The 4th Baron was the second son of the 2nd Baron Middleton . He attended Bury St Edmund's School, and entered Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1745. As the Hon. Thomas Willoughby, of West Leake, Nottinghamshire, he entered Parliament as M.P. for Nottinghamshire in 1762. He had wished to stand for Newark, but as the candidacy had already been filled by the Duke of Newcastle, he was returned unopposed for the county. He remained an M.P., although not a prominent Parliamentarian, until he succeeded his brother, the 3rd Baron, in 1774. He died on 2 November 1781, and was succeeded by a cousin, Henry Willoughby, as 5th Baron Middleton .
He married Georgiana, daughter of Evelyn Chadwick of West Leake, Nottinghamshire (1746-1789), in 1770. There were no children.
Georgiana married 2ndly Edward Miller Mundy of Shipley Hall, Derbyshire, in 1788.
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