LEVINZ, William (?1671-1747), of Grove and Bilby, Notts.
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Family and Education
b. ?1671, 1st s. of Sir Creswell Levinz of Evenley, Northants. by Elizabeth, da. of William Livesay of Lancs. educ. St. John’s, Oxf., 26 Aug. 1688, aged 17; G. Inn 1681, transferred to I. Temple 1689, called 1693. m. 4 June 1693, Ann, da. of Samuel Buck of Gray’s Inn, 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 1701.
Towards the end of the seventeenth century Sir Creswell Levinz, a distinguished lawyer and judge, bought estates in Nottinghamshire, one of which carried with it an interest at Retford. His eldest son, William, became one of the leaders of the Nottinghamshire Tories; was returned for Retford in 1702 and again in 1705, when he was unseated on petition; and sat for the county during the last two Parliaments of Anne.
On George I’s accession Levinz learned that the agents of Lord Pelham, who had just been confirmed in possession of the Holles estates in Nottinghamshire, were boasting ‘of the great sums they had at their disposal and of how they would bear all before them’.1 In a conciliatory letter he wrote to Pelham to say that, though they were strangers, he thought it a respect due to one ‘possessed of so great a fortune in the county’ to inform him that he proposed to stand again at the impending general election.2 Returned unopposed, he subscribed £100 towards the cost of raising a Nottinghamshire regiment in the rebellion of 1715, showing himself ‘as zealous to put the laws in operation against Roman Catholics as anybody’. However, in 1721 his name was sent to the Pretender as a probable supporter in the event of a rising.3
In 1722 Levinz lost his seat after a close contest, of which he wrote:
It has been my fortune to see a good deal of election affairs in my time, but I never yet saw anything come near this, where the methods of menaces and promises have been so extravagant and the corruption so open and avowed.4
In 1727 he threatened to join Sir Robert Clifton in contesting both Retford and the county, with influential Whig support; but in the end, though ‘the whole body of Tories importuned him most earnestly to stand’, he concluded an agreement with the local Whig leaders not to stand himself for the county on condition that they would not oppose his nominee at Retford.5 In 1732, when both the Whig Members for the county simultaneously vacated their seats, the Tories ‘had a good chance of bringing in two of their own people’, but Levinz agreed to a compromise, under which a Whig candidate was returned for one of the vacancies and Levinz himself for the other.6 Finally in 1734, when it was expected that his ‘game’ would be ‘to compromise in both the county and Retford for himself and his son’, who came of age that year, his ‘backwardness to expense and trouble’ led him to consent ‘not to meddle at Retford’, provided that his son was allowed to succeed to his seat for the county without opposition.7 The bargain was carried out, Levinz being considered by the Whigs to have performed his side of it ‘very handsomely’.8 He died in May 1747.
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Romney R. Sedgwick
- 1. A. S. Turberville, Welbeck Abbey, i. 330.
- 2. Levinz to Ld. Pelham, 27 Sept. 1714, Add. 32686, f. 22.
- 3. A. C. Wood, Hist. Notts. 236; Sir. F. Molyneux to Newcastle, 22 Aug. 1715, Add. 32686, f. 46; Stuart mss 65/16.
- 4. Turberville, loc. cit.
- 5. Sir Robt. Sutton to Newcastle, 4 Sept. 1727, SP Dom. 36/3.
- 6. Ld. Howe to Newcastle, 13, 16 May 1732, Add. 32687, ff. 451, 455.
- 7. John Plumptre to Newcastle, 21 July 1733, and Thos. Bennett to Newcastle, 22 Oct. 1733, Add 32688, ff. 30, 554.
- 8. Thos. Bennett to Newcastle, 8 June 1734, Add 32689, f. 264.