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Thomas Wallace, 1st Baron Wallace

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Lord Wallace

Vice-President of the Board of Trade
In office
Preceded byF. J. Robinson
Succeeded byCharles Grant
Personal details
Died23 February 1844 (aged 77-78)
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford

Thomas Wallace, 1st Baron Wallace, PC DCL FRSE (1768 – 23 February 1844) was an English politician holding multiple key roles in the government.

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Edward Ist, known as Longshanks for his uncharacteristic height, was a man among men and a king among kings. As a child he was so sickly that few thought he would survive to take the crown. But take it he did, immediately displaying a strength and determination that had been sorely lacking. He quickly established his authority, with his ruthless suppression of rebellion earning him the nickname the Hammer of the Scots and the adoration of all England. In this week’s Biographics we get up close and personal with the man who was Edward Longshanks, King of England. Early Life Edward I, future king of England, was born at Westminster Palace in London on June 17th, 1239. He was the first-born son of King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence. Henry was a great admirer of previous King Edward the Confessor and named his son in his honor. Edward was not a well child. In fact, he was so weak that the general consensus was that he would not survive into adulthood. But survive he did, growing into an unusually tall and rather robust teenager. He would eventually grow to a height of 6’ 2’, which allowed him to tower over most of his contemporaries. It was his unusual height which would lead his soldiers to refer to him as ‘longshanks’. During his formative years, Edward was groomed to take on the mantle of king. He was educated by the best scholars and members of the clergy. He overcame his physical weaknesses to become an able wielder of sword and club as well as a keen student of the arts and languages. At the age of fifteen, Edward entered into an arranged marriage with the thirteen-year-old Eleanor, daughter of Ferdinand III of Castile. The union was precipitated by the fear of a Castilian invasion of the province of Gascony. As a part of the marriage contract, Edward received land grants worth 15000 marks annually in taxation. This land covered much of Ireland and Wales. However, the entitlement that the teenage prince had was in name only, as the lands were still controlled by his father and the income generated went, not to him, but to the royal lieutenant, Simon de Montfort, the 6th Earl of Leicester, who was married to the King’s sister. Edward did benefit from the marriage alliance on a more personal level. Unlike the vast majority of such arranged unions, he and Eleanor genuinely cared for each other, and that fondness grew into a love that lasted their entire lives. Signs of Rebellion King Henry was an extremely pious man whose main focus as king was on building up the authority and symbolism of the Church. He devoted himself to the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey, putting his energies into this project at the expense of more pressing concerns of state. A series of ill-advised military forays, each of which ended in failure, added fuel to the fire of discontent with his reign among the nobility. Attempts were made to usurp the king’s authority and wield power away from him. The two most powerful noble factions at the time were the Soler and Colomb families, who were opposed to each other. Henry pursued a policy of neutrality between the camps. In 1255, however, the sixteen-year-old Edward began siding with the Soler family. This marked his first act of independence from his father. In the following year, Edward began associating with what was called the Lusignan faction, made up of the half-brothers of his father, who were of French origin. This group was largely despised by the nobility and had a reputation for being uncouth and violent. Concerns were expressed in the Royal Court over the increasing wildness of Edward’s conduct when he was with the Lusignans. Three years later, a body of nobles drew up a document known as the Provisions of Oxford which spelled out a series of reforms designed to give the barons more say in the running of the king’s government. The barons were especially opposed to the influence of the Lusignans. Relations between Henry and his brother-in-law Simon de Montfort had been strained from the start. Simon had not sought the king’s permission for the marriage to his sister. Simon then proceeded to amass large debts, naming the king as guarantor, again without his permission. Simon was at the forefront of the baron’s efforts to bring reform and the pressure imposed eventually led to the King signing the provisions. He was now obligated to seek the counsel of his barons on matters relating to the governing of the kingdom. As the pressure began to mount on his father, Edward remained loyal to his friends, the Lusignans and took a stance in opposition to the Provisions of Oxford. But, as the reform movement grew in intensity, his position shifted. On October 15, 1529 he announced that he was supportive of the goals of the barons and aligned himself with his father’s rival, Simon de Montfort. In November, 1259 King Henry embarked on a voyage to France. In his absence, Edward’s opposition to his father grew. He appointed several of the rebellious barons to important positions within the royal court. When news of this reached his father in Normandy, he was convinced that Edward was about to stage an overthrow. He quickly returned to London to re-impose his position. At first, the outraged Henry refused to even see Edward, but finally a sort of peace was brokered between them by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was decided that Edward was to go abroad, which he did at the age of 21, in November, 1260. He ended up in France where he fell in with his old pals the Lusignans. Civil War Meanwhile, in 1261, King Henry, with the backing of the pope in Rome, overthrew the Provisions of Oxford. This led the barons to set up their own independent parliament. With civil war looming, this noble parliament was dissolved and the noble rebellious barons fled. De Montfort himself left the country but returned two years later when the heat had died down. De Montfort managed to raise a sizeable army and marched on London. The King vacillated and seemed ready to give up his throne. It was at this point that Edward stepped up and began to take control of the situation. Any hesitancy he had previously shown in supporting his father’s rule had vanished and he was now staunchly determined to restore the king’s dominance. He took control of the King’s army and led them in defense of the realm. The rebels were ousted from Windsor Castle. A compromise of sorts was reached, thanks to the intervention of King Louis IX of France, who negotiated the agreement known as the Mise of Amiens. The peace between the king and the Barons was short-lived. In 1264, hostilities broke out once more, with the onset of what history recalls as the Second Baron’s War. Once again, the barons were led by Simon de Montfort while the forces loyal to the king were under the control of the now 24-year-old Prince Edward. In the wake of a series of smaller victories, Edward’s army met up with the forces of de Montfort at the Battle of Lewes on May 14th, 1264. Things went well for the royalist forces as they managed to force the London contingent of the opposition into retreat. But then Edward made the mistake of breaking off with a portion of his army to chase down the Londoners. When he returned to the main scene of battle, his forces had been defeated. Edward was taken as prisoner and held until the following May, when he managed to escape. Towards the end of May he teamed up with the Earl of Gloucester who had recently defected from the barons in support of the king. Over the next few months, the Royalist forces steadily wore down the resistance army. The most telling victory was at the Battle of Evesham on August 4th, 1265. The baron’s army was ravaged with many of its leaders being put to the sword. Simon de Montfort was himself killed when a lance was run through his body. Edward then allowed his soldiers to mutilate the body, including cutting off the testicles and hanging them over de Montfort’s nose. Such actions were strictly against the protocol of war which stipulated that nobles were to be treated humanely. However, Edward considered de Montfort to be a traitor and therefore, beyond the rules of conduct. The last of the rebels made a stand at Kenilworth Castle, finally surrendering in accordance with the terms of the Dictum of Kenilworth. Edward’s decisive actions and leadership skills during the Baron’s rebellion showed him to be a man of action who possessed the courage, ability and personality to be a great king. Yet, with the rebellion crushed and his father’s rulership assured, he put his focus on an upcoming crusade. Crusader King Louis IX of France was planning a crusade to North Africa in order to defeat the Muslims. In 1268, Edward left England with a force of around 1,200 men. Along with him was his wife Eleanor. After crossing the channel and then the Mediterranean they arrived at North Sirica only to discover the French king was dead, the result of a fatal bout of dysentery. Edward was now the leader of the allied force and he chose to withdraw the fleet to Sicily. However, en route, a fierce storm decimated the fleet and the French contingent decided to return home. Rather than following the French example, Edward decided to forge ahead. He landed at Acre on May 9th, 1271. The Christian empire in the Holy Land was under serious threat from the Muslim states, with Jerusalem already having fallen in 1244. The Egyptian Mamluks were now threatening to take Acre, which served as the Christian capital. With a relatively small force of men, there was little that Edward could do to stem the tide of Muslim aggression. The Mamluk warrior-king Baibars had tens of thousands of men under his command. Before departing for home, however, Edward played a part in the negotiation of a truce with Baibars. Once the treaty was signed, he stayed for a period of time to ensure that its conditions would be carried out. On night in September of 1272, an assassin entered the bed chamber of Edward and Eleanor and attempted to thrust a poisoned dagger into the prince’s arm. Edward was able to fend of the attack and kill the assassin. Legend has it that Eleanor sucked the poison from her husband’s arm, thus saving his life. King of England In the wake of the foiled assassination plot, the royal couple left the Holy Land. Upon sailing to Sicily, Edward was given the news that his father, the king, had died. Edward had been weakened by the poison attack and so now, as king of England, he and Eleanor, his queen, took a leisurely trip home. The situation back in England was stable so he saw no need to rush back. Edward made his way home through Italy, and then on to France, crossing the channel in early August, 1274. Edward was officially crowned King Edward Ist on August 19th 1274 at Westminster Abbey. When the crown was placed upon his head a chronicler reported that Edward immediately took it off again and stated that he would only wear it again when all of the territory that was lost during the Kingship of his father was returned. The new king was 35 years old, tall, muscular and militarily adept. He was the man of action that his father had not been. He enjoyed the roughest and most dangerous forms of hunting, such as going after boars and wolves. As a younger man, he was prone to flying off the handle, but age had restrained his temper. By the time he ascended to the throne he had built a reputation as a loyal friend and devoted ruler. However, he was also known as a hard man who could be harsh, even cruel, in the furtherance of his will. Edward’s reign was not going to be a continuation of his father’s weak, lenient rule. He immediately set about re-establishing the dominance of the crown. His love of power was unquestioned, but he saw that in order to retain power he had to institute policies that were popular with the people. Determined to prevent a repeat of the civil war that had scarred his father’s reign, he made lasting provision for the lower classes to be represented in Parliament. This established the basis of the House of Commons which today is the predominant House in the English political system. Welsh Rebellion During the first years of his reign, Edward focused primarily on streamlining and reforming the administration of his government. He then turned his attention to the situation that was occurring in Wales. The Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd had been handed the title by King Henry III in return for agreeing to pay homage to the English crown. Llywelyn, however, had been an ally of Henry – and Edward’s – enemy Simon de Montfort, and set about conquering other Welsh kingdoms and was now threatening to move against England itself. Edward acted pre-emptively leading a force of ten thousand across the Welsh border. However, Llywelyn’s unpopularity at home prevented him from raising a sizable army to counter the English invasion. In fact, as his army moved up the Welsh countryside, Edwards’ forces were strengthened by the addition of local Welsh armies who were opposed to Llywelyn. Among those who joined Edward was Llywelyn’s own brother, Dafydd. The upstart was soon deposed and Edward claimed large swathes of Wash territory as his own. He rewarded Dafydd by giving him a small parcel of land. That was not pleasing to Dafydd who felt that he deserved much more for his service to the Crown. In 1282, Dafydd led a revolt against the king that was soon joined by his still seething brother, Llywelyn. An angry Edward responded by invading Wales a second time. This time, however, he was determined to go all out with a three-pronged attack from the south, east and north. The English invasion was unstoppable, resulting in the stomping out of the rebellion and the death in battle of Llywelyn. For his part, Dafydd was captured and executed. Edward consolidated his victory in Wales by constructing a series of castles throughout the land. The most impressive was at Caernarvon. It was here that Edward’s son and future heir, Edward II was born in 1284. The now vacant title of Prince of Wales was bestowed upon the child and since that time the heir to the British throne has been given that title in a ceremony that is held at Caernarvon castle. When it came to foreign relations, Edward did his best to maintain peaceful relations with his European counterparts. Despite the fact that Phillip III of France was his cousin, relations between the two powers were under constant tension. When Phillip died in 1285, Edward crossed the channel in order to pay homage to the new French king, Phillip IV. He did not return to England until 1289, spending much time in the Duchy of Gascony, which was one of his possessions. In 1287, Edward took the Cross for the second time, intending to stage another, far more successful crusade to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims. He knew that success in this enterprise depended upon the stitching together of a truly international European alliance. Toward that end, he expended much effort in trying to preserve peace among the powers. Edward’s long absence from London had thrown the government into confusion and chaos. He returned to discover that corruption was rife and was forced, in disgust, to expel many of his judges and ministers. On November 28th, 1290, Eleanor died, after suffering a protracted illness that may have been malaria. She was just 48 years of age, having spent 35 of them at Edward’s side. The king was distraught at the loss of his wife. He became a hardened man in the wake of the loss, more bitter and brooding in nature. Jewish Persecution Edward’s campaign against the Welsh had imposed huge financial burdens upon the nation. Taxes were the main way to meet those expenses and a prime source of that taxation were the Jews of England. Edward taxed the Jews far more heavily than other groups. In 1279, he ordered the arrest of the heads of all Jewish households throughout the country. About 300 of them were put to death. The following year all Jews were ordered to attend special sermons preached by Dominican Friars in order to convert them to Christianity. Then in 1290, Edward issued the Edict of Expulsion by which all Jews were kicked out of England. It wasn’t until 1656 that the Jewish ban in England was lifted. The Scottish Problem From 1290 onward, Edward’s attention was focused on troubles in Scotland. Following the death of Alexander III in 1286, Scotland was governed in the name of his grand-daughter, Margaret. King Edward had made the suggestion that his eldest surviving son, Edward of Caernarvon and Margaret should be united in marriage, bringing about the union of England and Scotland. Before this could happen, though Margaret died. The Scottish throne was now in dispute. With a number of Scottish claimants, the English king was asked to play the role of arbitrator. Edward agreed, but on the condition that the claimants accept him as their overlord. In 1292 he awarded the throne to John Balliol who was crowned as the new king. It didn’t take long, however, for the Scottish people to resent the jurisdictional control that Edward held over their country. John was deprived of all of his power and the Scots formed an alliance with France. By this time, England’s relations with the French had deteriorated. Things came to a head when Phillip IV refused to restore the Duchy of Gascony to Edward in 1293. Edward declared war on France at the very time that the Scots had united with Scotland. To make a bad situation worse, the Welsh chose this same time to rise in rebellion. King John of Scotland gathered his forces in March 1296. Edward mustered his forces and marched again into battle. Many Scottish nobles, including Robert the Bruce, sided with Edward, whose first target was the city of Berwick. It turned into a brutal massacre of the Scots with many people being killed. The next target was the castle at Dunbar. Despite having the higher ground, the Scottish defenders were routed on April 27th, 1296. The Scottish army was virtually wiped out, allowing Edward to quickly take a succession of castles. All that remained was for King John to surrender. On July 2nd, John sent a pleading letter to Edward, begging forgiveness and mercy. Edward accepted but only after subjecting John to a series of humiliations, including having the Scottish coat of arms torn from his surcoat. He was then thrown into the Tower of London. But Edward wasn’t finished with Scotland. He was determined to stamp out any vestiges of Scottish independence and to absorb its people into the English kingdom. He demanded oaths of fealty from all Scottish nobles and magnates. Any who refused to do so were hunted down as outlaws. The Rise of William Wallace After conquering the Scots, Edward returned south. He now had to focus on his issues with the French. However, the masses in Scotland were far from ready to subject themselves to the heel of Edward Longshanks. Resistance grew under three divergent leaders. In the south-west Robert the Bruce emerged at the head of a gathering of nobles and church leaders. In the northeast, the struggle was spearheaded by Andrew Murray and in the center of the country forces were being gathered by an obscure member of a noble family named William Wallace. In May, 1297, Wallace murdered the English sheriff of Lanark, William de Heselrig. This act united the disjointed pockets of resistance into full blown rebellion. Two months later, with the situation reaching a crisis point, Edward was forced to send his lieutenants in to deal with the situation. He had his own battle to fight in Flanders, France. Even though he didn’t want his conquest of Scotland to unravel, he also knew that abandoning the planned French invasion would only strengthen the rebel’s hand. As things turned out, the British underestimated the strength of the Scottish resistance. What appeared to be a Scottish attempt at a negotiated surrender was in fact a ruse to allow Wallace more time to gather his army. With his army strengthened, Wallace managed to push the English from Fife, Perthshire and Dundee. The climactic battle occurred at Stirling Bridge. The English outnumbered the Scots six to one, but when the leader of the first vanguard, Hugh de Cressingham, was reputedlystruck down by Wallace himself, the thousands following turned and fled. Wallace went on to exploit the terrain and generally outmaneuver the British to win a resounding victory. Wallace quickly led his ever-growing forces to overthrow the remaining English outposts in Scotland. He then crossed the border and invaded English territory. After taking Northumberland, he reached as far south at Cockermouth. It was time for Edward to take control of the situation personally. In June, 1298 the king’s army gathered at Roxburgh, with the king joining them in early July. He marched north with 17,000 men. By now Wallace had returned to Scotland. Edward was determined to hunt him down. Wallace, however, was not keen to engage the king and drew the monarch further north. The Scots had stripped the land, leaving the English with no food and a stretched-out supply line. With his army disintegrating, Edward had a stroke of luck when intelligence was received that Wallace and his men were stationed at Falkirk about twenty miles away. The king immediately set his army in the direction of Falkirk. The Scots were surprised, but they were in a strongly entrenched position. In the end, though, the strength of the English infantry and cavalry assaults were too much and the Scottish army was torn to pieces. Wallace managed to escape and led pockets of resistance for the next seven years. But the English were able to re-establish dominance over Scotland. In 1305, William Wallace was finally captured by the English. He was taken to London where he was hung, drawn and quartered. The Final Rebellion However, this wasn’t the end of the Scottish problem for Edward. In 1306, Robert the Bruce assassinated a rival for the throne, which had been vacant for ten years. He then had himself crowned King of Scotland. He was quickly defeated in battle with the English, after which he went into hiding, only to return in 1307 to conduct hit and run raids on English fortresses. Edward, now in failing health, was determined to bring this latest Scottish rebel to heel. He again gathered his army and headed north. On the journey to Scotland, however, the king contracted dysentery. On the morning of July 7th, 1307, he died, just a few miles short of the Scottish border. It is said that he left instructions with his son for the flesh to be boiled from his body and his bones be preserved; that every time the Scots should rebel against him his son would carry with him the bones of his father. Instead, his body was taken back to London where it was placed in a plain tomb in Westminster Abbey. 700 years later that tomb is still on display, reminding visitors of the strength and authority of one of England’s most impressive monarchs.


Early life

Wallace was born at Brampton in 1768, the son of James Wallace (1729–1783), a barrister who served as Solicitor General for England and Wales and as Attorney General to George III, and his wife, Elizabeth Simpson, the only daughter and sole heiress of Thomas Simpson Esq., of Carleton Hall, Cumberland.[1]

He was educated at Eton College from 1777 to 1784. He then studied at Christ Church at Oxford University, graduating MA in 1790.

Featherstone Castle, Northumberland
Featherstone Castle, Northumberland

Following the death of his father in 1783, he inherited (at age 15) Carleton Hall, which lies near Penrith, Cumbria.

In 1793 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were Andrew Dalzell, Henry Brougham and Alexander Fraser Tytler.[2]

He sold the Carleton estate in 1828 to John Cowper. He then acquired Featherstone Castle near Haltwhistle, Northumberland and remodelled it in the 1830s to a Gothic style.

Political career

Wallace was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Grampound from 1790 to 1796, for Penryn from 1796 to 1802, for Hindon from 1802 to 1807, for Shaftesbury from 1807 to 1812, for Weymouth from 1812 to 1813, for Cockermouth from 1813 to 1818 and again for Weymouth from 1818 to 1828.

He was Lord of the Admiralty from 1797 to 1800.

He was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1801[3] and ennobled as Baron Wallace, of Knaresdale in the County of Northumberland, on 2 February 1828.[4]

He was a member of the Board of Control from 1807-1816 (responsible for overseeing the British East India Company), and Vice-President of the Board of Trade from 1818 to 1823. From 1823 to 1827 he was Master of the Mint.

Personal life

In 1814 Baron Wallace aged 46 he married Lady Jane Hope (1766-1829),[5] Viscountess Melville (widow of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville), daughter of John Hope, 2nd Earl of Hopetoun. Lady Jane died in June 1829. Lady Jane was then 48 and well beyond child-bearing years, even had she been able (she had no children by her first marriage).

Lord Wallace survived her by 15 years and died at Featherstone on 23 February 1844. Having no children, the baronetcy died with him.[6]


  1. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5.
  2. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5.
  3. ^ "No. 15367". The London Gazette. 19 May 1801. p. 557.
  4. ^ "No. 18435". The London Gazette. 25 January 1828. p. 161.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Thomas Wallace, 1st Baron Wallace

External links

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
John Cocks
Francis Baring
Member of Parliament for Grampound
With: Jeremiah Crutchley
Succeeded by
Bryan Edwards
Robert Sewell
Preceded by
Sir Francis Basset
Richard Glover
Member of Parliament for Penryn
With: William Meeke
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Penryn
With: William Meeke
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Sir Stephen Lushington
Sir John Nicholl
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James Wildman
Matthew Lewis
Member of Parliament for Hindon
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William Beckford
Benjamin Hobhouse
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Edward Loveden Loveden
Home Riggs Popham
Member of Parliament for Shaftesbury
With: Edward Loveden Loveden
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Richard Bateman-Robson
Hudson Gurney
Preceded by
Sir John Murray, Bt
Richard Steward
Charles Adams
Joseph Hume
Member of Parliament for Weymouth
With: Sir John Murray, Bt
John Broadhurst
Henry Trail
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Sir John Murray, Bt
Viscount Cranborne
Christopher Idle
Masterton Ure
Preceded by
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Viscount Lowther
Member of Parliament for Cockermouth
With: Viscount Lowther 1813–1816
John Lowther 1816–1818
Succeeded by
Sir John Beckett, Bt
John Lowther
Preceded by
Sir John Murray, Bt
Adolphus Dalrymple
Christopher Idle
Masterton Ure
Member of Parliament for Weymouth
With: William Williams 1818–1826
John Gordon 1826–1828
Fowell Buxton 1818–1832
Masterton Ure 1813–1832
Succeeded by
John Gordon
Fowell Buxton
Edward Sugden
Masterton Ure
Political offices
Preceded by
Hon. F. J. Robinson
Vice-President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Charles Grant
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Wallace

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