CREWE, John (1742-1829), of Crewe Hall, Cheshire

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



4 Mar. 1765 - 1768
1768 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 27 Sept. 1742, 1st s. of John Crewe, M.P., of Crewe Hall by Anne, da. of Richard Shuttleworth, M.P., of Gawthorpe, Lancs. educ. Westminster; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1760. m. 4 Apr. 1766, Frances, da. of Fulke Greville of Wilbury, Wilts., 1s. 1da.  cr. Baron Crewe 25 Feb. 1806.

Offices Held


John Crewe’s great-grandfather, John Offley of Madeley, Staffs., married Anne, daughter and heiress of John Crewe of Crewe Hall. Their eldest son inherited his mother’s Cheshire property and took the name of Crewe; and between 1705 and 1802 he, his son and his grandson held one Cheshire seat for 62 years. William Crewe Offley, second son of John Offley and Anne Crewe, and father of John Offley, inherited Madeley and sat for Newcastle-under-Lyme.

In 1765 John Crewe successfully contested Stafford, probably with the support of his friend Hugo Meynell; and in 1768 and at all his subsequent elections he was returned unopposed for Cheshire. In Parliament he seems generally until 1784 to have followed the lead of his friend the Duke of Grafton, though between 1765 and 1774 only one vote by him is recorded: with the Administration on the Middlesex election, 26 Apr. 1773. When Grafton went into opposition over American affairs (26 Oct. 1775) Crewe followed him and henceforth voted consistently against the North Administration till the end. On 5 July 1782, immediately after the resignation of Fox, Grafton wrote to Shelburne, who was then trying to rally support:1

In regard to Mr. Crewe I would take any step you would wish me: but, as he has so long since expressed to me that the only object he should ever look up to was an English peerage, and which I stated to your Lordship on our coming into office. I have no idea of his accepting any [office] under any ministry: but, as I may be mistaken, I would advise your Lordship to see him, mentioning to him your application to me, and that I have presumed to advise your seeing him.

He voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. He had long been on intimate terms with Fox: on 13 July 1773 Horace Walpole wrote to Horace Mann that Crewe was paying ‘twelve hundred a year for him [Fox]—literally for him, being bound for him’; and according to George Selwyn, November 1773, he had ‘such warm feelings’ for Fox that he was willing to make further efforts to help him in his financial difficulties.2 When Fox was dismissed in December 1783, Crewe followed him into opposition, and in February Fox, still hoping for an early return to office, included Crewe in a list of peers to be made then.3 Crew remained with Fox till the end, and in 1806, on Fox’s return to office, received a peerage as his reward.

Crewe is reported to have spoken a dozen times in the House; seven times on the bill, with which his name is connected, to prevent revenue officers from voting at elections. He introduced the bill in 1780; proposed it again in 1781, and saw it through the House in 1782. His only other recorded speeches before 1790 were against a tax on maidservants, 10 May 1785, and on the County Election Act, 12 and 31 Mar. and 6 Apr. 1789.

He died 28 Apr. 1829.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Lansdowne mss.
  • 2. HMC Carlisle, 249.
  • 3. J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parlty. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), ii (2), p. 306.