William Pulteney, Earl of Bath
William Pulteney, Earl of Bath, is buried in the Islip chapel in Westminster Abbey together with his wife and three children and his brother. A new vault was made in the lower Islip chapel and his Countess and children William and Anna Maria were moved to the Abbey from St Martin in the Fields in 1763. The inscription on the gravestone reads:
Here lie interr'd the bodies of Anna Maria Countess of Bath Died 14th Septr. 1758 aged 64, of Master W.Pulteney her son Died Janry. 1726/7 in his 2d year, of Miss Anna Maria Pulteney her daughter died 9th March 1741/2 in her 15th year, of the Rt.Honble. Willm. Lord Viscount Pulteney her second son, died of a fever at Madrid 12th Febry. 1763 on his return from Portugal where he had commanded with great bravery and military reputation ye British Grenadiers, of the Right Honourable William Earl of Bath, Viscount Pulteney of Wrington in the county of Somerset and Baron of Hedon in the county of York, one of his Majesty's most honble. Privy Council, Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of the county of Salop.[Shropshire]. Died July 7th 1764 aged 80 years 3 months 5 days.
In the aisle near the chapel his brother erected a large white and blue-veined marble monument, by sculptor Joseph Wilton. A figure of Wisdom leans on a large urn which shows the Pulteney coat of arms, and above is a medallion relief of the Earl. Below, in front of the pedestal, is an open book, quills, palm branches, a caduceus and a lyre. The inscription reads:
Erected to the memory of WILLIAM PULTENEY EARL of BATH by his BROTHER The Honble. HARRY PULTENEY General of his Majesty's forces 1767. Ob: July 7 1764, aet.81
He was the eldest son of Colonel William Pulteney and his first wife Mary (Floyd) and was a descendant of the Pulteneys of Misterton in Leicestershire. He was born on 22nd March 1684 and educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. After taking the Grand Tour he became a Member of Parliament in Yorkshire. On 27th December 1714 he married Anna Maria Gumley. In politics he was a brilliant orator but often had disagreements with Walpole and opposed him on many occasions. In 1716 he was made a Privy Councillor and was created Earl of Bath in 1742. He was very wealthy and he developed estates in London's Soho area and Great Pulteney Street is named after him. He built Bath House in Piccadilly as his London residence. He was a close friend of Zachary Pearce, Dean of Westminster and some of his letters are preserved in the Abbey archives. He died without surviving children and his estates passed to Harry and his titles became extinct. Prior to his funeral the body lay in the Jerusalem Chamber at the Abbey. The funeral took place at night, as was the fashion at this period, and the mob outside broke into the church. Mixing with the mourners they created confusion during which the wooden canopy over the tomb of Edward I was destroyed when some of the gentleman stood on the steps leading to St Edward's chapel and defended themselves from the crowd with drawn swords and the broken rafters of the canopy.
His brother Harry was also educated at Westminster School and served in Flanders becoming a General in 1765. He was also a Member of Parliament and Governor of Hull. He died unmarried and was buried on 5th November 1767. The family estates passed to a kinswoman Frances Pulteney, daughter of his first cousin Daniel.