Ancestors of a 21st century British family

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  • ID: I2585
  • Name: William Digby
  • Suffix: 5th Baron Digby of Geashill
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1661
  • Death: 27 NOV 1752 in Sherborne, Dorset 1
  • Burial: Sherborne, Dorset: Digby vault 1
  • Residence: Coleshill, Warwickshire, & Sherborne, Dorset
  • Baptism: 20 FEB 1661 2
  • Occupation: MP (Tory) Warwick 1689-98
  • Education: Winchester. Magdalen, Oxford. 2
  • MEM: Sherborne, Dorset: Digby vault: MI
  • PCTS: Portrait by Kneller at Magdalen, Oxford
  • Note: 2 3 4 5

    3rd son.
    Of Coleshill and of Sherborne, Dorset, to which last he succeeded on the death of his cousin John, 3rd Earl of Bristol in 1698.
    Attained by the Irish parliament 1689.
    in 1714, the 5th Lord Digby built the present Castleton Church at Sherborne, partly at his own charge and partly by subscription. It was dedicated as before to Saint Mary Magdalene and consecrated on 7th September, 1715.
    William, Lord Digby, died in 1752 and was succeeded by his grandson Edward, who, dying unmarried in 1757, was succeeded by his brother Henry. The title of Lord Digby of Sherborne, extinct on the death of the 3rd Earl of Bristol in 1698, was revived in his favour in 1765, and in 1790 he was created Viscount Coleshill and Earl Digby, dying in 1793. His son Edward succeeded him and was the 2nd, and last, Earl Digby and Viscount Coleshill, dying unmarried in 1856, when the manor passed to his nephew George son of Charlotte Mary sister of the 1st Earl Digby, who had in 1796 married William Wingfield.
    I did have death date as 29 Nov. Perhaps that was his burial date? Inscription from vault says he died age 90, which would mean he was born in 1662? Also apparently he was said to be 17 in 1679.
    DIGBY, WILLIAM, fifth LORD DIGBY (1661-1752), was the third son of the second Lord Digby, and Mary, daughter of Robert Gardiner of London. He was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated B.A. on 5 July 1681. He succeeded as fifth Lord Digby in 1685. On 13 July 1708 he received the degree of D.C.L. from the university. In April 1733 he was made a member of the common council for Georgia, and he was also a member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In 1689 he represented Warwickshire, and he was included in the great Act of Attainder passed by James's parliament at Dublin.
    He died in December 1752, and was buried at Sher borne.
    By his wife Jane, second daughter of Edward, earl of Gainsborough, he had four sons and eight daughters. He was succeeded by his grandchild Edward, son of his third son, Edward. At Sherborne there is a poetical inscription by Pope to the memory of Robert, his second son, and Mary, his eldest daughter.
    [Collins's Peerage, ed. 1812, iv. 380-3 ; Oxford Graduates ; Pope's Works.] T. F. H.]
    The painter Joseph Highmore lived 1692-1780.
    There are two pictures at Sherborne Castle of William, 5th Lord Digby, one now attributed to Jervas of him as a young man, and one of him aged 82 by Robert Taylor.
    There are also two group portraits which include William, 5th Lord Digby. I think the ?Portrait with his two sons as boys, (or 3 - Henry, Robt & William?) by Joseph Highmore at Sherborne (in 1920)? you refer to is now attributed to Charles Philips.
    Had four sons and eight daughters. (DNB)
    John (d unm 1717).
    Robert (d unm 19.04.1726)
    6 other children (d young)
    Digby, William, fifth Baron Digby of Geashill (bap. 1661/2, d. 1752), politician and philanthropist, was baptized on 20 February 1661 or 1662 at Coleshill, Warwickshire, the third (and perhaps the posthumous) son of Kildare Digby, second Baron Digby of Geashill (c.1631?1661), governor of King's county, Ireland, and his wife, Mary (d. 1692), the daughter of Robert Gardiner of London. He was educated privately before entering Winchester College in 1677. He matriculated at Magdalen College, Oxford, on 16 May 1679, graduated BA on 5 July 1681, and then travelled on the continent. Following the deaths of his elder brothers, Robert, third baron, and Simon, fourth baron, he succeeded to the peerage, an Irish barony, on 19 January 1686, as well as substantial estates in Warwickshire and King's county. On 22 May 1686 a licence was issued for his marriage to Lady Jane Noel (1666/7?1733), the second daughter of Edward, first earl of Gainsborough. The couple had four sons and eight daughters.
    Appointed deputy lieutenant of Warwickshire by James II, Digby sat in the Convention Parliament for Warwick, and was re-elected to the Commons in 1689, 1690, and 1695. He was a follower of John Kettlewell, vicar of Coleshill from 1682 until he was deprived as a nonjuror in 1690. A sincere and devout believer in passive obedience, Digby voted against making William and Mary king and queen, but none the less sat on the committees which drafted the coronation oath and the oaths of allegiance and supremacy in 1689. His concern for the doctrinal integrity of the Church of England led him to sympathize with the nonjurors. While he remained in communion with the established church he financially supported nonjuring clergymen, including Kettlewell, and Coleshill itself became a renowned retreat for nonjurors. In the Commons, Digby spoke against the Abjuration Bill of 1690, arguing that it would make enemies of those who could live under the government of William III while in principle acknowledging the rights of James II. The support of Digby and others like him was important to the broadly based ministries of the early part of William III's reign, but they were marginalized as the reign progressed. Digby was an active legislator during this period, and was involved in drafting the Game Bill of 1693 and redrafting the Place Bill of 1694.
    In December 1694 and January 1695 he managed the bill for the rebuilding of Warwick, which had been devastated by fire, through the Commons, and served on the commission which oversaw the reconstruction of the town.
    In February 1696 he was one of the most prominent non-signatories of the Association, as he and other tory members could not permanently renounce the possibility of the restoration of James II or his heirs, and in November he opposed the attainder of Sir John Fenwick.
    Digby retired from parliament in 1698, as he disagreed with the direction the revolution settlement had taken and could no longer sit in the parliament of a king he could not wholeheartedly affirm. His stance probably offended the borough patron at Warwick, Fulke Greville, fifth Baron Brooke of Beauchamps Court.
    However, that year Digby inherited the Sherborne estate in Dorset on the death of his kinsman John Digby, third earl of Bristol. This was a grander estate than Coleshill, including the mansion built for Sir Walter Ralegh. Although Digby's existing estates made him wealthier than Lord Bristol, Sherborne allowed him more scope for exercising the responsibilities of an independent country gentleman. He retained his political connections, principally through his friend Edward Nicholas, MP for Shaftesbury, and later through his sons John (d. 1717), Robert (d. 1726), and Edward (d. 1746), all of whom were at different times members of parliament. However, extra-parliamentary expression for his priorities became more important. He was a patron of Thomas Bray, supported the goals of the SPCK, and in 1701 was one of the founding members of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In 1703 he resisted pressure to stand again for the Commons at Oxford University.
    At Sherborne, Digby showed his continued attachment to the Church of England by designing and building a new chapel and adding new features to the cathedral. He is said to have made regular visits to the Fleet prison to pay the debts of the inmates. His theological conservatism did not prevent him developing friendships with those of differing views, including the anti-trinitarian clergyman William Whiston, who hailed him as ?the best Christian Nobleman whom I ever knew, the good Lord Digby? (Erskine-Hill, 165), although in 1712 Digby had refused to support Whiston's plan for an anti-trinitarian society.
    Digby demonstrated his attachment to the Stuarts by maintaining the ruins of old Sherborne Castle, destroyed by parliament during the civil war. He refused to take the oaths to George I in 1714, and it is possible that he was at least aware of the Atterbury plot to place James Stuart on the throne in 1721. Alexander Pope knew many of those connected to the scheme, but it was probably through Digby's niece Frances, Viscountess Scudamore, who lived in Twickenham, that Pope was introduced to the Digby family. Pope visited Digby at Sherborne in 1724. When composing the epitaph which appears on the monument at Sherborne to Digby's son Robert and daughter Mary (d. 1729), Pope wrote to Digby (8 September 1729) that ?your whole family is an example of what is almost now lost in this Nation, the Integrity of ancient Nobility? (Correspondence of Alexander Pope, 3.52). He had already expressed these sentiments to others and alluded to them in the Essay on man and Epilogue to the Satires.
    Following the death of his wife, Jane, on 10 September 1733, Digby took over the school that she had founded in Sherborne, and in 1743 he endowed it with provision for a mistress and thirteen poor girls as scholars. This school was the basis for the Lord Digby's School, which survived in Sherborne past the end of the twentieth century. He also became a member of the common council of the society for the establishment of Georgia in 1733, and his third son, Edward, MP for Warwickshire, was the first chairman of the trustees.
    Digby outlived most of his children; aside from those mentioned above, his second daughter, Elizabeth, who had married the clergyman Sir John Dolben in 1720, died in 1730. His youngest son, Wriothesley, became a barrister and died in 1767. Digby himself died at Sherborne on 29 November 1752, leaving an estate of approximately 23,000 with a further 14,000 to clear debts and support his younger grandsons. He was succeeded by his grandson Edward (1730?1757), the son of the Georgia trustee, who may have confounded the expectations of his grandfather and Pope by compromising with the whig ascendancy and sitting in parliament as a follower of his maternal uncle Henry Fox.
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  • FORM: jpg
  • FILE: ~/Documents/Ged Pics mstr/Digby, WIlliam d.1752.jpg
  • Title: Digby, WIlliam d.1752
  • _PRIM: Y
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  • Change Date: 21 NOV 2012

    Father: Kildare Digby b: ABT 1631
    Mother: Mary Gardiner b: BEF 1634

    Marriage 1 Jane Noel b: 1664
    • Married: 22 MAY 1686
    1. Has Children Edward Digby
    2. Has Children Wriothesley Digby b: 1697
    3. Has No Children Frances Digby

    1. Text: Inscriptions taken out of the family vault of the Digby family, the day the Earl DIGBY was buried, Oct 3, 1793.
    2. Type: Book
      Periodical: The History of Parliament
      Author: Eveline Cruickshanks, Stuart Handley, & D W Hayton
      Publication: CIP
      Date: 2002
    3. Text:
    4. Type: Book
      Periodical: Victoria County History of Dorset
    5. Type: Web Site
      Title: Stirnet Genealogy
      Author: Patrick Barns-Graham
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