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William Currie Member of Parliament for Winchelsea In office 1796–1802 Preceded by John Hiley Addington Succeeded by Robert Ladbroke Member of Parliament for Gatton In office 1790–1796 Preceded by William Mayne, 1st Baron Newhaven Succeeded by Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 4th Baronet William Currie, (26 Feb 1756 - 3 Jun 1829), was a land owner, distiller, banker and Member of Parliament for Gatton and Winchelsea. On his father's death in 1781, he inherited his father's 75% interest in the distilling partnership his father had started with Nathaniel Byles. He also became a partner in the family banking firm, replacing his father, but seems to have taken no active part, leaving the responsibilities to his brother Isaac. He is chiefly remembered for the restoration of the village of East Horsley and its manor house, East Horsley Towers. Contents 1 Family 2 East Horsley 3 Member of Parliament 4 References 5 External links Family He was the eldest son of William Currie (1721–1781) and Magdalen Lefevre (a great aunt of Charles Shaw-Lefevre, 1st Viscount Eversley), and was baptised at the Church of St. Dunstan's in Stepney on 4 March 1756. He married Percy Gore on June 23, 1794, the daughter of a banking partner[1], by whom he had a daughter, Percy Gore Currie, and two sons, William and Henry. Percy Gore Currie married the Right Reverend Horatio Powys, son of Thomas Powys, 2nd Baron Lilford. The eldest son, William, was a great connoisseur and collector of works of art, and had excellent taste.[2] He left his major collection of gems, camei, intagli, Etruscan scarabei and Etruscan gold ornaments to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.[3] The second son, Henry, went on to be MP for Guildford between 1847 and 1852.[4] Three of his nephews were Sir Frederick Currie, 1st Baronet, Vice Admiral Mark John Currie and Raikes Currie.[5], Member of Parliament for Northampton East Horsley He bought a substantial property, Horsley Towers, at East Horsley, in 1784 and commissioned Sir Charles Barry to build a second manor house in the Elizabethan style on the site.[6][7] In 1792, an Inclosure Act enabled him to inclose most of Horsley Common at the northern end of the parish and the common fields and waste at the southern part. He created an open park, grubbing up hedges, but leaving trees standing and planting others. He restored the church of St Martin, established a school and improved or rebuilt most of the houses in the village.[8] "He fortunately had opportunities of purchasing nearly all tbe other land in tbe parish; and happily for himself, his family, and all the inhabitants of the parish, he had tbe means! with which to make those purchases. We say happily for the inhabitants of tbe parish, for a more benevolent man, and family, never blessed a village or neighbourhood."[1][7] Subsequent owners of the East Horsley estate were the 1st Earl of Lovelace, whose wife was Ada Lovelace, the computer pioneer and Lord Byron's daughter, and Sir Thomas Sopwith, the founder of the Sopwith Aviation Company, which featured predominantly in the First World War. After that war, the estate was broken up and sold in lots.[9] Member of Parliament He was returned in 1790 as Member of Parliament for Gatton.[10] He continued there until the 1796 election, when he was returned for Winchelsea until 1802.[11] Gatton and Winchelsea were rotten boroughs and Gatton was an extreme example. It returned two MPs to the House of Commons, but only two constituents were entitled to vote, one of whom was William's brother, Mark Currie, the owner of Upper Gatton Park.[12] Winchelsea also returned two MPs to Westminster, but had seven voters. In Parliament, Currie made no known speech. He was in favour of the unsuccessful attempt to repeal the Test Act in Scotland in 1791[13] and voted with the opposition in the Oczakov debates of 12 April 1791 and 12 March 1792, but appears to have become a supporter of the administration afterwards. He voted for Pitt's assessed taxes 4 Jan 1798, but made no further mark in the House,[1] although on 9 December 1801 he was appointed to the Committee on East India judicature. References ^ a b c The House of Commons, 1790-1820, Vol 1, by R G Thorne, page 544 ^ Vestigia: Reminiscences of Peace and War, by Charles à Court Repington Vestigia ^ Old and Sold Uffizi Gallery ^ Leigh Rayment, The House of Commons, Guildford ^ The Peerage - Raikes Currie ^ View of Horsley Towers ^ a b The Gentleman's Magazine, Volume 99, 1829 ^ Victoria County History, A History of the County of Surrey, Volume 3, by H.E. Malden, page 349. British History Online ^ East Horsley village hall ^ Leigh Rayment, The House of Commons, Gatton ^ Leigh Rayment, The House of Commons, Winchelsea ^ Ambulator: or, a Pocket Companion in a Tour around London, Scatcherd and Whitaker, 1794, section on Gatton ^ The Historical Journal, The Scottish Campaign against the Test Act, 1790-1791, by G M Ditchfield External links Portrait of William Currie (1756-1829) Persondata Name Currie, William Alternative names Short description Date of birth 1756 Place of birth Date of death 1829 Place of death