Thomas Foley, 4th Baron Foley

Thomas Foley, 4th Baron Foley

Thomas Henry Foley, 4th Baron Foley (11 December 1808 – 20 November 1869), was a British peer and Liberal politician. He held office in every Whig/Liberal government between 1833 and 1869.

Family and estate

Foley was the son of Thomas Foley, 3rd Baron Foley, and Cecilia Olivia Geraldine FitzGerald. James FitzGerald, 1st Duke of Leinster, and Emily FitzGerald, Duchess of Leinster, were his maternal great-grandparents, and through the latter he was a descendant of King Charles II.

Lord Foley married Lady Mary Charlotte Howard, daughter of Henry Charles Howard, 13th Duke of Norfolk, in 1849. He died in November 1869, aged 60, and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son Henry Thomas Foley. Lady Foley died in 1897.

In 1837, he sold Witley Court and the heavily encumbered Great Witley estate to trustees of William, Lord Ward for £890,000. No longer having to pay interest on the debts charged on that estate, he was left considerably better off, as a result of the sale.

Political career

He was elected to the House of Commons for Worcestershire in 1830, a seat he held until 1832, when he was returned for the newly created constituency of West Worcestershire. In April the following year he succeeded as fourth Baron Foley on the early death of his father and took his seat in the House of Lords. He also succeeded his father as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (government chief whip in the House of Lords), despite being only 24 years of age.

He remained in this post until the government fell in 1834, and held the same office under Lord Melbourne from 1835 to 1841, under Lord John Russell from 1846 to 1852 and 1865 to 1866, under Lord Aberdeen from 1852 to 1855, under Lord Palmerston from 1859 to 1865 and under William Gladstone from 1868 to 1869. However, Lord Foley was never a member of the cabinet. Apart from his political career he was also Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire between 1837 and 1839.


* Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). "Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage" (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
* [ Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page]
* []

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