EGERTON, William Tatton (1806-1883), of Tatton Park, Cheshire
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Family and Education
b. 30 Dec. 1806, 1st. s. of Wilbraham Egerton* of Tatton Park and Elizabeth, da. of Sir Christopher Sykes†, 2nd bt., of Sledmere, Yorks. educ. Eton 1820; Christ Church, Oxf. 1825. m. 18 Dec. 1830, Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Loftus, da. of John Loftus†, 2nd mq. of Ely, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1856; cr. Bar. Egerton 15 Apr. 1859. d. 21 Feb. 1883.
Ld. lt. Cheshire 1868-d.
Capt. King’s Cheshire yeomanry 1827, maj. 1863, ret. 1866.
Egerton’s family were extremely wealthy Cheshire landowners, whose association with the Tatton estate went back to 1598. His grandfather and namesake William Tatton Egerton (1749-1806) had sat for the county, 1802-6, and his father Wilbraham Egerton, 1806-31; but before Egerton assumed the same role he was returned for Lymington at the 1830 general election, as the nominee of its Tory patron Sir Harry Neale*. He was listed by the Wellington ministry as one of their ‘friends’ and voted in their minority in the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. His application for a month’s leave, made through his father, 23 Nov., was challenged by Hume, who withdrew his opposition on being informed that Egerton was to be married. His wife, recalled her kinswoman Lady St. Helier, was an ‘extraordinary woman’, who ‘said out loud everything she thought’, but ‘was not a person who had many friends, because people were afraid of her and what she might say’.1 Egerton, who is not known to have spoken in debate in this period, voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He was left without a seat at the ensuing general election, when Neale apparently thought it necessary to return a nominee of greater political weight.2
At the 1832 general election he successfully stood as ‘a thorough going Tory’ for Cheshire North, where he sat for the next 26 years. Raised to the peerage by the second Derby ministry, he continued to act with the Conservatives in the Lords.3 ‘An enormously rich man’, whose fortune might have been even larger as a reversionary heir to the Bridgwater millions of his distant cousin the 7th earl of Bridgwater, he and his wife apparently ‘lived carefully and without any ostentation’ at their London home and at Tatton Hall, where he died from a ‘severe attack of bronchitis’ in February 1883. He was evidently a model landlord and a local meeting paid tribute to his ‘interest in everything connected with agriculture’.4 By his will, dated 28 Sept. 1878, the bulk of his landed estate and his house in St. James’s Square, Westminster passed to his eldest son and heir in the barony Wilbraham Egerton (1832-1909), Conservative Member for Cheshire North, 1858-68, and Mid-Cheshire, 1868-1883. His four other surviving children received legacies of between £30,000 and £40,000 each. His youngest son Alan de Tatton Egerton (1845-1920), to whom he also devised estates in Durham, sat as a Conservative for Mid Cheshire, 1883-85, and Knutsford, 1885-1906, when he succeeded his brother in the barony.