LYTTELTON, William Henry (1724-1808).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



9 Dec. 1748 - 23 Jan. 1755
1774 - 1790

Family and Education

b. 24 Dec. 1724, 6th s. of Sir Thomas Lyttelton, 4th Bt., and bro. of George and Richard Lyttelton. educ. Eton c.1740, St. Mary Hall Oxf. 1742; Grand Tour; M. Temple 1743, called 1748. m. (1) 2 June 1761, Mary (d. 28 May 1765), da. and coh. of James Macartney of Longford, Ireland, 2s. 1da.; (2) 19 Feb. 1774, Caroline, da. of John Bristow of Quidenham, Norf., 5s. 1da. cr. Baron Westcote [I] 29 July 1776; suc. nephew, Thomas Lyttleton, M.P., 2nd Baron Lyttelton, as 7th Bt. 27 Nov. 1779; cr. Baron Lyttelton 13 Aug. 1794.

Offices Held

Sub-cofferer of the Household 1754-5; gov. S. Carolina 1755-60, Jamaica 1760-66; envoy to Lisbon 1766-71; ld. of Treasury 1777-82.


William Lyttelton was said by Dr. Johnson to have more chaff than grain in him, as everything had that grew to such a prodigious length. After a foreign tour with Henry Thrale, the brewer, whose father paid all expenses,1 he persuaded his father, with the eloquent support of William Pitt, to allow him to give up the bar and to bring him in for an impending vacancy at Bewdley, not far from Hagley.

I have long seen in his mind [Pitt wrote to Sir Thomas Lyttelton] the promise of very particular talents for the business of the world, accompanied with a sound judgement; and particularly have always marked and loved in him the strong seeds of honour and virtue in his heart. All these, Sir Thomas, are now ripening, or rather ripened for action, and it would be ten thousand pities should they be stifled, for a long time at least, and perhaps entirely lost, in the inglorious and unprofitable labours of Westminster Hall.

He added

Nothing can be kinder and more flattering to me than your thinking of putting him under, as you are pleased to call it, my protection. If I can be of any little use to him at his beginning in our parliamentary warfare, be assured it will be a most sensible pleasure to me. Should he on any occasion want direction, he will always find the surest and best in his brother Lyttelton. The director and pupil are most worthy of each other, and you, dear Sir Thomas, of the comfort of both.2

Lyttelton’s only recorded speech in his first Parliament was in answer to Sir John Hynde Cotton’s motion on 27 Nov. 1751 to reduce the army to 15,000.3 He died 14 Sept. 1808.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Thraliana, i. 200, 300.
  • 2. M. Wyndham, Chrons. of 18th Cent. ii. 1-3.
  • 3. Walpole, Mems. Geo. II, i. 213.