1893 text

William Wilde, elected Recorder on November 3rd, 1659, and appointed one of the commissioners sent to Breda to desire Charles II. to return to England immediately. He was knighted after the King’s return, called to the degree of Serjeant, and created a baronet, all in the same year. In 1668 he ceased to be Recorder, and was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas. In 1673 he was removed to the King’s Bench. He was turned out of his office in 1679 on account of his action in connection with the Popish Plot, and died November 23rd of the same year.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

4 Annotations

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In 1667, Sir William Wilde MP was a King’s serjeant at law, and one of 22 Fire Court judges responsible for sorting out the legal entanglements for the rebuilding of London, after the Great Fire of 1666. In 1668 he was promoted to be a Justice in the Court of Common Pleas. The Fire Court process lasted 10 years, and the judges -- to their great credit -- refused all fees. Because of their work, London was largely rebuilt in that time. For more info., see
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/… for the Fire Courts, and his Parliamentary bio at

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

William Wilde (1611 - 1679) was the son of a London merchant, who became a professional lawyer, and was elected recorder shortly after the military coup d’état in 1659.
On 3 Dec. he was commissioned to see Gen. Charles Fleetwood ‘to prevent any misunderstanding between the army and the City’.

He was one of the London Presbyterians believed to favor a Restoration, and in Feb. 1660 it was suggested that Charles II should write to him.

At the general election of 1660, he was returned unopposed for London, and was granted an allowance for diet and boat-hire by the corporation.
He was included in Lord Wharton’s list of friends to be managed by Sir Thomas Widdrington; he was sufficiently acceptable to Anglicans to be sent to ask Dr, Gauden to preach before the Convention Parliament.

A moderately active Member, he was appointed to 17 committees, including one considering the answer to the declaration of Breda, and made 8 recorded speeches.
He brought in the ordinance for the 3 months’ assessment on 7 May, and took the chair in the committee.

William Wilde was knighted May 16, 1660, on presenting the loyal address from the City, which he had helped to draft.
On his return he was put on the committees to consider Queen Mother Henrietta Maria’s jointure, and the petition from the City against the naturalization bill.

On 9 Aug. when it was proposed to send a committee of Members into the City to seek a loan of £100,000, he ‘said he thought the City would not lend it until the bill of indemnity was passed’.
As one of those Members, he made ‘a long speech’ opposing the loan because of the delay in passing the bill of indemnity, the uncertainty of those who had purchased lands during the Interregnum, the innovations in church government, and the sudden decay of trade.
On 17 Aug. on a report of a conference between the two Houses on the Lords’ amendments to the bill of indemnity, he declared he could not agree with the Lords ‘to except all the King’s judges for life’.
On 22 Aug. he moved successfully that Sir Arthur Hesilrige might be spared, as Gen. Monck had undertaken.

On the adjournment he was given a baronetcy, and in the second session he was appointed to the committees to bring in a bill for modified episcopacy, and to insert the excise clause in the bill for the abolition of feudal tenures.

Wilde was nominated for London by the court party in 1661, but there was answer made, ‘We have been too wild already’, because he had failed to oppose the excise, and he did not go to the poll.
It was reported Sir George Booth would recommend him at Chester, but he is not known to have stood.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In 1668 Sir William Wilde MP became a judge.

In February 1679, during the Popish Plot uproar, Judge Sir William Wilde sentenced 3 persons for the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey JP on evidence provided by William Bedloe,
but in March he caught Bedlow altering his sworn evidence from these trials, and he told him ‘he was a perjured man and ought to come no more into courts but to go home and repent’.
His plain speaking cost him his place, but he was given a pension of £500 p.a. ‘in consideration of his good service’ on the bench.

Sir William Wilde, MP, 1st Bart. died on 23 Nov. 1679, aged 68, and was buried in the Temple Church.

Wilde married 3 times:
(1) 6 July 1630, Hannah (d. Sept. 1630), da. of Matthew Terry, vintner, of London;
(2) by 1652, Jane (d. 23 Aug. 1661), da. of Felix Wilson of Hanwell, Mdx., 1s.;
(3) lic. 30 Oct. 1662, Frances, da. of Thomas Barcroft of London, 1s. d.v.p. 3da.

From his Parliamentary biography:

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