GRACEDIEU, Sir Bartholomew (d. 1715), of St. Magnus the Martyr, London
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Family and Education
3rd s. of Thomas Gracedieu of St. Botolph Bishopsgate, Citizen and merchant. m. Frances (d. 1720), 2da. (1 d.v.p.) 1 other ch. Kntd. 17 Nov. 1697.1
Member, Vintners’ Co. 1679, master 1698; common councilman, London 1693, sheriff 1697–8.2
Agent for Jamaica 1693–1704.3
Commr. taking subscriptions to land bank 1696.4
Member, New England Co. 1698.5
Gracedieu was reputed to be of French Huguenot extraction. His father, a citizen and dyer, had him apprenticed in 1671 to Thomas Collet, a salter and member of the Vintners’ Company. Upon his father’s death in 1679 he inherited London property, jointly with his brother Daniel (resident at the time in Jamaica), and became a freeman. From 1686 Gracedieu was trading to Jamaica, and after the Revolution he was used by the council of Jamaica to remit funds to London. His role developed into that of official agent for the colony from 1693. He continued to trade, one of his ships being captured by Jean Bart, the French privateer, in 1693, a loss for which he was granted compensation. Another business venture was the government contract to transport French Protestants for settlement in Ireland. In this his links to Dissent were no doubt valuable: these included the management of the congregational fund in the city of London and membership of the New England Company.6
Gracedieu also made his mark in City politics. He served as a common councillor for Bridge Ward in 1693 and became a deputy-lieutenant and a colonel of the trained bands. He was elected unopposed as sheriff for the City on 25 June 1697, being described by Robert Yard* as ‘Colonel Gracedieu, a Jamaica merchant’. He was knighted when he presented the London address on the peace. Having served as master of the Vintners’ in 1698, he was defeated in May 1700 by (Sir) Charles Duncombe* at an election for alderman of Bridge Ward ‘by a majority of three to one’. At the beginning of July 1701 he took a prominent part in staging a ‘treat’ for the Kentish Petitioners released at the end of the session, an event attended by Whig grandees such as the Duke of Bolton (Charles Powlett I*). The outbreak of war in 1702 saw him involved in the remittance of funds from London to pay for the garrison in Jamaica and later in advising the Board of Trade on matters such as convoys. His trading activities continued, including in 1703 the purchase of slaves in Guinea to be sent to Jamaica.7
Gracedieu’s parliamentary career covered only one Parliament. As he was a stranger to the borough, his election for St. Ives in 1705 probably owed much to the influence of leading Whig peers such as Bolton and the earls of Stamford and Suffolk who all possessed influence in the town. There is little doubt that he was a Whig, being classed as ‘Low Church’ in one list, and his election described as a ‘gain’ by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*). Furthermore, Gracedieu voted on 25 Oct. 1705 for the Court candidate for Speaker, and was again to be found on the Court side on 18 Feb. 1706 in the division on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill. Early in 1708 he was classed as a Whig. He did not stand in 1708, perhaps because of financial difficulties. However, he was involved in a plan to settle the poor Palatines in Jamaica. It was reported on 19 Jan. 1710 that ‘Sir Bartholomew Gracedieu, a great merchant in the City, has stopped payments’, and in February a commission of bankruptcy had been served against him. Although he voted for the Whig candidates in London in the 1710 election, he did not vote in 1713. He died intestate in 1715, letters of administration being granted to his creditors on 5 May, with a second grant in February 1720.8
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley
- 1. PCC 116 King; London Rec. Soc. ii. 125; info. from Dr P. L. Gauci.
- 2. A. Crawford, Hist. Vintners’ Co. 288.
- 3. Info. from Dr Gauci.
- 4. CJ, xii. 509.
- 5. W. Kellaway, New England Co. 294.
- 6. Info. from Dr Gauci; PCC 116 King; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1946–7; x. 900, 1155; info. from Prof. G. S. De Krey.
- 7. Centre Kentish Stud. Stanhope mss U1590/059/6, Yard to Alexander Stanhope, 29 June 1697; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 307, 651; Cal. Treas. Bks. xvi. 96–97; xvii. 46–48, 338; xviii. 488; Add. 57861, f. 69; CSP Col. 1706–8, p. 435; F. Cundall, Governors of Jamaica in 18th Cent. 30–31, 33, 44.
- 8. CSP Col. 1708–9, p. 440; Add. 70421, newsletter 19 Jan. 1710; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 459; PCC admon. 5/15 May 1715.