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Werden, John (DNB00)


WERDEN or WORDEN, Sir JOHN (1640–1716), politician, born in 1640 at Cholmeaton in Cheshire, was the eldest son of Robert Werden or Worden [q. v.], by his first wife, Jane Backham. He was called to the bar in 1660 by the society of the Middle Temple, and on 16 Nov. 1664 was admitted baron of the exchequer for Cheshire (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1664–5, p. 73). He became secretary to the embassy in Spain and Portugal under the Earl of Sandwich, and at the close of 1669 was sent to Holland with instructions to Sir William Temple to moderate his zeal on behalf of the triple alliance, which Charles found embarrassing in face of his secret treaty with France (ib. 1668–9, p. 526; Courtenay, Memoirs of Temple, 1836, i. 322–3, ii. 400–3). In 1670 he went to Sweden as envoy extraordinary (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1670 pp. 330, 378, 1671 p. 173), but in 1672 he was again in Holland (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. App. ii. 9), and on 28 Nov. he was created a baronet. He was also secretary to the Duke of York, and in that capacity took a shorthand report of Oates's narrative before the House of Lords (ib. 7th Rep. App. p. 494). On 11 Feb. 1672–3 he was returned to parliament for Reigate in Surrey, retaining his seat until the dissolution in January 1678–9. On 22 May 1683 he received the honorary degree of D.C.L. from the university of Oxford.

After the accession of James II he was returned to parliament for Reigate on 27 March 1685, and on 2 April was appointed a commissioner of customs. On the dissolution of parliament in July 1687 he did not seek re-election. On 1 Oct. 1688 he was placed on the commission of the lieutenancy of London, but on the landing of William of Orange, like his father, he deserted the king, and in consequence was excluded by name from James's declaration of pardon in 1692 (ib. 12th Rep. x. 94). William continued him in the commission for the customs, but not in that for the lieutenancy of London (ib. 13th Rep. v. 46). In August 1697 he was removed from the customs, but was replaced on the accession of Anne. His tory principles found no favour with George I, and on his accession he finally retired from office and public life (Luttrell, Brief Hist. Relation, 1857, iii. 300, 353, v. 277, 313, 318). He died on 29 Oct. 1716, and was buried on 7 Nov. in the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. He was twice married: first, to Lucy Osbourne, daughter of a doctor of divinity, and secondly to Mary (d. 22 Aug. 1683), daughter of William Osbourne of Kenniford in Devonshire. By his second wife he had an only son John, whose daughter Lucy was married to Charles Beauclerk, second duke of St. Albans, and whose granddaughter, Lady Diana Beauclerk, was married to Shute Barrington [q. v.], bishop of Durham. On the death of Sir John Werden, without male issue, on 13 Feb. 1758, the baronetcy became extinct, and his estates passed to George Beauclerk, third duke of St. Albans. Some of the elder Sir John Werden's letters written while he was secretary of the Duke of York are preserved in the British Museum (Stowe MSS. 200 ff. 344, 208, 201 ff. 268, 365, 210 f. 327, 211 f. 210).

[Burke's Extinct Baronetcies, 1844; Wotton's English Baronetage, 1741, iii. 548–50; Hist. Reg. 1716, p. 547; Pepys's Diary and Correspondence, ed. Braybrooke, iv. 171; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Harleian MS. 2040, f. 296.]

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