Thomas Parker, 1st Earl of Macclesfield PC FRS (1666-1732), an English Whig politician, c 1720?
About this image
Information taken from wikipedia.org:
He was born in Staffordshire, the son of Thomas Parker, an attorney at Leek. He was educated at Adams' Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was married to Janet Carrier, whose sister was married to Willian Anson, George Anson, 1st Baron Anson's father. He was called to the bar in 1691, and became a Member of Parliament and was knighted in 1705. In 1710 he refused the office of Lord Chancellor, but was made a Privy Councillor. He was Lord Chief Justice from 1710 to 1718 and was involved in the prosecution of Dr Sacheverell. He made a vehement attack on Sacheverell and the high church clergy. He was also a friend of Bernard de Mandeville, whose satirical Fable of the Bees became highly controversial in the 1720s.
He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1713. He also had a grammar school built at Leek, his home town. In 1714 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Parker of Macclesfield.
On 1 August 1714, Queen Anne died, and her designated successor, the Elector of Hanover was off in his German domain, so Baron Parker was designated Regent of Great Britain, Ireland and the realms beyond the seas until the new King could be informed of the situation and take the crown. He reigned until 18 September. He remains the last non-royal to act as sovereign in British history. In 1718, because the King could not speak English, Parker gave the King's Speech in the House of Lords.
In 1718 he became Lord Chancellor and given a pension for life, and was a favourite of the King. In 1721 he was advanced to the title Earl of Macclesfield with the additional subsidiary title of Viscount Parker. In 1724 he was implicated in financial irregularities, however he did not resign as Lord Chancellor until 1725.
In 1725 he was impeached and tried in the House of Lords. He was unanimously found guilty of corruption for taking more than one hundred thousand pounds in bribes (more than eleven million in today's currency). He was fined £30,000 and placed in the Tower of London until payment was received. He was also struck off the roll of the Privy Council. He was a fabulously wealthy man possibly due to his corruption, but as this money was confiscated he had no resources with which to pay his fine. He spent most of the rest of his life at Shirburn Castle, where he was buried.
No known connection to Derbyshire.
This image is one of a collection by the famous local antiquarian, Thomas Bateman, of Middleton by Youlgreave. (1821-1861). Bateman organized his collection by inserting them into a 4 volume copy of Lysons Magna Britannia, Derbyshire, creating a fascinating and unique illustrated record of the county. The purchase of the collection for Derbyshire Libraries was made possible by the generous bequest of Miss Frances Webb of Whaley Bridge, well known local historian, who died in December 2006.