WROTTESLEY, Henry (1772-1825), of Lincoln's Inn, Mdx.

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



28 Dec. 1810 - 17 Feb. 1825

Family and Education

b. 26 Oct. 1772, 2nd s. of Maj.-Gen. Sir John Wrottesley, 8th Bt., of Wrottesley, Staffs. by Hon. Frances Courtenay, da. of William Courtenay 1st Visct. Courtenay; bro. of Sir John Wrottesley, 9th Bt.* educ. Westminster 1786; Christ Church, Oxf. 1791; L. Inn 1793, called 1798. unm.

Offices Held

Cursitor in Chancery 1795-d.; commr. of bankrupts 1799-d.; solicitor to Board of Control Feb. 1806-Aug. 1811.

Capt. St. James’s vols. 1798, Staffs. militia 1803, maj. 1809.


Wrottesley, a barrister on the Chester circuit, was the younger brother of the Member for Lichfield, who through his parliamentary patron the Marquess of Stafford, applied to Lord Grenville to make him solicitor to the Board of Control in February 1806. The request was granted. Grenville, who referred to the office as ‘counsel to the India Board’, noted that it would give him ‘£300 p.a. and leaves him in his profession’. Wrottesley was to have stood for Honiton on his cousin the 3rd Viscount Courtenay’s interest in April 1806, but declined. To his gratification the Portland administration did not deprive him of his place, as he had expected. In 1809 he was of service to Grenville in his canvass of Oxford University. In December 1810 he was Stafford’s nominee for a vacancy at Brackley, where he replaced a ministerialist fellow lawyer.1

Wrottesley soon made his commitment to the Whig opposition apparent, voting with them on the Regency, 1, 21 Jan. 1811. On 14 Feb. he joined Brooks’s Club and on 22 Feb. he voted against the Irish secretary’s treatment of the Catholics. His sympathy with them further appeared in his votes of 11 Mar., 16, 31 May and 11 June 1811, and on 19 July he voted against the bank-note bill. This conduct soon left him poorer by ‘£300 p.a.’ He was reported by Lady Williams Wynn to be

sadly in the dumps ... at having lost his appointment of solicitor to the Board of Control which he had expected would have been taken from him at first, but having then escaped, he thought himself safe. It is taken away on the plea of reform, and of course they are too glad to take a friend of ours to make the example of.

Grenville also decried it as a convenient form of political revenge.2 In his second session he first spoke against the framework bill, deploring the extension of capital punishment, 17 Feb. 1812. He voted for inquiry into the droits of Admiralty, 21 Jan.; for the regulation of offices held in reversion, 7 Feb.; for the abolition of McMahon’s sinecure, 24 Feb., and for the sinecure offices bill, 4 May. He opposed the orders in council, 3 Mar. He objected to the proposed grant to the royal princesses, 23 Mar., but the same day informed the House that he ‘thought that it would be a hard case, in times like the present, for any man, who, by accident, might become a bankrupt, to be compelled to vacate his seat’. He played some part in framing the charitable donations registry bill, which he defended, 29 Apr. On 1 May he opposed the barracks estimates. He voted for a stronger administration, 21 May. Next day he took three weeks’ leave of absence for local militia duties. On 15 June he suggested that if London were to be exempt from the sinecure offices bill, all other corporations should be likewise; and