KENT, Walter (1662-1746), of St. Michael Bassishaw, London and Kingston-upon-Thames, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. 9 June 1662, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Kent, Merchant Taylor, of St. Michael Bassishaw by Elizabeth, da. of Robert Hay of St. James Garlickhythe, London. educ. Merchant Taylors’ 1673–5. m. 19 Apr. 1688, Eleanore (d. by 1740), da. of Thomas Whincopp of Esher, Surr., s.p.s. suc. fa. 1694.1
Sheriff, Surr. 1710–11.
Kent was a distant cousin of Clement Kent*, being descended from a branch of the family which had settled in the early 17th century at Sonning, Berkshire. His father had migrated to London and thrived as a merchant to the extent that he was said to be ‘worth £20,000’ in 1682. Kent, himself a Turkey merchant, was, according to his father’s will, ‘sufficiently preferred and fully advanced by me in my lifetime’, and was thus left a legacy of only £200. He appears to have bought a seat at Ludgershall in 1698, where he topped the poll. A Tory like his father, he was listed as a supporter of the Country party in about September 1698. He stood for Ludgershall at the next election, when the Webb family reasserted themselves in the borough. A former investor in the Old East India Company, he sold his stock at about this time and went over to the New Company, but this move did not affect his politics, for at his return to Parliament in 1705, defeating the Webbs at Ludgershall, he was still a strong Tory. Marked as a ‘Churchman’ in an analysis of the new Parliament, he voted on 25 Oct. 1705 against the Court candidate in the division on the Speakership. His activities in this Parliament are indistinguishable from Clement Kent’s, although he was listed as a Tory early in 1708. By April 1708 he had lost his interest at Ludgershall and withdrawn from the impending contest there.2
Though never again a parliamentary candidate, Kent was still a committed Tory, polling for the Tories in the London election in 1713. He died in February 1746, at his house in Kingston. Six years earlier he had bequeathed the vast bulk of his estate, which included property in Berkshire and Surrey, to Jane Morris, his executrix and ‘servant’.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: D. W. Hayton / Henry Lancaster
- 1. N. and Q. ser. 12, v. 184–5; PCC 90 Edmunds, 35 Box; Kingston-upon-Thames Apprentices ed. Daly (Surr. Rec. Soc. xxviii), 146; St. Michael Bassishaw (Harl. Soc. Reg. lxxiii), 8, 63; Merchant Taylors’ Sch. Reg.
- 2. N. and Q. 52; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch. Soc.), 101–2; PCC 35 Box; EHR, lxxi. 227; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 199, 200.
- 3. London Rec. Soc. xvii. 98; London Mag. 1746, p. 101; PCC 90 Edmunds.