ISHERWOOD, Henry (1739-97), of Old Windsor House, Berks.
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Family and Education
Isherwood’s father was said to have been ‘a poor lad’ from Yorkshire who found work at the Christopher inn, Eton, married well and established an ale brewery at Windsor. Isherwood, who was probably related to Thomas and James Isherwood, distillers of Aldersgate Street, London, inherited the brewery, then worth £9,000 a year, on his father’s death by accidental poisoning in 1773 and disposed of it in 1786 to James Baverstock and Richard Ramsbottom, partner of the London Isherwoods, for £70,000.4
When a vacancy arose at Windsor in 1787 Isherwood told the King, who described him as the ‘chief person’ of the town, that he would not stand himself, but would support any candidate recommended by government. Yet on the death in January 1794 of his friend and father’s business acquaintance, Peniston Portlock Powney, he challenged the nominee of the King and Pitt, William Grant. He denied strenuously that he came forward in opposition to the Court, stressed his loyalty to the King and pledged that, if elected, his parliamentary conduct would ‘ever be directed by the most zealous attachment to his Majesty’s person and government’. Though defeated by 13 votes, Isherwood continued actively to strengthen his interest in the borough. The other sitting Member, Lord Mornington, recognizing Isherwood as a formidable opponent whose ‘means of raising the expense of the election to a very considerable amount are well known’, became anxious to abandon Windsor and advised Pitt that a compromise with Isherwood, whom he knew to be ‘firmly attached to the King, and as decided an anti-Jacobin as any in England’, would have been and still was the best policy. His advice was followed and the arrangements concluded by October 1795, when Mornington was confident that
Isherwood will readily accept the proposal of a compromise; he will I believe require no other condition, than that it should be understood, that he is approved by the King and government, and that the treaty with him is considered as an alliance with a friend, and not as a concession to an enemy.5
Isherwood was accordingly returned unopposed at the general election of 1796. Ministers were counting on his support in the House, but he died 22 Jan. 1797, less than two months after the opening of the session.