ADEY, Stephen Thurston (d.1801), of 13 Cleveland Row, St. James's, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



4 Sept. 1798 - 28 Oct. 1801

Family and Education

b. [aft. 1753] s. of George Adey, Blackwell Hall factor, of 84 Basinghall Street, London by his w. Lemming née Abbot of St. Margaret, Lothbury.1 unm.

Offices Held

Dir. Equitable Assurance 1793.


Adey, a London banker, was associated for most of his life with the house of Boldero, Kendall, Adey & Co. (founded 1770).2 Among his influential patrons was Edmund Burke*, who described Adey in 1780 as a Whig ‘of worth and honour’, with ‘nothing of the banker in him’. Burke obtained the London agency of the Irish tontine for Adey’s house in 1782 and their association continued to the end, Adey being present throughout Burke’s last illness.3 He was also familiar with Earl Fitzwilliam, having in November 1783 been recommended to him by the Duke of Portland for the borough of Hedon. In 1784 he was listed by William Adam, acting for the Whigs, as one of the 30 supporters who were willing to stand a contest. He joined the Whig Club on 7 Mar. 1785 and when he wrote to Fitzwilliam, 7 Oct. 1788, in favour of the institution of Whig clubs in the manufacturing towns, he added that he hoped to assist the party with his vote in the next Parliament if the terms were not too high for his pocket (he had recently suffered financial losses).4 On 16 May 1791 he joined Brooks’s Club, sponsored by Sir Thomas Dundas. On 28 Feb. 1793 he was one of the seceders from the Whig Club. It was not until 1798 that Adey obtained a seat, when Fitzwilliam brought him in for Higham Ferrers on a vacancy. The seat had been first offered to John Ponsonby*, who declined it, understanding that he must support the war and oppose parliamentary reform.5 Adey evidently had no such scruples; his firm subscribed £50,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797 and he gave a general, if silent, support to government. Like his patron, nevertheless, he voted with opposition in favour of Grey’s censure motions of 2 Feb. and 25 Mar. 1801, and he was also in the minority on the Irish master of the rolls bill, 19 Mar. Fitzwilliam was disappointed in him; referring to his wish that the Dutch expedition might be an object of parliamentary inquiry, February 1800, he wrote:

With respect to Adey, I wash my hands of him. He had the means of collecting all that I thought upon the subject, at the time it was happening, when he was in Yorkshire, but I had proof enough when Mr Pitt renewed his Irish resolutions last year, what weight my wishes have with him, to give myself little more trouble.6

Fitzwilliam was not the only one to wash his hands of Adey. On 21 Sept. 1801, (Sir) Stephen Lushington I* applied to the Irish secretary for the firm of Boldero & Co., in which he was a partner, to retain the payment of the Irish tontine annuities. He explained:

Mr Adey, who was a partner in the house of Boldero and Co., and whose name is in the original appointment, has been compelled to withdraw from the house for gross misconduct, I am ready to prove what I say; he has, through the means of my personal friend the Duke of Portland, endeavoured to get the account removed by the late lord lieutenant to a new banking house formed by him but my lord Cornwallis knew me well and would not countenance the application.

In fact, although Adey’s claims were favourably considered by the Irish secretary when he applied to him for the transfer, 21 May 1801, the final decision of the Irish government placed the payment of the Irish tontines in the Bank of England.7 Adey’s new firm, Adey, MacGeorge & Co. of 22 Old Bond Street, did not long survive him.

Adey died 28 Oct. 1801, intestate, and his father died 9 Nov., before he could take out letters of administration, which were granted to his unmarried sisters Patty and Jane.8

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: Arthur Aspinall / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. According to their marriage licence, 10 May 1753, George Adey was then of St. Stephens, Coleman Street and aged 25. They separated in 1788. The ‘Thurston’ in Adey’s name is that of his godfather, Thomas Thurston of Little Wenham, Suff. and the Inner Temple, who in his will (1774) left £50 to ‘my godson Thurston Addy’ [sic]. In the baptismal registers of St. Michael Bassishaw, Adey’s mother’s christian name appears as ‘Lemyng’.
  • 2. Hilton Price, London Bankers, 1.
  • 3. Burke Corresp. iv. 291, 419; Fitzwilliam mss, Laurence to Fitzwilliam, 28 Nov. 1796.
  • 4. Fitzwilliam mss, box 37, Portland to Fitzwilliam, 17 Nov. 1783; Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F34/131; Burke Corresp. ix. 434.
  • 5. Grey mss, Fitzwilliam to Ponsonby, 22 July 1798.
  • 6. Fitzwilliam mss, X515/43, Fitzwilliam to Laurence, 19 [Feb. 1800].
  • 7. PRO 30/9/1, pt. 1/1; pt. 3/3.
  • 8. PCC admon. act bk. 26 Nov. 1801.