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WENTWORTH, the name of an English family distinguished in the parliamentary history of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Wentworths traced descent from William Wentworth (d. 1308) of Wentworth Woodhouse, in Yorkshire, who was the ancestor of no fewer than eight distinct lines of the family, two main branches of which were settled in the 14th century at Wentworth Woodhouse and North Elmshall respectively. From the elder, or Wentworth Woodhouse branch, were descended Thomas Wentworth the celebrated earl of Strafford (q.v.), and through him the Watson- Wentworths, marquesses of Rockingham in the 18th century, and the earls Fitz William of the present day. To the younger branch belonged Roger Wentworth (d. 1452), great-great-grandson of the abovementioned William. Roger, who was a son of John Wentworth (fl. 1413) of North Elmshall, Yorkshire, acquired the manor of Nettlestead in Suffolk in right of his wife, a grand-daughter of Robert, Baron Tibetot, in whose lands this manor had been included, and who died leaving an only daughter in 1372. Roger's son Henry (d. 1482) was twice married; by his first wife he was the ancestor of the Wentworths of Gosfield, Essex; by his second of the Wentworths of Lillingstone Lovell, Buckinghamshire. 1 Another of Roger Wentworth's sons, Sir Philip Wentworth, was the grandfather of Margery, wife of Sir John Seymour, mother of the Protector Somerset and of Henry VIII. 's wife Jane Seymour, and grandmother of King Edward VI. Margery's brother Sir Robert Wentworth (d. 1528) married a daughter of Sir James Tyrrell, the reputed murderer of Edward V. and his brother in the Tower; and Sir Robert's son by this marriage, Thomas Wentworth (1501-1551), was summoned to parliament by writ in 1529 as Baron Wentworth of Nettlestead. He was one of the peers who signed the letter to the pope in favour of Henry VIII. 's divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and was one of the judges of Anne Boleyn. He was lord chamberlain to Edward VI., and died in 1551 leaving sixteen children.

THOMAS WENTWORTH, 2nd Baron Wentworth of Nettlestead (1525-1584), was the eldest son of the above-mentioned 1st baron. He served with distinction under his relative the Protector Somerset at the battle of Pinkie in 1547; but in 1551 he was one of the peers who condemned Somerset to death on a charge of felony. He was a trusted counsellor of Queen Mary, who appointed him deputy of Calais. Wentworth was the last Englishman to hold this post, for on the 7th of January 1558 he was compelled to surrender Calais to the French, his representations as to the defenceless condition of the fortress having been disregarded by the English Council some years earlier. Wentworth himself remained in France as a prisoner of war for more than a year, and on his return to England in 1559 he was sent to the Tower for having surrendered Calais; but he was acquitted of treason. He died on the 13th of January 1584. His eldest son William married a daughter of Lord Burghley, but predeceased his father, whose peerage consequently passed to his second son Henry (1558-1593), who was one of the judges of Mary, queen of Scots, at Fotheringay in 1586.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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