SAWBRIDGE, Samuel Elias (1769-1850), of Olantigh, Kent.

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



1796 - 2 Mar. 1797
2 Feb. 1807 - 1807

Family and Education

b. 7 Jan. 1769, 1st surv. s. of John Sawbridge* of Olantigh by 2nd w. educ. Harrow 1776; Eton 1780-1. m. 18 Dec. 1794, Elizabeth, da. of Gov. Brabazon Ellis of Wyddiall Hall, Herts., 5s. 3da. suc. fa. 1795.

Offices Held

Ensign, E. Kent militia 1790, lt. 1792, capt. 1794, maj. 1795, lt.-col. 1799, col. 1808.


While his elder brother lived, Sawbridge apparently went to sea, but on his death became heir to a fortune. Shortly after inheriting it he was returned for Canterbury in conjunction with John Baker on the Blue (Whig) interest. (He had joined the Whig Club on 19 Jan. 1790.) The election was declared void, whereupon they were again nominated for the fresh election, though ineligible, and again victorious, 10 Mar. 1797, though unseated on petition, 12 May.1 The only evidence of Sawbridge having taken his seat was his vote with opposition against the Austrian loan, 14 Dec. 1796.

Although he did not give up hope of returning to Parliament, apparently he did not want to face a contest and in February 1807 was returned unopposed on the death of James Simmons. He supported the Grenville administration, taking a week’s sick leave on 18 Mar. and voting against their successors, 9 Apr. 1807. No speech is known, nor did he seek re-election, being averse to the fatigue and expense of a certain contest, though he appeared on the hustings to defend his vote for Catholic relief.2

A loan from Sawbridge financed Lord Byron’s Levantine travels in 1809. As late as 1830 his local respectability was acknowledged by the Canterbury freemen’s custom of voting for a man not nominated, but by then Sawbridge had withdrawn to the life of a typical country gentleman, colonel, like his father of the East Kent militia, magistrate, deputy lieutenant and benefactor of the poor.3 He died 27 May 1850.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. CJ, lii. 20, 357, 426, 570.
  • 2. Kentish Chron. 1 May 1807.
  • 3. T. A. J. Burnett, Rise and Fall of a Regency Dandy, 76; Gent. Mag. (1850), ii. 216.