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Hildyard, the son of Colonel Thomas Thoroton-Hildyard, was educated at Eton and then Oxford. Born at his family seat of Flintham Hall, Nottinghamshire, Hildyard’s connections brought him significant local influence.
In 1846 he entered political life, having been elected as Conservative M.P. for South Nottinghamshire. The election was a bitterly fought one. Hildyard was strongly supported by the 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne in spite of the fact that Newcastle’s son, the Earl of Lincoln, was his opponent. Lincoln attacked Hildyard’s youth and inexperience, but the ‘young squire’ still defeated him by a majority of almost 700.
Hildyard held South Nottinghamshire from 1846 until 1852. He was re-elected in 1866. He then continued to represent the South Nottinghamshire constituency until his retirement in 1885.
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