Williamson, Joseph, Sir (1633 -1701)
Sir Joseph Williamson was the youngest son of the Reverend Joseph Williamson, Vicar of Bridekirk near Cockermouth. He was educated at the Grammar School of St Bees. He was then sent to London as clerk to Richard Tolson. He was Member of Parliament for Cockermouth, and used his position to gain admission as a town boy at Westminster School. In September 1650 he was admitted as a batteler at Queen's College, Oxford, taking his B.A. in 1654, travelled on the Continent with a pupil, and in 1657 took his M.A. and was elected a Fellow of the College. At the Restoration he left Oxford for a place in the office of Sir Edward Nicholas, then Secretary of State. He became Keeper of the King's Library at Whitehall, and of the Paper Office in 1661. He sat as Member of Parliament for Thetford 1669 1685, and for Rochester 1690 1701, and was made a Clerk of the Council. He was knighted in 1672. He was also Joint Plenipotentiary to the Congress of Cologne 1673, and Secretary of State 1674 to 1679. In December 1678, he married Catherine, eldest and only surviving daughter of George Stuart Lord D'Aubigné, fourth, but second surviving son of Esmé, 3rd Duke of Lennox. As heiress to Charles Stuart, Duke of Richmond and Lennox, she brought him a princely fortune. He collected manuscripts relating to heraldry and history and purchased Sir Thomas Shirley's heraldic books. He left his library to Queen's College, Oxford.