BROADHURST, John (?1778-1861), of Foston Hall, Derbys.

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



1812 - 26 Feb. 1813
4 Dec. 1813 - 1818
1818 - 1820

Family and Education

b. ?1778,1 2nd s. of John Broadhurst of Duffield by 1st w. Mary, da. of Frederick Campbell. educ. Eton 1799. m. (1) 2 Nov. 1815, Catherine (d. 2 Sept. 1816), da. of Francis Hurt of Alderwasley, 1s.; (2) 24 Oct. 1828, Henrietta Mabel, da. of Lord Henry Fitzgerald*, s.p.

Offices Held

Cornet 16 Drag. 1800; capt. 15 Drag. 1803, ret. 1809.


Under the terms of his father’s will Broadhurst, on attaining his majority, inherited estates in the counties of Derby, Nottingham and Northumberland. He served in the Peninsular war and was present at the retreat from Corunna.2 It was his former colonel, the Duke of Cumberland, who recommended him to the Johnstone trustees for nomination at Weymouth in the election of 1812. Like the other two candidates put up by the trustees he was successful, but the election was voided, amid much unfavourable publicity about the royal duke’s interference.

Broadhurst’s correspondence with his fellow candidate Thomas Wallace suggests that he was neurasthenic. A mutual friend, George Frederick Stratton, wrote of him to Wallace, 27 Dec. 1812: ‘I wish he was not quite so fond of solitude, for I know of no one who is less fit for it, or that wants the constant presence of a friend to stir him up more than he does’. When it was clear that their election was doubtful, Broadhurst informed Wallace, 2 Jan. 1813:

I need not tell you that being out of Parliament can give me but little uneasiness [though] I trust it is equally unnecessary for me to explain to you why it might yet be so severe a blow.

I begin to hate the country and to suspect that I was almost spoilt for living quite alone. I cannot live in town, out of Parliament. I cannot live in England ... the best and only thing I can do, is to go abroad and there stay until the calling of another Parliament.

Had there been a compromise at Weymouth, he was prepared to draw lots for a seat, but he had no intention of persevering if the election was voided and obtained Lord Liverpool’s promise of another seat (he was listed a Treasury supporter) in April 1813; but as the task was entrusted to Charles Arbuthnot*, he had little hope of finding one. In July 1813 he toyed with the idea, suggested by Wallace, of going to India; if he did, he was ‘quite certain of not returning’. This and other gloomy thoughts were dispelled by a vacancy at Hedon, into which he was propelled. The local attorney who managed the borough, William Iveson, charged him £4,000, although he was in the event unopposed. After his election he was extremely ill and depressed, consoling himself with workhouse schemes for the poor.3

Broadhurst, if only because he required a surgeon, came up to town in 1814 and voted in the minority against the aliens bill on 15 July. On 9 Mar. 1815 he was in the minority critical of the duration of the Bank restriction. He voted for the reception of the City petition for peace and retrenchment, 1 May, and against the East India Company grant to Lord Melville, 24 May. His only known vote in 1816 was against the army estimates, 28 Feb. He was in the minorities critical of Canning’s Lisbon embassy, 6 May 1817, and of the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June. His only known vote in 1818 was in the opposition majority on the Duke of Clarence’s marriage grant, 15 Apr. In his only known speech, 7 May 1818, he opposed a clause proposed for the Poor Law amendment bill which would take pauper children out of their parents’ care.

There is no evidence that Broadhurst was wooed by the government that had anticipated his support and when he successfully contested Sudbury in 1818 he professed independence. He was in the minority for adding Brougham to the Bank committee, 8 Feb. 1819, but voted with ministers on the Windsor establishment, 22 Feb.4 and against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May. He did not seek re-election in 1820.

Broadhurst was subsequently the author of a Letter to Lord Melbourne on the Irish Church and Irish Tithes (1835); of Reasons for not repealing the Corn Laws (1839); and of Political Economy (1842), in which he assailed Thomas Malthus and David Ricardo* for superficial views on social distress. He died 15 Sept. 1861.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: Winifred Stokes / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1861), ii. 458 and his death certificate gave his age at death as 84, but he and his elder brother Charles were apparently minors when their father’s will was drawn up, 18 Mar. 1798 (PCC 524 Walpole).
  • 2. Army List 1809, contemp. ms note.
  • 3. Northumb. RO, Wallace (Belsay) mss S 76/3/77; 5/2, 8, 24; 7/7; 9/33, 40; 12/12, 39, 77.
  • 4. Morning Chron. 27 Feb. 1819.