Name: George Saunderson 5th Viscount CASTLETON
Birth: 12 OCT 1631 in Fillingham, Lincolnshire
Death: 27 MAY 1714 in Sandbeck, West Riding, Yorkshire
Taken from The History of Parliament:
By the time of his victory in Lincolnshire in 1690, Castleton was already a f ixture in county politics, having been returned f or the shire at the preceding seven elections. Bef ore the Revolution he had proved a most independent Member, opposing the Danby (Sir Thomas Osborne†) administration, rallying to the Court in the early 1680s, only to lose his local of f ices under James II. His support
f or William and Mary was demonstrated by the regiment of f oot which he raised in Yorkshire in 1689, and at the outset of the 1690 Parliament the Marquess of Carmarthen (f ormerly Danby) marked him as a Whig. However, later that year Court managers in the Commons recorded that he was ‘discontented’, and his attitude continued to cause them concern. In the f irst session he seconded the motion of Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., that the House should consider how the peace of the nation was to be preserved during the King’s absence, while at the same time remarking that ‘I am seldom of that gentleman’s opinion’. In April 1691 Robert Harley* identif ied him as a Country supporter, and his estrangement f rom the Court was also suggested by a report that he was to be excluded from the Lincolnshire lieutenancy.
Castleton was a f requent speaker in the third session, rising on 9 Nov. 1691 in support of the motion f or a second reading of the treason trials bill, and he later spoke in f avour of a Lords’ amendment, designed to reduce impeachments by the Commons to the level of indictments. He again backed Seymour on a motion appointing an early day f or considering the report of the commissioners of accounts, and on 3 Dec. demanded that any Members who had received secret service money be declared betrayers of their country, observing ‘the herd will not suf f er wounded deer to herd with them’. Later that month he collaborated with Country leaders Sir Thomas Clarges and Robert Harley to advance an unspecif ied bill. He spoke on 8 Jan. 1692 in f avour of the bill f or lessening interest rates, argued on 15 Feb. f or adding a clause to revive the bill f or taking public accounts, and later voiced his approval of sending the Lords a reminder of the bills f or f orf eited estates in England and Ireland bef ore carrying up the poll bill.
Castleton spent the summer of 1692 on campaign in Flanders, but returned in time f or the new session of Parliament. In early November it was rumoured that Court opponents intended to make capital out of the alleged maltreatment which he and other English
commanders had suf f ered at the hands of Dutch of f icers at the battle of Steenkirk. Signif icantly, a list of Court supporters drawn up between March and December 1692 urged that he be spoken to ‘in relation to his own carriage and behaviour’. If any action was taken on this it was not very ef f ective, since he continued to support opposition initiatives. On 10 Nov. he seconded a motion f or the
commissioners of accounts to prepare a report, and during a debate on the King’s Speech f our days later he ‘ref lected on the many persons in places in the House, very boldly’. In debate on the mismanagement of the navy he supported the message of thanks to Admiral Edward Russell* f or his conduct of the f leet, and on 21 Nov. moved to put the question to address the King to entrust the
Admiralty to those who ‘are able both f or skill and f idelity f or that place’. He spoke twice on 23 Nov. in f avour of employing only English of f icers in the army, citing his own experiences that summer when orders were sent to him in French, which neither he nor his offcers could understand. Indeed, he was regarded as the leading critic of the Dutch commander Count Solmes, and was said to have
moved the promotion of the Earl of Marlborough (John Churchill†), but was not seconded. On 26 Nov. he backed the motion to address the King and Queen to employ as ministers only men of ‘known ability and integrity’. Four days later he spoke anxiously of the nation’s def ences, arguing that the Commons should consider them rather than the f ailure of the allied descent in France.
Nevertheless, the next day he spoke against the resolution of the committee of the whole to grant £23,406 to f inish building a naval yard near Plymouth, pointing out that the crown should have requested that sum. He later seconded a procedural motion concerning the naval estimates. In February 1693 he complained of the growing f requency of impressment f or land service, and spoke four times in f avour of the triennial bill, ‘as thinking it f or the King’s service and the nation’s good’. He also threw his weight behind the bill to suppress hawkers and pedlars. In the remainder of the Parliament Castleton was inconspicuous. He handed over the command of his regiment to his son, Thomas, in 1694, and thus played no part in its distinguished service at Namur. He was twice cited as a placemen, and his name also appeared in the list of ‘f riends’ compiled by Henry Guy* in the 1694–5 session.
Castleton successf ully contested Lincolnshire in 1695, and was f orecast on 31 Jan. 1696 as a probable opponent of the Court in a division over the proposed council of trade. He subsequently ref used to sign the Association, and a month later voted against setting the price of guineas at 22s. In the next session he contributed to debate on the testimony of the inf ormer Goodman, and both spoke and voted on 25 Nov. against the bill of attainder against Sir John Fenwick†. His only substantive contribution to Commons’ business in this Parliament was made in December 1697 when he managed a private estate bill. In that month he bemoaned the f act that he was ‘dedicated in my old age to care and trouble’. Only f our months previously his son, Hon. James*, had spoken anxiously of the damage which Castleton’s ‘mismanagement’ and unpopularity at court might inf lict on the careers of his of f ice-holding sons, but his family did not suf f er on this account. He does not appear to have stood in 1698, but may have at least made an initial canvass, for an observer expressed surprise that he could have been ‘mistaken in his application’ to the county.
Although removed f rom Westminster, soon af terwards he was classed as a Country supporter. He did not stand again, but in September 1700 interest was made f or his election f or the county by John Hervey*, who commended his ‘great integrity and constant strict adherence to the true interest of this nation’. Furthermore, a contender f or the Lincolnshire contest of November 1701 thought
that he might put up. He died at Sandbeck on 27 May 1714, and was succeeded by his only surviving son James, to whom he left extensive estates in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, as well as a bequest of £16,000.
Father: Nicholas Saunderson 2nd Viscount CASTLETON b: 1584 in Sandbeck, West Riding, Yorkshire
Mother: Frances Manners Viscountess CASTLETON b: 1595
Susan or Sarah Evelyn Viscountess CASTLETON
14 FEB 1674
in Temple Church, London
Grace BELASYSE b: 1635 in Coxwold, North Riding, Yorkshire
in Sandbeck, West Riding, Yorkshire
- Nicholas SAUNDERSON b: ABT 1658
- Henry SAUNDERSON
- George SAUNDERSON
- Charles SAUNDERSON
- Samuel SAUNDERSON
- James Saunderson 1st Earl of CASTLETON b: 1667 in Sandbeck, West Riding, Yorkshire