BURCH, Joseph Randyll (c.1756-1826), of Brandon Hall, Suff.; Great Cressingham, Norf.; and 9 Chesterfield Street, Mayfair, Mdx.

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



1790 - 1802

Family and Education

b. c.1756, s. and h. of William Burch of Brandon, Cressingham and Mayfair by Ann, da. of Robert Long of Cavenham, Suff. unm. suc. fa. 1794.

Offices Held

Capt. W. Suff. militia 1778.


Burch, an East Anglian magistrate, joined the Whig Club on 10 Nov. 1789. At the ensuing election he was returned for Thetford as Lord Petre’s candidate, against the Duke of Grafton’s wishes, but unopposed.1 Petre sponsored his membership of Brooks’s Club, 31 Jan. 1792. He voted constantly with Whig opposition in his first Parliament, and three times acted as teller: on 10 June 1793, when he moved for a list of the arms in the Tower for militia equipment, and on 6 and 12 May 1796. He was listed a supporter of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. He voted for the abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796. In his election address that year he advocated peace, to reduce the tax burden and relieve the poor.2 He was again unopposed. He resumed opposition, voting for parliamentary reform, 26 May 1797, as he had done in 1793. He partially seceded with the Foxites, returning to oppose Pitt’s assessed taxes, 14 Dec. 1797, 4 Jan. 1798; to vote for inquiry into the Irish rebellion, 22 June 1798; and to vote his disappointment at the rejection of peace overtures, 3 Feb. 1800. On 10 Mar. 1801 he got leave of absence to attend the Norfolk assizes. He further voted for Grey’s censure motion, 25 Mar. 1801, and for inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s financial resources, 31 Mar. 1802. He was not returned to Parliament again.

After 1802 he confined himself to local affairs, writing however to Viscount Howick in 1807 for his protégé John Dawson and referring to ‘a long political acquaintance which introduced me to habits of intimacy and sincere regard on my part’. Although nothing could be done for Dawson, Burch regretted that he was ‘no longer placed in a situation for giving daily testimony of my attachment to your public character’ and expressed his approval of ‘your avowed motives for retiring’. Thirteen years later Burch, who had espoused the cause of Queen Caroline, congratulated Grey for having awakened the nation ‘by your voice, which has unveiled the delusion of the Pitt system’ and, heralding the arrival of a 20lb. Christmas turkey, ‘the finest bird we ever reared on our little farm’, regaled Grey with ‘provincial anecdotes’ of the kindling of ‘true liberty ... in this eastern part of our little island’. He concluded, ‘future generations will shower their blessings upon you’.3

Burch died 23 Sept. 1826 ‘in his seventieth year’. In the absence of near relatives, he left his property to his friend John Dawson of Grosvenor Street.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. PRO 30/11/270, Palgrave to Cornwallis, 20 May 1791.
  • 2. Morning Chron. 1 June 1796.
  • 3. Grey mss, Burch to Howick, 15, 19 Feb., 29 Mar. 1807, to Grey, 20 Nov., 27 Dec. 1820; Add. 38288, f. 312.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1826), i. 477; PCC 475 Swabey.