Whitworth, Charles (1714?-1778) (DNB00)

WHITWORTH, Sir CHARLES (1714?–1778), author, born about 1714, was the eldest son of Francis Whitworth of Leybourne, Kent, the younger brother of Charles, baron Whitworth [q. v.] Francis Whitworth was M.P. for Minehead from May 1723. He was appointed a gentleman usher of the privy chamber to the king in August 1728, surveyor-general of woods and forests in March 1732, and secretary of the island of Barbados; these offices he held until his death on 6 March 1742.

Charles Whitworth entered parliament for Minehead at the general election of 1747, represented that pocket borough in two parliaments until 1761, and then sat for Bletchingly from 1761 to 1768, when he was once more returned for Minehead. In October 1774 he migrated to East Looe, but at the end of the year accepted the stewardship of the Chiltern Hundreds, and was chosen for Saltash the following January. Whitworth was a great student of parliamentary customs; in May 1768 he was chosen chairman of ways and means, and, being reappointed at the meeting of the succeeding parliament in 1774, discharged its duties until his death. He received the honour of knighthood on 19 Aug. 1768 (Townsend, Catalogue of Knights), and his name appears in the list of those who voted for the expulsion of Wilkes in 1769. He was appointed lieutenant-governor of Gravesend and Tilbury fort (under Lord Cadogan) in August 1758 (Gent. Mag.), and this command he held for twenty years until his death. When the western battalion of the Kent militia was embodied on 22 June 1759, Whitworth became its major. Being chosen one of the vice-presidents of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, at its meeting on 28 Feb. 1755, he supported the society during the rest of his life. Having inherited from his father, who was the first of his family to settle there, the estate of Leybourne Grange, near Town Malling, in Kent, Whitworth resided there until 1776, when, with his eldest son's consent, he obtained a private act of parliament which enabled him to sell Leybourne, and he thereupon removed to Stanmore. At the time of his death he was also seated at Blachford, Somerset. He died at Bath on 22 Aug. 1778.

Whitworth married, on 1 June 1749, Martha, eldest daughter of Richard Shelley, who was deputy ranger of St. James's and Hyde Park, and chairman of the board of stamps at his death on 28 Oct. 1755. Whitworth left four daughters and three sons, of whom Charles (1752–1825) [q. v.], the eldest son, became Earl Whitworth. Sir Francis, the second son, was a lieutenant-colonel in the royal artillery, and died on 26 Jan. 1805, aged 48; and Richard, who was a captain in the royal navy, was lost at sea.

Whitworth compiled several works of reference, which, though useful in their day, have long been superseded. They included: 1. ‘Succession of Parliaments from the Restoration to 1761,’ London, 1764, 12mo. 2. ‘A Collection of the Supplies and Ways and Means from the Revolution to the Present Time,’ London, 1764, 12mo; 2nd edit. 1765. 3. ‘A List of the Nobility and Judges,’ London, 1765, 8vo. To the 1766 edition of David Lloyd's ‘State Worthies’ Whitworth contributed the ‘Characters of the Kings and Queens of England.’ In 1771 appeared ‘The Political and Commercial Works of Charles D'Avenant, collected and revised by Sir C. W.;’ and in 1778, the third edition of Timothy Cunningham's ‘History of the Customs, Aids, Subsidies, &c., of England, with several Improvements suggested by Sir C. W.’

[Burke's Extinct Peerage; Official Return of Members of Parliament; Gent. Mag.]

W. R. W.