Wortley, Francis (DNB00)
WORTLEY, Sir FRANCIS (1591−1652), poet, born in 1591, was son of Sir Richard Wortley, knight, by Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Boughton of Cawston, Warwickshire, who became after Sir Richard's death (1603) the wife of William Cavendish, earl of Devonshire (Hunter, South Yorkshire, ii. 316). Wortley matriculated from Magdalen College, Oxford, on 17 Feb. 1608−9, was knighted on 15 Jan. 1610, and created a baronet on 29 June 1611 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500−1714). In the three parliaments of 1624, 1625, and 1626 he represented East Retford, and was one of the candidates of Sir Thomas Wentworth for Yorkshire in 1625 (Cartwright, Chapters of Yorkshire History, 1872, pp. 216−28; Strafford Letters, i. 29). He was assessed 30l. towards the forced loan of 1626 and made some opposition to its payment (ib. pp. 236, 350). In 1626 he had a duel with Sir John Savile and was reported to be killed (Court and Times of Charles I, i. 143; Hunter, p. 317). Wood describes Wortley as an ‘ingenious gentleman,’ who trod ‘in the steps of his worthy ancestors in hospitality, charity, and good neighbourhood.’ He was a friend of Ben Jonson, and contributed to ‘Jonsonus Virbius’ (1638). In September 1639 he entertained John Taylor (1580−1653) [q. v.], the water poet, who has left an account of his visit to Wharncliffe (Part of this Summer's Travels, or News from Hell, Hull, and Halifax, p. 23). In the disputes which preceded the beginning of the civil war Wortley distinguished himself by his zeal for the king, whom he accompanied in the attempt to obtain possession of Hull (Vicars, Parl. Chron. i. 81; cf. Wortley, Declaration in Vindication of himself, 1642). The House of Commons on 25 April 1642 ordered him to be sent for as a delinquent, but the vote was fruitless (Commons' Journals, ii. 540). He garrisoned his house at Wortley with 150 dragoons, and was one of the most active supporters of the king in south Yorkshire (Hunter, ii. 317). On 3 June 1644 Wortley was captured by the parliamentarians at the taking of Walton House, and on 22 Aug. following he was sent to the Tower (Rushworth, v. 622; Commons' Journals, iii. 603). In the Tower he remained for several years, suffering, like other royalist prisoners, great hardships because parliament confiscated their estates and made no allowance for their maintenance, in spite of repeated petitions (A true Relation of the Unparalleled Oppression imposed upon the Gentlemen Prisoners in the Tower, 1647, 4to). On 19 Aug. 1647 King Charles sent the prisoners in the Tower a brace of fat bucks for a feast, which gift and banquet Wortley celebrated in a ballad containing characters of the different prisoners. Of himself he says:
Frank Wortley hath a jovial soul,
Yet never was good clubman;
He's for the bishops and the church,
But can endure no tubman
(Wright, Political Ballads published during the Commonwealth, 1841, p. 91). About 1649 or perhaps earlier he was released from the Tower, compounded for his estate, and, being much in debt, ‘lived in the White Friars near Fleet Street in London,’ where, according to Wood, he died (Athenæ Oxon. iii. 392). In his will, dated 9 Sept. 1652, he desired to be buried at Windsor with his father. It was proved in London, 13 Sept. 1652, by his son, Sir Francis (Jackson, Yorkshire Diaries, i. 281).
Wortley is described as ‘a tall proper man, with grey hair’ (ib.) An engraved portrait is mentioned by Bromley (p. 81). He married Grace, daughter of Sir William Brouncker of Melksham, Wiltshire, and had by her two children: Sir Francis, who succeeded him; and Margaret, married to Sir Henry Griffith, bart., of Agnes Burton, Yorkshire. Sarah, his daughter by his second wife, Hester, daughter of George Smithies, alderman of London, and widow of Alderman Eyre of Coleman Street, married Roger Bretteridge of Newhall, Yorkshire (Calendar of the Committee for Compounding, p. 1376; Hunter, ii. 325). Sir Francis Wortley, the second baronet, married Frances, daughter of Sir William Faunt of Freeston, Lincolnshire, but died on 14 March 1665, leaving no legitimate issue. He bequeathed his estates to his natural daughter, Anne Newcomen, and she married Sidney Montagu (second son of the first Earl of Sandwich), who took the name of Wortley (ib. ii. 319; Yorkshire Diaries, i. 282).
Wortley was the author of: 1. ‘His Duty delineated in his Pious Pity and Christian Commiseration of the Sorrows of ... Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia,’ 1641, 4to (quoted by Bliss in his edition of Wood's Atheneæ, iii. 391). 2. ‘Lines dedicated to Fame and Truth,’ 1642, 4to (on the same subject). 3. ‘Characters and Elegies,’ 1646, 4to. This consists chiefly of poems on the royalist noblemen and gentlemen killed during thewar. Specimens of the characters are printed in Bliss's edition of Earle's ‘Microcosmography,’ 1811, pp. 298, 299. 4. ‘A Loyal Song of the Royal Feast kept by the Prisoners in the Tower,’ 1647, fol. (reprinted in Wright's Political Ballads published during the Commonwealth, Percy Soc. 1841, p. 87). 5. ‘Mercurius Britannicus his Welcome to Hell,’ 1647, 4to. He wrote also two prose pamphlets: 6. ‘Declaration in Vindication of himself from divers Aspersions and Rumours concerning the drawing of his Sword and other Actions,’ 1642, 4to (reprinted in the Yorkshire Archæological Journal, viii. 395). 7. ‘Truth asserted by the Doctrine and Practice of the Apostles, &c., viz. that Episcopacy is Jure Divino,’ 1642, 4to.
[A Life of Wortley and a pedigree of the Family are contained in Hunter's South Yorkshire, ii. 316−18, 324; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 391; Yorkshire Royalist Composition Papers, ii. Go, 197, iii. 39; Harleian MS. 2100; other authorities mentioned in the article.]