Lewis Watson, 2nd Baron Sondes

Lewis Thomas Watson, 2nd Baron Sondes (18 April 1754 – 21 June 1806) was a British Whig politician and peer.


He was the son of Lewis Watson, 1st Baron Sondes and Grace Pelham, a daughter of Henry Pelham. He was educated at Eton between 1765 and 1771. In 1774, his father's old friend (and first cousin twice removed), Lord Rockingham, offered Sondes a seat in Parliament for Lewis at Pontefract; however, Sondes declined due to the price of £3,500 asked by the borough's patron, Lord Galway. In 1775, the death of Sir Charles Saunders left a vacancy at Hedon. Rockingham did not wish to lose the seat to the Government, and recommended Watson as a candidate to Saunders' election manager, William Iveson, who had inherited Saunders' interest in the borough. However, the by-election in January 1776 was contested by Christopher Atkinson, and proved unexpectedly expensive; Sondes paid £3,600 and complained to Rockingham when bills came for a further £1,200 later in the year.[1]

Watson was a faithful member of Rockingham's opposition to the North ministry, but never spoke in the Commons. He put himself forth as a candidate for Kent in 1780 but withdrew on finding that he was not supported in the county.[1] At the 1784 election, he stood for Seaford on the long-dormant Pelham interest against the Treasury candidates. Defeated by one vote, he lodged an election petition holding that the bailiff had not given the four days notice required of the election, and the election was voided in 1785, although he did not stand there again.[2] Without his knowledge, he was put in as a Whig candidate at Canterbury at the 1790 election, but finished at the bottom of the poll.[3] Watson was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Northamptonshire in April 1793,[4] and of Kent on 29 June.[5] In 1795 he succeeded to his father's title and assumed his seat in the House of Lords.[6] Sondes sold the manor of Garthorpe, Leicestershire to Wilbraham Tollemache, 6th Earl of Dysart in 1803.[7]

Militia activities

On 19 May 1798, he was commissioned colonel of the Kent Supplementary Militia.[8] This was converted to the 3rd Kent Militia, and he was breveted colonel in the Army on 13 October, his rank to last while the militia remained embodied.[9] When a number of volunteer regiments were raised after the breakdown of the Peace of Amiens, Sondes was commissioned lieutenant-colonel commandant of the Lees Court Volunteer Infantry on 27 September 1803,[10] and colonel of the Lath of Scray Regiment of Volunteers, part of the Kent militia on 20 October.[11] He held the colonelcy of the latter until his death, when he was succeeded by George Harris.[12]


He married Mary Elizabeth Milles, daughter of Richard Milles, on 30 November 1785. They had seven children:

He was succeeded by his son, Lewis Watson, when he died on 21 June 1806.[6] Sondes was buried at Rockingham, Northamptonshire.[7]


  1. 1 2 Brooke, John (1964). "WATSON, Hon. Lewis Thomas (1754-1806).". In Namier, Sir Lewis; Brooke, John. The House of Commons 1754-1790. The History of Parliament Trust.
  2. Brooke, John (1964). "Seaford". In Namier, Sir Lewis; Brooke, John. The House of Commons 1754-1790. The History of Parliament Trust.
  3. Thorne, R. G. (1986). "Canterbury". In Thorne, R. G. The House of Commons 1790-1820. The History of Parliament Trust.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 13521. p. 321. 20 April 1793.
  5. The London Gazette: no. 13548. p. 614. 20 July 1793.
  6. 1 2 Edmund Lodge, The Genealogy of the Existing British Peerage: With Sketches of the Family (Saunders and Otley, 1845), p.490. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  7. 1 2 Wise, Charles (1891). Rockingham Castle and the Watsons. London: Elliot Stock. pp. 114–115.
  8. The London Gazette: no. 15016. p. 412. 15 May 1798.
  9. The London Gazette: no. 15074. p. 1010. 23 October 1798.
  10. The London Gazette: no. 15623. p. 1288. 24 September 1803.
  11. The London Gazette: no. 15632. p. 1436. 18 October 1803.
  12. The London Gazette: no. 15942. p. 983. 2 August 1806.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Charles Saunders
Beilby Thompson
Member of Parliament for Hedon
With: Beilby Thompson
Succeeded by
Christopher Atkinson Saville
William Chaytor
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Lewis Watson
Baron Sondes
Succeeded by
Lewis Watson
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