HILL, Thomas (1693-1782), of Tern, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. 1693, 1st s. of Thomas Harwood, a Shrewsbury draper, by Margaret, da. of Rowland Hill of Hawkstone, Salop; 1st cos. of Sir Rowland and Samuel Hill. m. (1) 14 Feb. 1723, Anne (d. 21 Dec. 1739), da. of Richard Powys of Hintlesham, Suff., 1s. 2da. (2) 3 May 1740, Susan Maria, da. and coh. of William Noel, 2s. 2da. suc. uncle Rev. Richard Hill to Tern 1727, and cos. Samuel Hill to Shenstone, Salop 1758.
Thomas Harwood assumed the name of Hill in 1712, when his uncle, Richard Hill, settled on him the estate of Tern.1 About this time he was sent abroad by his uncle, who wrote to him at Hamburg in October regretting his being ‘so perfectly idle ... so long’, and advising him to employ himself ‘in reading, writing and arithmetic’, and in learning German; and in 1714 directed him to proceed from Saxony to Amsterdam, where he tried to place him ‘in any good house where you may be bred a merchant’. Finally he was articled to Clifford, ‘one of the greatest and richest bankers living’. He remained on the continent till 1721, when (he wrote to his father on 4 Apr.) his uncle gave him
leave to go to make a tour to Cambrai, or Paris, or any other part of France, and so to return home before winter ... I perceive my uncle would gladly have me see what passes there [at Cambrai] if the Congress meets and for that end I believe he will endeavour to place me with some of the King’s ambassadors, perhaps as one of the secretaries, but if there be no Congress then I verily believe he will order me to return before winter.
He does not seem to have set up as a merchant, but his correpondence 1740-59 shows him engaged in extensive financial transactions, lending nearly £8,000 to George Crowle, and considerable sums to Lord Lincoln, Velters Cornewall, etc. On 1 Dec. 1753 he sent a message to Sir Edward Leighton: ‘I have not such a sum as £9,000 but if he pleases I will do my endeavours to procure it for him’; and on 17 Aug. 1754 wrote to his cousin Samuel Hill advising him to lend £20,000 to ‘a very honest gentleman’, Sir Thomas Mostyn. In October 1753, after consulting Bartholomew Burton, M.P., Hill invested £14,000 in Bank of England stock;2 and there is further correspondence, all carried on from Shrewsbury, about other English stocks and even French ‘actions’.
On 27 Nov. 1740 Hill wrote to Lord Weymouth, who controlled Tamworth in conjunction with Lord Middleton: ‘Lord Middleton is ready to acquiesce hoping your Lordship will be pleased to nominate me for Tamworth’; but nothing came of it. At a by-election in 1749 he was returned unopposed for Shrewsbury with the support of both Lord Powis, and the local Tories. Though classed as a Tory, he became a regular member of the Powis group, receiving Newcastle’s whip as long as Powis adhered to him. He died 11 June 1782.