Birth: Mar 10, 1607, England;
Death: May 16, 1667; England;
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- 4th Earl of Southampton - Dates: 1624-1667
- Knight of the Garter
- 1st Earl of Chichester
- Lord High Treasurer - Dates: 1660
Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton KG (10 March 1607 – 16 May 1667), styled Lord Wriothesley before 1624, was a 17th century English statesman, a staunch supporter of Charles II who would rise to the position of Lord High Treasurer after the English Restoration. His term as treasurer began concurrently with the assumption of power by the Clarendon Ministry, but his death would precede Lord Clarendon's impeachment from the House of Commons, after which the Cabal Ministry took over government.
Lord Southampton, having acceded to the earldom in 1624, attended St. John's College, Cambridge. At first, he sided with the Parliament supporters upon the subjects leading to the English Civil War, but upon his realisation of their leaders' violence, he became a loyal supporter of Charles I. While remaining very loyal to the deposed monarch, he still vied for peace, representing the king at several peace conferences (as Encyclopædia Britannica notes, he attended at least two conferences: one in 1643, and one at Uxbridge in 1645). He was allowed to live within England, having paid the Commonwealth over £6000.
Several months after the Restoration, Lord Southampton was appointed Lord High Treasurer (8 September 1660), a position in which he would serve until his death. As the Encyclopædia Britannica notes, Lord Southampton "was remarkable for his freedom from any taint of corruption and for his efforts in the interests of economy and financial order," a noble if not completely objective view of his work as the keeper of the nation's finances.
Lord Southampton's name lives on in London; both Southampton Row and Southampton Street, Holborn are named after him.
He was the only surviving son of Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton and his wife Elizabeth Vernon.
He married three times and had three daughters, two of whom survived infancy. Upon his death in 1667, the eldest daughter of his first marriage, Rachel Wriothesley, who married William Russell, Lord Russell received all of her father's property. This property eventually passed to their son the 2nd Duke of Bedford.
His second marriage was to Lady Elizabeth Leigh, daughter of Francis Leigh, 1st Earl of Chichester from whom he inherited the title Earl of Chichester on Leigh's death. Their only child, Lady Elizabeth Wriothesley would marry Joceline Percy, 11th Earl of Northumberland.
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