MEYNELL, Hugo (1735-1808), of Bradley, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. June 1735, 2nd s. of Littleton Pointz Meynell by his 1st w. Judith, da. of Thomas Alleyne of Barbados. m. (1) June 1754, Ann (d. 1757), da. of John Gell of Hopton, Derbys., 1s.; (2) June 1758, Ann, da. of Thomas Boothby Skrymsher of Tooley Park, Leics., 2s.
Sheriff, Derbys. 1758-9; master of the staghounds 1770-6.
Meynell’s father, wrote Walpole,1 ‘had created a large fortune by play, and nobody doubted but by unfair play’; according to Johnson,2 he lent Frederick, Prince of Wales, £10,000 in return for ‘a bond for £30,000 and a peerage if he should come to the throne’. Hugo Meynell also was a gambler and racing man; the founder of the Quorn Hunt, ‘long esteemed the first foxhunter in the kingdom’.3 These pursuits he shared with his great friend Augustus, 3rd Duke of Grafton; and in politics he followed Grafton’s lead.
In 1761 he contested Lichfield on the interest of Lord Gower, Grafton’s friend; was defeated through the partiality of the sheriff, but returned on petition. He voted against the peace preliminaries and in the debate of 10 Dec. 1762 spoke (according to George Onslow) ‘incomparably well’4—but there is no record of his speaking again. He opposed the Grenville Administration; was classed by Newcastle, 10 May 1764, as a ‘sure friend’; and belonged to Wildman’s Club. He supported the Rockingham and Chatham Administrations; and in December 1767 was Grafton’s intermediary in the negotiations with the Bedfords.
‘Everybody inquires if Meynell is to be a peer’, wrote George Selwyn to Lord Carlisle, 7 Feb. 1768. ‘He looks, I think, so happy and peerish that I suspect there is something in it.’ But on 26 Feb.: ‘No peers will be made as yet, I believe. Meynell talks to his friends sanguinely, but I think he may be disappointed.’5 At the general election of 1768 Meynell unsuccessfully contested Stafford; and was returned on the Duke of Bolton’s interest at Lymington, a seat placed by Bolton at Grafton’s disposal.6
No vote by Meynell is recorded 1768-74. In both of Robinson’s surveys on the royal marriage bill he was classed as ‘pro, sent to’; and in his electoral survey of September 1774 as ‘hopeful’. He was returned unopposed for Stafford in 1774. He followed Grafton into opposition on the outbreak of the American war, and lost his sinecure place at court. He did not stand in 1780.
Meynell died 14 Dec. 1808.