WELD (WILD), George (c.1635-1701), of Willey, Salop.
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Family and Education
Commr. for assessment, Salop 1661-80, 1689-90; member, Hon. Artillery Co. 1664; j.p. Mdx. 1665-70, Salop 1678-June 1688, Nov. 1688-96; commr. for hackney coaches, London and Westminster 1667-?75, recusants, Salop 1675, dep. lt. 1682-June 1688, capt. of militia horse 1682-?June 1688; bailiff, Much Wenlock 1685-6, 1692-3; freeman, Ludlow 1690.2
Commr. for revenue [I] 1676-82.4
At the Restoration Weld was given a commission in the garrison of the Tower under the command of his kinsman Robinson, and, with an income of £1,000 p. a., recommended for the order of the Royal Oak. With his grandfather in a debtors’ prison and his father acting as returning officer for Wenlock, three miles from Willey, he was the senior member of the Shropshire Welds available for election in 1661, and the first of the family to sit. He was probably moderately active in the Cavalier Parliament, in which he may have served on 138 committees, acted as teller in 20 divisions, and made 12 recorded speeches. Although not one of the managers of the conference of 20 May, he insisted on attending, and was affronted by a House of Lords official. He was ordered to reduce his complaint to writing, but he does not seem to have done so. It was probably Weld rather than his cousin Humphrey Weld who was appointed to the committees for the corporations and uniformity bills and for the execution of those under attainder. Samuel Pepys found it hard to credit that such ‘a young, simple, fantastic coxcomb’ could be authorized to act as lieutenant of the Tower during Robinson’s mayoralty. His next important committee was for the five mile bill in 1665, and in the following year he was teller for prohibiting the import of Irish cattle.5
Weld was cashiered on 1 Mar. 1667 for reasons unknown. He may have been regarded as an unsuitable gaoler for the Duke of Buckingham, whose arrest had just been ordered. Though he took no ascertainable part in the proceedings against Clarendon, he was probably hostile to him. He was among those ordered to consider the charges against his friend Lord Mordaunt and the bill to prevent the growth of Popery. He acted as teller against the election of Sir Frederick Hyde at Haverfordwest. He was appointed by full name to the committees to examine the accounts of the indigent officers fund and to consider an additional Irish cattle bill. He told the House that ‘if Sheerness had been fortified, it had not prevented the Dutch from coming into the Medway’. After naming a witness who could prove that (Sir) William Penn had advised the immediate distribution of prize goods in 1665, Weld helped to prepare his impeachment and to manage the conference of 24 Apr. 1668, in which the articles were delivered to the Lords. He was teller for the motion that Sir George Carteret had been guilty of a misdemeanour on 17 Nov. 1669. But about this time Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members to be engaged for the Court by Buckingham, and in November 1670 he was granted £800 for his expenses in office, ‘the King remembering his loyalty and the good services of his relations and compassionating the straits of his present condition’. An opposition pamphlet gave this sum as the consequence of Weld’s having been ‘taken into pay under the bribe-master’. He spoke in favour of the tax on offices on 15 Dec. 1670, and took the chair for the estate bill promoted by Buckingham’s mistress, Lady Shrewsbury, which he returned to the Lords on 15 Feb. 1671. His name appeared on the opposition list of the court party drawn up at the end of the session.6
In the 1673 session Weld was teller for the Court on the Chippenham election, and was among those instructed to consider the bill of ease for Protestant dissenters. In the debate on the conduct of Lord Arlington on 16 Jan. 1674 he desired further particulars of the charge of corresponding with the King’s enemies, so that he might acquit himself. He was appointed to the committee to consider the state of Ireland. He received a further £1,000 about this time as arrears of salary due for his service in the Tower. In the spring session of 1675 he helped to draw up the address for the removal of Lauderdale, which he wished to be followed by a bill. On 7 May he was given leave to bring in a bill to abolish the penalty of burning for heresy. He offered an additional reason for a conference on the jurisdiction of the Lords on 20 May, and was added to the managers. He was also appointed to the committees on the bills for the suppression of Popery and the exclusion of Papists from Parliament. He reported his heresy bill from committee on 7 June, but it was lost on prorogation. On the same day he told the House that Robinson could delay action if a habeas corpus were obtained for the release of the four lawyers committed to the Tower, and needed no immediate instructions. He had presumably been promised a place before the autumn session, for he was included in the list of servants and officers, as well as in the working lists and Wiseman’s account. He was appointed to the committees on the bills for appropriating the customs to the use of the navy and preventing the growth of Popery. In the debate on pricking Members as sheriffs on 16 Nov., he remarked, correctly but tactlessly: ‘This Parliament is made such a precedent that we are like to have no more so long again’.7
In 1676 Weld settled in Ireland, where he had been given a seat on the commission to inspect the revenue. He returned for the 1677 session, for which Shaftesbury marked him ‘thrice vile’. He was appointed to the committee on the bill to recall British subjects from the French service. In the debate on appropriation he remarked that ‘his country that he came from would thank him for his service’. When Richard Newport desired to know what country he came from, reflecting on his Irish employment and residence, Weld told the House that ‘he served here for all England’. Though Joseph Williamson listed him as a government speaker, this was apparently his swan-song in the Cavalier Parliament. He was described in A Seasonable Argument as ‘a commissioner of the excise in Ireland; £2,000 in money; a declared enemy to his country’. He helped to draw up reasons for a conference on burial in woollen on 10 May 1678, and in the last session was appointed to the committees on the bill for the exclusion of Papists from Parliament and to manage the impeachment of Lord Arundell of Wardour, besides taking part in two searches arising out of the Popish Plot. His name is on both lists of the court party at this time.8
Weld gave way to his father at the first general election of 1679. Blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’, he remained in Ireland until he succeeded to the estate, when he returned to Shropshire and became an active deputy lieutenant. He regained his seat in 1685 and held it till his death. He was moderately active in James II’s Parliament, in which he was appointed to eight committees, including those for rebuilding St. Paul’s and the relief of London widows and orphans. He refused his consent to the first and second questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was removed from local office. In the Convention he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. On 6 Feb. 1689 he denied that Osborne (now Lord Danby) or the Earl of Devonshire (William Cavendish) had desired the bailing of Brent, the ‘Popish solicitor’. His only committees in the Convention were to prepare a bill for regulating the Exchequer and for a local estate bill. Weld remained a Tory under William III, refusing the Association in 1696. He died on 14 Sept. 1701 and was buried at Willey. His son George succeeded him as MP for Wenlock at the next general election, and sat in four Parliaments.9
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: J. S. Crossette
- 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), i. 209-12; Shrewsbury Sch. Reg. 24; PCC 66 Bunce.
- 2. Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. Raikes, 87; C181/7/373; CSP Dom. 1682, p. 81; Salop RO, Forester mss, Much Wenlock corp. bk.; Ludlow borough recs. freemen admissions.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1661-2, pp. 248, 528; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 693-4.
- 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 180.
- 5. CJ, viii. 257, 631; Pepys Diary, 30 Oct. 1662.
- 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 693-4; CJ, ix. 26, 201; Milward, 108; Grey, i. 137; Dering, 40.
- 7. CJ, ix. 261, 332, 355; Grey, ii. 241, 284; iii. 176-7, 276; iv. 17; CSP Dom. 1673-5, p. 313.
- 8. Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 3; CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 512; Grey, iv. 184-5.
- 9. CSP Dom. 1682, p. 81; July-Sept. 1683, pp. 95, 271; Grey, ix. 69; Luttrell, v. 94; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), i. 210.