MINGAY, James (1752-1812), of New Place, Thetford, Norf. and Ashfield Lodge, nr. Bury, Suff.

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

Constituency

Dates

1806 - 4 Apr. 1807

Family and Education

b. 9 Mar. 1752, 1st s. of James Mingay, surgeon, of Thetford by 2nd w. Dorothy, da. and coh. of William Fuller of Caldecot, Hunts., gdda. and h. of Edward Parker of Derby. educ. Thetford g.s., Trinity Coll. Camb. 1768; I. Temple 1770, called 1775. m. 21 Sept. 1784, Eliza, da. of Robert Corrall, yeoman, of Maidstone, Kent, sis. of Philip Corrall, banker, of The College, Maidstone, s.p. suc. fa. 1801; bro. William Robert 1806.

Offices Held

KC 26 Nov. 1784; bencher I. Temple 1785, reader 1790, treasurer 1791; recorder, Aldeburgh 1788-d.; customer, Bridgwater 1793-1806, mayor, Thetford 1798, 1800, 1804, coroner 1806.

Biography

Mingay, whose family came from Shotesham near Norwich, lost his right hand in an accident at Cringleford Mill as a boy (not at sea, as was otherwise alleged). His father and brother had a prosperous medical practice at Thetford. He was a protégé of the Duke of Grafton, Thetford’s recorder, and, after practising on the Norfolk circuit, became a successful King’s bench barrister, obtaining fees of 5,000 guineas in his best year. He was considered second only to Thomas Erskine*, with whom he often did professional battle, and was renowned for his charity and energy, and his ‘coarse humour’ in court.1 In 1806 he retired from the bar and attempted to get into Parliament.

It was not Mingay’s first bid for a seat. He was defeated at King’s Lynn in 1784. He contemplated standing for Thetford in 1790. On 6 Nov. 1792 he joined the Whig Club. In April 1794 he attacked the ministry at the Norfolk county meeting and when, soon afterwards, William Windham sought re-election at Norwich on taking office, Mingay was put up in his absence as the Whig candidate. The compliment paid him compensated for his defeat. In April 1797 he called for the dismissal of the ministry at the Norfolk county meeting. In October 1801, Lord St. Vincent, hearing that Mingay intended to stand at Thetford, offered to back him. asking him to support Addington’s administration. He tried to speak, but did not obtain a hearing, at the county nomination meeting in July 1802. His ground at Thetford, where he had been looking for an opening all the while and where he offered in 1806, was well prepared. His brother had been mayor in 1790, 1801 and 1805 and had secured a favourable corporation: he himself had thrice been mayor, was coroner and a benefactor of the local churches. In the contest that ensued, he had the goodwill of the Duke of