WILLOUGHBY, Hon. Francis (1692-1758), of Wollaton, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. 4 Oct. 1692, 1st s. of (Sir) Thomas Willoughby (2nd Bt.*), 1st Baron Middleton; bro. of Hon. Thomas Willoughby†. educ. Eton 1706–7; Jesus, Camb. 1709–12, MA 1712. m. 25 July 1723, Mary, da. and coh. of Thomas Edwards*, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. as 2nd Baron Middleton 2 Apr. 1729.
Freeman, Nottingham 1712.1
After being elevated to the peerage in 1712 as Lord Middleton, Willoughby’s father was keen to prepare the ground for the entry of his eldest son into politics. Thus Willoughby became a freeman of Nottingham later that year and his father pressed Lord Oxford (Robert Harley*) to put him into the commission of the peace. Middleton was also worried that the next general election might be called before his son came of age and might therefore be hindered by legislation designed to exclude minors from the House. He received the following assurance from the Harleys through Matthew Brailsford, that
your son’s not being of age when chose will not be any hindrance to his sitting in the House if he be of age when he comes to sit there; there having been many instances in his favour since the making of that Act, and none ever put to the trouble of a new election in that case.
Returned unopposed in the election of 1713 (when still a few weeks short of his 21st birthday), he does not seem to have been active in the Commons. He appears as a Tory on the Worsley list and on two comparative analyses of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments. He continued to represent the county until his defeat there in 1722, whereupon he found refuge at Tamworth. He died at Bath on 31 July 1758.2