AMCOTTS INGILBY (formerly INGILBY), Sir William, 2nd bt. (1783-1854), of Kettlethorpe, Lincs. and Ripley Castle, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 20 June 1783, o. surv. s. of Sir John Ingilby†, 1st bt., of Ripley and Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Wharton Amcotts†, 1st bt., of Kettlethorpe. educ. Louth g.s. 1794. m. (1) 18 Apr. 1822, Louisa (d. 22 July 1836), da. of John Atkinson of Maple Hayes, Staffs., s.p.; (2) 27 July 1843, Mary Anne, da. of John Clementson, sjt.-at-arms to the House of Commons, s.p. suc. Sir Wharton Amcotts as 2nd bt. by spec. remainder 26 Sept. 1807, taking name of Amcotts before Ingilby on d. of mother, 27 Sept. 1812; fa. as 2nd bt. 13 May 1815. d. 15 May 1854.
Lt. W. Riding yeomanry 1803; sheriff, Yorks. 1821-2.
Amcotts Ingilby, according to Sir Robert Heron*, ‘had been a Tory’ before joining Brooks’s in 1815, when he was sponsored by the 2nd Earl Fitzwilliam, following which he became an eccentric ‘radical reformer’.1 In December 1823 he was brought forward as a stopgap for Lincolnshire by the 2nd earl of Yarborough in order to keep Heron out, following Gilbert John Heathcote’s refusal to relinquish his seat at Boston. He had succeeded to his Lincolnshire property through his mother, but was not well known in the county. Attacked as a Yarborough placeman on the hustings, he denied being a nominee, presented himself as a ‘declared reformer’, and was returned with a substantial majority after a ten-day poll. He postponed thanking the freeholders until the spring, but in the meantime 3,000 medals were struck in honour of his victory.2 A regular attender, Amcotts Ingilby voted with the Whig opposition to the Liverpool ministry on most major issues, including economy, retrenchment and reduced taxation.3 He urged ministers to end speculation over budgetary reforms, 6 Feb., and presented a petition to facilitate the recovery of small debts, 27 Feb. 1824.4 According to the Stamford Mercury, he presented the vicar of Fotherby’s petition against a road bill which infringed church property, 19 Feb.5 He presented numerous petitions for repeal of the coal duties and excise licences in February and March, as well as seven petitions for the abolition of slavery.6 In early May he commenced a tour of the county, in which his avowed determination to be always on ‘the side of the people’ conciliated his opponents. More than once mistaken for a ‘poor farming-like sort of person’, his cigar-smoking, bizarre taste in cheap hats and facetiousness at political meetings endeared him to the freeholders. During his tour he urged the necessity of petitioning for repeal of the assessed taxes and warmly defended his independence. He lost no opportunity to nurse the county during the autumn of 1824 and acted as steward at the Lincoln races and stuff ball. He was the toast of his old constituents at East Retford and was later credited with having laid the foundation of the freemen’s independence there.7 In 1825 Amcotts Ingilby was appointed one of the directors of the Rio de la Planta Agricultural Association, established to remedy rural unemployment by encouraging emigration to South America. He voted against the suppression of the Catholic Association, 18 Feb., and for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May (as a pair). He presented a petition against the coal duties, 25 Feb., and one for repeal of the window tax, which he endorsed, 3 Mar.8 He presented two against revision of the corn laws, 28 Apr., and denounced the ‘mischievous and useless agitation’ of the corn question, but was forced to withdraw his amendment to provide ‘instantaneous relief’ because he had misread the order paper, 12 May 1825.9 He presented numerous Lincolnshire petitions for the abolition of slavery in the spring of 1826.10 He voted for parliamentary reform, 27 Apr., and presented further petitions against revision of the corn laws, 17 May 1826.11
At the 1826 general election he offered again for Lincolnshire, scorning the cries of ‘No Popery’ and arguing that ‘freedom and equality’ of civil and political rights should be given to every man. On the hustings, he explained that his error in the corn debate had arisen from his anxiety to prevent a ‘compromise’ between the landed interest and ministers and that he was opposed to the release of corn from bond and had merely sought to impose a duty of 20s. to be distributed among the ‘starving population’. He reiterated his support for parliamentary reform and advocated the extinction of rotten boroughs and the exclusion of commissioned officers from Parliament. An attempt to discredit him as a ‘peer’s nominee’ came to nothing and he was returned unopposed.12 He presented constituency petitions against revision of the corn laws, 20, 21 Feb., and for greater agricultural protection, 27 Feb., 30 Mar., 5 Apr. 1827.13 He voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and inquiry into the alleged corruption of Leicester corporation, 15 Mar. He divided against revision of the corn laws, 2 Apr., and for inquiry into the Irish estimates, 5 Apr. In October 1827 he was elected one of the vice-presidents of the Lincoln National School.14 He presented and endorsed a number of petitions for higher duties on the import of foreign wool, 17 Mar. 1828. A regular benefactor of the Lincoln Lunatic Asylum, of which he was elected a vice-president in November 1828, he carried two amendments to the lunatics regulation bill, 17 Mar.15 He was not listed in the division on the repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., but brought up a favourable petition, 31 Mar. He presented numerous petitions against revision of the corn laws, 22 Apr., 1 May. He voted for Catholic relief, 12 May, and against provision for Canning’s family, 13 May 1828. On 9 Feb. 1829 he derided the Ripon anti-Catholic petition presented by Sir Robert Inglis as the invention of a ‘host of Brunswickers’ and ‘fanatical clergymen’. Later that month Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, predicted that he would vote ‘with government’ for their concession of emancipation. He divided accordingly, 6, 30 Mar., when he denied that the Lincolnshire anti-Catholic petitions supported by Waldo Sibthorp, Tory Member for Lincoln, were representative of majority opinion in the county, and presented favourable petitions, 13, 24 Mar. 1829. In acknowledgment of the agricultural depression he reduced his rents from between five and 50 per cent in the winter of 1829-30. (He had also maintained the Kettlethorpe roads since 1828 as an additional measure of relief to his tenants.) He addressed a county meeting to petition for repeal of the malt and beer taxes, 8 Jan. 1830, and produced a draft petition for an ‘immediate reduction in taxes’.16 He was in the minorities for tax cuts, 11, 15 Feb., and military reductions, 19, 22 Feb., and voted steadily with the revived opposition for retrenchment and reduced taxation from March. He was in the majority against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., but divided for Lord Blandford’s parliamentary reform scheme, 18 Feb. He presented a petition in favour of Indo-Chinese free trade, 17 Feb., endorsed the prayer of a Horncastle petition for agricultural relief, 23 Feb., and presented one from Ripon for the abolition of slavery, 24 Feb. He paired for the opposition demand for an explanation of British policy in Portugal, 10 Mar., and was given leave to attend the assizes, 12 Mar. He presented two petitions against the sale of beer bill, 4 May. He paired for Jewish emancipation, 17 May, and presented a Wainfleet petition against the coal duties, 7 June 1830.
At the 1830 general election he offered again as the enemy of ‘oppressive taxation’ and the ‘undeviating friend’ of parliamentary reform. On the hustings he spoke of the need to relieve distress and called for the exposure of abuses and economies in all departments. He denounced the Bathurst and Dundas pensions as the worst of all ‘nefarious jobs’ and regretted his unintentional absence from the House when they had been voted down in March, saying that the junior branches of the aristocracy ought not to be maintained out of taxes and were ‘pests whom the people were not to be called upon to keep’. Rumours of an opposition came to nothing and he was again returned unopposed.17 He was described by the People’s Book as ‘independent’ and listed by ministers among their ‘foes’, and he duly voted against them on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830.18 He presented numerous petitions for the abolition of slavery that month, as well as one for repeal of the assessed taxes on the 22nd. He presented and endorsed a petition for agricultural relief, 2 Dec., and presented William Cobbett’s† petition for the abolition of assessed taxes and tithes, 9 Dec. Next day, presenting and supporting a similar petition from Gainsborough, he applauded the ‘spirit of reform’ in Lincolnshire. He presented petitions for the repeal of insurance duty and protection against incendiaries, 15 Dec., and endorsed one from Boston for retrenchment and reform, 16 Dec. 1830. He attended a county meeting to petition for reduced taxation and radical reform, 28 Jan. 1831, when, to much acclamation, he declared himself a convert to the secret ballot, as Parliament ought to be a representation of the people and not a ‘little beggarly House of Lords’.19 He presented and endorsed the resulting petition, 8 Feb., and brought up others in similar terms, 17, 26 Feb., when he reiterated his support for secret voting. He presented petitions for a general fast, 4, 8 Feb., repeal of the coal duties, 11 Feb., and the window tax, 15 Feb., and for measures to facilitate the recovery of small debts, 15 Mar. He brought up petitions for the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 19 Mar., 12, 15 Apr., and voted for its second reading, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831.
At the ensuing general election he offered again as a reformer in company with Yarborough’s son. Canvassing in support of Charles Tennyson* at Stamford, he was hailed as the ‘tried friend’ of the people. At his nomination he dismissed the anti-reformers as a ‘feeble faction of ancient Tories’ backed by diehard clergy, expressed his contempt for the ‘fat and luxurious drones’ who fed upon tithes, and urged the necessity of church reform. He declared his intention of standing for the Northern division of the county in the first reformed Parliament and was returned unopposed.20 He voted in minorities for reductions in public salaries, 30 June, and against the grant to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels, 25 July 1831. He secured the second reading of the Rothbury enclosure bill, 28 June, and presented a petition against the Eau Brink drainage bill, 29 June. He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and for most of its detailed provisions in committee, though he was in the minorities for the disfranchisement of Saltash, 26 July, against the division of counties, 11 Aug., and for the disfranchisement of Aldborough, 14 Sept., when he acted as a teller. In the debate on the division of Lincolnshire, 10, 12 Aug., he dismissed the suggestion of Wilks, Member for Boston, that it would thereby become a ‘nomination’ county. He divided for the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish reform bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He attended the king’s levée, 19 Oct., when he presented an address from Gainsborough in support of ministers. Addressing a county reform meeting following the defeat of the reform bill in the Lords, 18 Nov. 1831, he spoke of the ‘corruption and profligacy’ of the higher clergy and expressed sympathy with some resolutions for radical reform but, according to Heron, lacked the courage to endorse them. He pledged himself to support the reform bill in its various stages to the ‘total annihilation of all my domestic comforts’.21
He voted for the second reading of the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and again supported its details. He endorsed Waldo Sibthorp’s opposition to the proposed division of Lincolnshire on the grounds of its inconvenience to the freeholders, 2 Feb. 1832, but ridiculed him as a latter-day Baron von Münchhausen for his incessant talk of a reaction against reform. He deplored the peremptory dismissal of Lincolnshire’s militia and gave notice of a motion for copies of the correspondence between the lord lieutenant, Lord Brownlow, and the home office, 3 Feb. After consenting to two deferrals in favour of reform business, which he would be ‘one of the last ... to impede’, 28 Feb., he successfully moved for information, 8 Mar. He voted for the third reading of the reform bill, 22 Mar., Ebrington’s motion for an address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry it unimpaired, 10 May, and against a Conservative amendment to increase Scottish county representation, 1 June. He divided with ministers on relations with Portugal, 9 Feb., for the Irish register of deeds bill, 9 Apr., and the immediate abolition of colonial slavery, 24 May. He presented private petitions to rationalize the appointment of magistrates and sheriffs, 9 Apr. 1832. That September he was described by Tennyson as one of the most ‘honest, unflinching, uncompromising, incorruptible patriots’ in the Commons at a Grimsby reform festival.22
At the 1832 general election he successfully contested North Lincolnshire as a Liberal. After being defeated in 1835 he retired into private life, widely acclaimed as an ‘honest politician’ devoted to the ‘cause of the people’. He died in May 1854.23 By his will, dated 7 July 1831, he devised the Ripley estates to his first cousin, the Rev. Henry John Ingilby, who was created a baronet in 1866, and the Lincolnshire estates of the Amcotts family to his nephew Weston Cracroft Amcotts.24
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Authors: Simon Harratt / Philip Salmon
- 1. Heron, Notes, 149-50.
- 2. Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 3, 10, 17 Oct., 21, 28 Nov., 19 Dec. 1823; Suff. RO (Ipswich), Barne mss HA53/359/88; Fitzwilliam mss 113/1, 2, 3; 114/4, 5; 123/9; Lincs. AO, Ancaster mss 3ANC 9/10/4.
- 3. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 470.
- 4. The Times, 7, 28 Feb. 1824.