SHEPHEARD, Samuel II (1677-1748), of London, and Exning, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



8 Jan. - 17 Mar. 1701
1708 - 9 Feb. 1710
22 Feb. 1710 - 1715
27 May 1715 - 1722
19 Nov. 1724 - 1747
1747 - 24 Apr. 1748

Family and Education

bap. 3 Dec. 1677, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Samuel Shepheard I*; bro. of Francis Shepheard*. unm. 1da. illegit.  suc. fa. in part of estate 1719, er. bro. 1739.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Cambridge 1706.2

Commr. taking subscriptions to S. Sea Co. 1711.3

Dir. E. I. Co. 1717–20.4


In common with his elder brother Francis, Shepheard was encouraged by their father’s commercial success to become a wine merchant. Moreover, Shepheard snr. was also instrumental in establishing Samuel’s parliamentary career, putting him forward at the general election of January 1701 to advance the interest of the New East India Company. After an unsuccessful attempt to gain a seat at Wootton Bassett, Samuel jnr. was brought in at Malmesbury through the agency of Lords Halifax (Charles Montagu*) and Wharton (Hon. Thomas*). However, the opening of the new Parliament saw the New Company’s leaders denounced for their electioneering tactics, and his return was contested. The House found his father guilty of endeavouring to corrupt the electorate of Malmesbury (15 Mar.), and on 17 Mar. the younger Shepheard was brought to the bar to answer charges. He offered no defence, submitting himself to the ‘pleasure of the House’, and only hoping for its ‘favourable censure’. In addition, he expressed regret that he had disobeyed his father’s orders, evidently hoping thereby to help Shepheard snr., who had yet to receive punishment. The Commons responded by discharging the younger Shepheard, and his speech was regarded as ‘too thin a disguise to influence the House in favour of either of them’.5

Perhaps chastened by this experience, Shepheard did not seek a seat at either of the next two general elections. He clearly retained parliamentary ambitions, for in June 1703 his father revealed that his son was keen to be returned at Higham Ferrers, as long as he could be sure that he was ‘fairly and infallibly chosen’. Such hopes were not fulfilled, and he does not appear to have sought election in 1705. He subsequently channelled his efforts into seeking a return at Cambridge, even though boasting no interest there. However, with the aid of the Cotton family, leaders of the Cambridge Tories, he quickly established himself. Moreover, ‘for several years’ before the general election of 1708 his father treated corporation members at the Rose Tavern in Cambridge, thereby consolidating his son’s local position. In February 1708 the Tory Hon. Arthur Annesley* confirmed the younger Samuel Shepheard’s switch of political loyalties by recommending his candidacy at Cambridge, observing that ‘his character is such that the honest gentlemen in our House join in this request’. Shepheard still had to fight a contest to gain election, but once in the House, he was identified by a parliamentary list as a Tory, and his return was classed by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) as a ‘loss’ for the Whigs.6

During the 1709–10 session Shepheard faced a challenge to his seat from the defeated candidate at Cambridge in 1708, Thomas Bendyshe, who had persisted in his campaign to overturn Shepheard’s return. On 9 Feb. 1710 the elections committee reported in Shepheard’s favour, he having gained a majority ‘by above 50 voices’ in committee. However, the House ruled the election void, and it was observed of Shepheard that ‘the Whigs threw him out’. He therefore had to contest a by-election later that month, but emerged victorious with an increased majority over his rival Bendyshe. In the remainder of the session he demonstrated his party loyalties by voting against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.7

Shepheard gained an uncontested return at the Cambridge election of 1710, and was classed in the ‘Hanover list’ as a Tory. In the first session he was an obvious choice for the committee to examine abuses in the victualling commission, having supplied wine and oil to the navy. However, the return of James Sheppard as Member for Honiton on 17 Feb. 1711 obscures his subsequent activity, particularly as Sheppard shared his Tory sympathies. Shepheard’s politics were consistent at this time, for he was listed as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the first session discovered the mismanagements of the previous ministry, and was also heralded in 1711 as a ‘Tory patriot’ for opposing the continuation of the war. He was also listed as a member of the October Club. 8

In the next session Shepheard’s political allegiance was less certain, since on 18 June 1713 he opposed the ministry over the French commerce bill, and was listed as ‘whimsical’. His connexion with Arthur Annesley, now Lord Anglesey, possibly influenced his vote on this issue, although he may well have shared general mercantile anxieties over the treaty. Concern for trade, and in particular his father’s commercial interests, suggest that he, rather than James Sheppard, twice acted as teller in that session: in favour of engrossing a bill to open up commerce with Africa; and in support of the second reading of a clause for a bill to encourage the tobacco trade. His desertion of the ministry may have had an immediate impact on his standing at Cambridge, local opposition arising in August against the election of his father as freeman of the borough. However, the younger Shepheard had little difficulty in securing his seat in the same month, gaining an uncontested return.9

In the new Parliament Shepheard remained distanced from the ministry, voting on 18 Mar. 1714 against the expulsion of Richard Steele. His only probable action of any note was a tellership on 21 May against a motion for the House to debate the African slave trade. The accession of George I saw him make a complete break with the Cambridge Tories, who mounted a successful campaign against him at the general election of 1715. Undeterred, he managed to regain his seat on petition, and the Worsley list classed him as a Whig who would often vote with the Tories. Thereafter, he generally proved a solid government supporter, and firmly established himself as a political force in his adopted county. Although serving as a director of the East India Company under George I, he did not seek advancement in the City, preferring the lifestyle of the country gentleman. The establishment of a residence at Exning probably reflected his association with the Cotton family, who were lords of the manor there. However, after his death of ‘an apoplexy’ on 24 Apr. 1748, his body was laid to rest at his birthplace of St. Magnus the Martyr, London. Dying ‘vastly rich’, he left the bulk of his estate to his natural daughter, who was celebrated as ‘the greatest fortune in England’, and subsequently married Charles Ingram†, the future 9th Viscount Irvine.10

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Perry Gauci


  • 1. Guildhall Lib. mic. 11361.
  • 2. Cambs. RO (Cambridge), Cambridge bor. recs. common day bk. 1681–1722, p. 396.
  • 3. Pittis, Present Parl. 352.
  • 4. Info. from Prof. H. G. Horwitz.
  • 5. Bodl. Carte 233, ff. 296, 298, 300, 302; Add. 27440, f. 165.
  • 6. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss 10794, Samuel Shepheard I to Ld. Ferrers, 3 June 1703; CJ, xvi. 302; Speck thesis, 389.
  • 7. Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 541.
  • 8. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxi. 499.
  • 9. G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 281–2; Cambridge bor. recs. common day bk. 1681–1722, p. 511.
  • 10. Copinger, Manors of Suff. iv. 158; Add. 5808, f. 40; Guildhall Lib. mic. 11361; Gent. Mag. 1748, p. 188; PCC 162 Strahan.