Wandesforde, Christopher, Viscount Castlecomer

, an upright statesman, was the son and heir of sir George Wandesforde, knight, of Kirklington, in Yorkshire, and was born at Bishop Burton, in the East Riding of that county, in Sept. 1592. His family was very ancient and honourable, the pedigree beginning with Geoffrey de Clusters, of Kirklington, in the reign of Henry II. He

* Life by Sir John Hawkins and by Dr. Zouch.
| was taught by his virtuous mother the rudiments of the English tongue, and of the Christian religion, and sent, as soon as it was proper, to the free-school of Wells, and there instructed in due course in the Latin and Greek languages. About the age of fifteen he was judged fit for the university, and admitted of Clare-hall, Cambridge, under the tuition of Dr. Milner. Here, it is supposed,his acquaintance commenced with Mr. Wentwortb, afterwards earl of Strafford, which grew into the strictest friendship and fraternal affection. Mr. Wandesforde is said to have made great progress at college in the arts and sciences, and the knowledge of things natural, moral, and divine; but applied himself closely at the same time to the study of the classics, and particularly to oratory, as appears from his subsequent speeches in parliament. At the age of nineteen he was called from the university by his father’s death, to a scene of important business, the weighty regulation of family affairs, with an estate heavily involved; his necessary attention to which prevented him from pursuing the studies preparatory to the church, which he had originally chosen as a profession, and now relinquished.

After this, a general acquaintance with the laws of his country seems to have been his leading acquirement, and hence, when he became a representative in parliament, he was nominated one of the eight chief managers in the impeachment of the duke of Buckingham. The account of Mr. Wandesforde’s share in that transaction, as given by llushworth, is much to the credit of his moderation and prudence. In the new parliament, which met March 17, 1628, he made a conspicuous figure, and acted a truly constitutional part, supporting the privileges of the people when attacked, and when these were secured by a confirmation of the petition of right, adhering to his sovereign. About 1633, it was proposed by Charles I. to send Mr. Wandesforde ambassador to Spain; but this honour was declined, from his not wishing to engage in any public employment. Soon after, however, when his friend lord Wentworth was fixed on to go as lord-deputy.to Ireland, Mr. Wandesforde was persuaded to accompany him as master of the rolls, from motives of personal regard. He arrived at Dublin in July 1633, where he built a new office of the rolls at his own cost. In 1636 he was made one of the lords justices of Ireland, in the absence of lord Wentworth, and knighted. Retiring to his seat at Kil r | dare, he completed his book of “Instructions to his Son,” which bears date Get, 5, 1636. He soon after sold Kildare to lord Wentwortb, and purchase^ the estate of Castlecomer, where he established a manufactory for cottons, and founded a colliery. In 164-0 he was appointed lord-deputy in the place of lord Strafford, and gave such satisfaction to the king by his* conduct in that high station, that he was created baron Mowbray and Musters, and viscount Castle^ comer. On the receipt of the patent, however, he exclaimed, “Is it a fit time for a faithful subject to appear higher than usual, when his king, the fountain of honours, is likely to be reduced lower than ever?” He therefore ordered the patent to be concealed, and his grandson was the first who assumed its privileges.

His lordship died Dec. 3, 1640, and his loss was universally lamented, says Lodge, being a man of great prudence, moderation, integrity, and virtue. Lord Straiford, on hearing of his death/, is said to have uttered the following apostrophe: “I attest the ete x rnal God, that the death of my cousin Wandesforde more affects me than the prospect of my own; for in him. is lost the richest magazine of learning, wisdom, and piety, that these times could boast.

His lordship was reported by his daughter to have read over the whole Bible yearly, and to have made “great remarks upon it.” These remarks, with other “Collections in Divinity,” are said to be lost, and so it was for some time surmised, were his valuable “Instructions to his Son,” an excellent manual of piety and wisdom, till a duplicate copy was discovered which had been privately transcribed, and from which the work was printed under the care of the author’s great-great-grandson, Thomas Comber, LL. D. in 1777, 12mo, with a second volume in 1778, containing memoirs of the life and death of lord-deputy Wandesforde. 1


Memoirs by Dr. Comber.—Park’s edition of the Royal and Noble Authors.