Butler, of More Park, and died before his father. in 1680, leaving by his wife, Lady Amelia Nassau, eldest daughter of Louis, Lord BeverWacot, son of Maurice, Prince of Orange.