AISLABIE, William (?1699-1781), of Studley Royal, nr. Ripon, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1 Apr. 1721 - 17 May 1781

Family and Education

b. ?1699, 1st s. of John Aislabie, M.P., chancellor of the Exchequer 1728-21, by his 1st w. Anne, da. of Sir William Rawlinson of Hendon, Mdx. m. (1) c.1722, Lady Elizabeth Cecil (d.6 Apr. 1733), da. of John, 6th Earl of Exeter, 2s. (d.v.p.) 5da.; (2) 6 Sept. 1745, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Charles Vernon, 1s. (d.v.p.) 1da. suc. fa. 1742.

Offices Held

Auditor of the imprest 1738- d.; registrar of consist. ct. of York 1749- d.


Aislabie controlled both seats at Ripon, and always returned a relation for the second seat. He had opposed Walpole, and under the Pelham Administration wavered a good deal. In Newcastle’s list of 1754 he was classed as ‘doubtful’. After 1754 he generally supported Government, but was thoroughly independent. He held his two places for life.

Aislabie does not appear in Fox’s list of Members supporting the peace preliminaries, nor did he vote against them. His first recorded speech in the new reign was on the motion for a committee of accounts, 22 Feb. 1763. ‘Speaking of his own office [as auditor of the imprest] as a profitable one’, reports James Harris, ‘[he] said how much more so it had been made by the large and expensive schemes of certain honourable gentlemen, looking towards Beckford but hinting at (I imagine) Pitt.’ And on 6 Apr. 1764 he criticized the pay office for their delay in passing the German accounts.

Aislabie voted with the Opposition on general warrants, 15 and 18 Feb. 1764. In Rockingham’s list of July 1765 he was classed as ‘doubtful’, but he spoke for the repeal of the Stamp Act, 24 Feb. 1766. He voted with the Chatham Administration on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, but against them on nullum tempus, 17 Feb. 1768. Henceforth he regularly supported Government. His last recorded speech was on the Duke of Bridgwater’s canal bill,9 Mar. 1770, and his last recorded vote on the revived motion on the Middlesex election, 26 Apr. 1773. ‘His age and infirmities do not allow him to attend,’ wrote the Public Ledger in 1779.

He died 17 May 1781, aged 81. ‘The contemplation of the beauties of nature and rural occupations formed his chief and unceasing delight’,1 and his claim to remembrance is that he restored Fountains abbey.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. J. R. Walbran, Mem. Lords of Studley.