SYKES, Francis William (1767-1804).
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 12 Nov. 1767 in Bengal,1 1st s. of Sir Francis Sykes, 1st Bt.*, by 1st w. educ. Eton 1777-83; Queen’s, Oxf. 1785. m. 10 Nov. 1798, Mary Anne, da. of Hon. Major Henniker of Streatham, Surr., 3s. 1da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 11 Jan. 1804.
Cornet, 3 Drag. 1786; sub-lt. 1 Horse Gren. Gds. 1788; lt.-col. Berks. militia 1796-9.
When the two troops of horse grenadier guards were disbanded in June 1788, Sykes was put on full pay without employment. In 1790 he was living in France with a Mrs Elizabeth Purslow, by whom he had a daughter, Eliza, but he reluctantly ended the liaison in deference to his father’s wishes, after a negotiation conducted through their friend Warren Hastings.2 He was returned for Wallingford on his father’s interest at a contested by-election in March 1794. At the end of the year Sir Francis told Pitt that his son, anxious for military employment, wished to raise a regiment of light dragoons, but nothing seems to have come of this.3 His only recorded vote was that cast with his father against the seditious meetings bill, 25 Nov. 1795. He is not known to have spoken in the House and did not seek re-election in 1796.
Sykes, whose will referred to ‘cruel creditors’, got into serious financial difficulties and went with his family to live in Germany in 1800. Scarlet fever killed his wife and one of his sons in 1804 and he too succumbed to the disease, less than two months after inheriting the baronetcy, 7 Mar. 1804.4