BISSE, Stephen (c.1672-1746), of Wimbledon, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1715 - 1722
1734 - 1741

Family and Education

bap. 23 Jan. 1672, s. of George Bisse of Martock, Som. by his w. Mary. m. (lic. 18 Dec. 1697) Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Goldsmith, s.p.; uncle of Bisse Richards.

Offices Held

Agent victualler of the navy at Lisbon 1704; commr. of the equivalent 1715-19; commr. for victualling the navy 1722-7; clerk of the crown in Chancery c.1724-d.; senior agent victualler at Lisbon 1732-?34; director, E. I. Co. 1732-33, 1735-41; senior commr. for victualling 1734-d.


Stephen Bisse, a member of a Somerset family, was in 1701 a junior clerk to the accountant general of the navy victualling office,1 with which he remained connected for most of his life. Appointed agent victualler at Lisbon on 31 Jan. 1704, he was given a strong letter of recommendation for his services there by Admiral Sir Clowdisley Shovell in December 1706 and was still at Lisbon in 1711.2 In 1715, described as a merchant, offering £6 a vote,3 he was returned for Great Bedwyn, voting with the Government in every recorded division, till he lost his seat in 1722. He did not stand again till 1734, when he wrote to Walpole, 11 April:4

I was surprised this morning at your offering me the comptrollership of the victualling again which I cannot in honour accept of, it being going backward to a lesser place than my present. I really thought, Sir, you would have put me at the board of Trade, Ordnance, the Irish Revenue, or some other place equivalent. On my leaving the victualling you was pleased to promise me a better thing the first vacancy, and any one would think that what I have done since that time should rather increase than lessen your esteem for me; but ’tis my misfortune to find the reverse of what I might justly have expected; and now, Sir, purely with a fresh endeavour to oblige you, I quit my present sinecure of £500 per annum and run the risk of changing or embarrassing an office for life; to which may be added the great pains and charge I have been and shall be at in Kent; and after all this to be sent back to the place from whence I came I cannot bear the thought of it. So I beg, Sir, you will not take amiss my refusal; and hope you will give me a better thing before the election is over, to which I must now repair.

In the end, he accepted the appointment, and was returned for New Romney, voting with the Government on the Spanish convention in 1739. Defeated at New Romney in 1741, he died ‘immensely rich’,5 9 September 1746.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 3), iv. 122-3.
  • 2. Queen Anne's Navy (Navy Recs. Soc. clii), 257, 279, 296; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1708-14, p. 277.
  • 3. HMC 15th Rep. VII, 219.
  • 4. Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss.
  • 5. Gent. Mag. 1746, pp. 496-7.