WHEN Sir George Chaworth died in March, 1589-90, leaving an only daughter (afterwards married to Sir William Cope, of Bramshill), he was succeeded by his kinsman and namesake, George Chaworth, of Annesley and Rawmarsh, "Steward of Mansfield and Oswelbeck,”1 GEORGE, 1st VISCOUNT CHAWORTH, married Mary, sister of Sir William Kniveton, of Mercaston, Derbyshire, and was High Sheriff of Notts, in 1638.2 Several letters of his are printed from Lord Cowper's collection at Melbourne, one being from Tunbridge Wells, comparing the waters there with those of Spa, or "The Aspa," as he calls it, dated July 13th, 1634. He says he finds the place "indifferent full of them that complain of several infirmities." He thinks the waters not nearly so beneficial as those of Spa, though they may serve Mr. Attorney General's turn and my Lord Treasurer's too, if the coldness of the season hinder it not, "for in three days (July) we have not yet seen the sun shine."

The following year (1635) Lord Chaworth beseeches Sir John Coke, Principal Secretary of State, to procure him His Majesty's pass to the waters of the Pouges, in France, and incidentally alludes to a trespassing matter by one Fenton in Ansley wood, "which never was purlieu nor forest." The boundary of Sherwood Forest ran at the edge of Annesley Park, and appears to have caused many disputes and poaching affrays between the royal forest keepers and the Chaworth family. Lord Chaworth ends his letter by asking to be allowed to take six coach horses and three hackney horses on his foreign trip.

This journey seems to have given rise to rumours which affected Lord Chaworth unfavourably with the higher powers in London. Under date 1638 he writes again to Sir John Coke, "I would beg the favour to know whether the Queen Mother (Marie de Medicis, widow of Henri Quatre) be come into England, for in truth whilst the question and the discourse continueth I am loth to look into the South in regard that by my Lord of Dorchester's ill will, I suffered for seeing her, and was said to be the seducer of her to come for England, when I have testimony yet living that in case I had not dissuaded it, she had been in England then before me."

In November of this same year, 1638, Lord Chaworth was named by Charles I. High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire (being an Irish peer), and writes to Sir John Coke, saying that "the world takes it as a mark of His Majesty's displeasure and as a disparagement to me," and begs the king to change his choice. At the same time "were it to be the King's dog keeper, I would do it and readily too." Not receiving an answer, the supplicant sends both to Newark and Nottingham for the post, and on November 25th, Sir John Coke writes from Whitehall, "Your Lordship is an old courtier, and you know well that it is not esteemed at court any favour to send unwelcome news. I brought your son to His Majesty's presence, so as he delivered your letter to his own royal hand: and both from his Majesty and from me was willed to tell you that your election must stand: but whereas you did interpret it as a mark of his disfavour, he willed him to tell you that you were therein mistaken, for he chooseth none to be Sheriffs whom he thinketh not well affected to his service."3

The historical levying of ship money, which was one of the immediate causes of the Civil War, was an odious duty that devolved upon the High Sheriffs, and in a petition to King Charles himself, dated December, 1638, Lord Chaworth complains bitterly, "as touching that part of your ship money which your Majesty hath pleased to command me to collect, although I have the misfortune to have the worst inlet into the service that is possible, a prepossession of the whole country that I am in your Majesty's disfavour, and am, in sign of it, from a Viscount of a Kingdom and Parliament, made a Vice Comes of a county, yet Sir, I so seriously and devoutly affect all your service.....I have hopes to give your Majesty as good an account as any other of this country could do." In 1639 Lord Chaworth died, and was buried at Langar. His widow died at a scrivener's house above Middle Row, London, and was buried at St. Andrew's, Holborn, 1646.

Their son JOHN, and VISCOUNT CHAWORTH, was already the widower of Elizabeth Noel, daughter of Lord Camden, by whom he had three children—Patricius, Elizabeth (Lady Byron), and Mary (Lady Armine). A picture of these three in a group, by Isaac Fuller, was sold a few years ago at Osmaston Hall, near Derby, and is now in the possession of the Byron family in London.4 It was by the marriage of Elizabeth Chaworth to William, 3rd Lord Byron (who died 1695), that the very distant relationship between Miss Chaworth and the poet Byron arose. John, and Viscount Chaworth, has left fewer records behind him than any of his name; no letters in manuscript or print; and it is even uncertain where and when, during the Civil War, he died. He was a staunch supporter of Charles I., and defended his "strong house" at Wiverton, in the Vale of Belvoir, against the Parliamentary party. There he entertained Queen Henrietta Maria on the 27th June, 1643, on her way from Yorkshire to join the King at Oxford, and there Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice, with 700 or 800 followers, claimed Lord Chaworth's hospitality, after their quarrel with Charles I. at Newark, in October, 1645. A few days later Colonel Poyntz arrived, fresh from the storming of Shelford, Lord Chesterfield's house, five miles off, and on the 4th Nov., Wiverton surrendered on terms, being the last of the little garrisons in the Vale of Belvoir that kept open the communication between Newark and Ashby-de-la-Zouch.

(1) According to Thoroton's pedigree of the Chaworth family, he was the son of John Chaworth, of Cropwell Butler (who married Jane, daughter of David Vincent), who was the son of George Chaworth (who married Mary, daughter of Sir Henry Sacheverell, of Morley, co. Derby), the younger brother of Sir John Chaworth, Knight, who died at Wiverton, 3 September, 1538.
Hunter, in his South Yorkshire, quoted by W. D. Hoyla, says— "Rawmarsh was at one time the residence of the ancient family of Chaworth, of Annesley and Wiverton, Notts., of whom George Chaworth was lord in 1494. As late as temp. James I. Henry Chaworth was lord of Rawmarsh."
(2) Richard Chaworth, brother of the 1st Viscount, and afterwards Vicar General of the Province of Canterbury, married Lady Sophia Bertie, daughter of that Lord Lindsey, who fought at Edgehill. Evelyn, in his Diary, mentions him as taking part in the translation of Dr. Sheldon from the see of London to Canterbury in 1663. "Dr. Chaworth presented the commission under the broad seal to the Bishop of Winchester." He left rather an interesting will, bequeathing books to many friends and relatives, and to "my noble friend and nephew, the Lord Viscount Chaworth, a picture of a great parrot of mosaick work in marbles which I bought in Florance, and also a cornelian Seal of an Emperor's head, which was this King's when he was Prince." The will is dated 1669 and proved 1673.
(3)   This son was probably John, who succeeded his father, as Gilbert, the eldest son, had died 1637 at the age of 21.
(4) John, Lord Chaworth, married secondly Elizabeth, daughter of Dixie Hickman, whom she survived but left no children.