BOLDERO, Henry George (1794-1873), of Weymouth, Dorset

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1831 - 1832
1835 - 1859

Family and Education

b. 1794, 2nd s. of Rev. John Boldero (d. 1796), rect. of Ampton, Suff., and w. Mary Ann Sibbs of Blakeney, Norf. educ. Sandhurst. m. (1) 9 Dec. 1824, Louisa Lambert (d. bef. May 1828), 1s. d.v.p.;1 (2) 30 Apr. 1828, Mary Elizabeth, da. of Joseph Neeld of Gloucester Place, Portman Square, Mdx. 2s. d. 9 Apr. 1873.

Offices Held

1st lt. R. Engineers 1814, 2nd lt. 1815, half-pay 1819-23, capt. 1827; capt. 10 Ft. 1828, half-pay 1830; lt.-col. 38 Ft., ret. 1851.

Clerk of ordnance Sept. 1841-July 1846.


Boldero belonged to a branch of the long-established family of Boldero of Ixworth, Suffolk. His great-great-and great-grandfathers were successively rectors of Woolpit, and his grandfather John (1729-81) and father John, who was born in 1756, were successively rectors of the small living of Ampton.2 His father died suddenly in June 1796, leaving his property and personalty sworn under £2,000 to his wife, whom he had married in 1784. On her death in September 1800 their four children, of whom Boldero was the third, were entrusted to the care of her mother, Mary Elizabeth Chaplin of Blakeney, where they had lived since her husband’s death.3 Boldero entered the recently founded military college at Sandhurst, probably in 1809 or 1810, and began a career in the Royal Engineers. He had a son (b. 11 Oct. 1825) with his first wife, who was perhaps the daughter of Thomas and Sarah Lambert of London, or may have been related to Charles Lambert of Osborne House, Isle of Wight, whose young son Charles drowned there, 7 Sept. 1824.4 Her date of death is not known, nor has any will or administration been found, though she must have died before May 1828. Through her Boldero gained a life interest by the will of her brother, Charles, and her fortune was incorporated into the settlement made on his remarriage in 1828. His new wife’s brother, Joseph Neeld* of Grittleton House, Wiltshire, gave him a bond for £1,000 towards the purchase of a promotion.5

At the general election of 1831 Boldero stood for Chippenham on the interest of Neeld, its proprietor, and his success against an independent candidate was considered certain. He was introduced, inaccurately, as a moderate reformer and as an opponent of slavery, and he claimed to have served in the army for 21 years. He was elected in second place, behind Neeld, and his address was given in the return as Weymouth.6 In the House, 27 June, he asked Sir James Graham, the first lord of the admiralty, whether the massing of the fleet at Portsmouth indicated a breach in foreign relations, and Lord Althorp, the chancellor, whether he would delay the army estimates in order to allow more time for their examination. He voted against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and on the vote of supply to Dissenting ministers, 8 July, he commented that he was ‘one who respects ancient grants, as I showed by my vote the other evening’. He voted at least twice for adjourning debate on the bill, 12 July. He moved to postpone the debate on the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July, arguing that there had been an error in the population return for 1821 and that, as the real number of inhabitants was over 4,000, the borough should be allowed to retain two seats. He insisted on his evidence being investigated, but was politely rebuffed by Althorp, and his amendment was defeated by 251-181. He quizzed Lord Palmerston about possible Dutch aggression in Belgium and whether Britain and France would unite to defeat it, 9 Aug. He divided in favour of Trevor’s amendment to preserve the right of non-residents to vote during their lifetimes, 30 Aug., and against the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept., and the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept. He voted for ending the Maynooth grant, 26 Sept. 1831.

He was listed in the minority against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, but Keenes’ Bath Journal, 26 Dec., issued a correction, saying that it had been asked to state that he had not voted. Having given notice, 24 Jan., he moved an amendment to exempt military personnel and merchant mariners from the requirement to be resident, 7 Feb. 1832, arguing that otherwise about 400,000 voters, or more than the population of the 12 largest towns, would be disfranchised. He defended the members of his profession as an honourable class of voters, who paid their taxes and contributed greatly to the security of the country at home and abroad, and he raised the potential abuse open to ministers of their being able to order the militia away from a constituency in order to prevent them voting. Althorp expressed some sympathy with his point in relation to sailors, and, on the understanding that government would propose an alteration, he withdrew his amendment. He voted against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading of the bill, 22 Mar., and for Waldo Sibthorp’s amendment concerning Lincoln freeholders, 23 Mar. On 28 Mar. he contended that ‘in the present uncomfortable state of our finances ... I conceive it is our duty, if we wish to avoid an act of national bankruptcy, to make all the reductions we can’. He reluctantly suggested that large military savings could be made by uniting the colleges at Woolwich and Sandhurst (where he said he had been trained), and by cutting the ‘dead weight’ of the veterans to 20,000 men, many of whom he knew, having been lately stationed with them in Ireland, were willing to serve as regular troops. He nevertheless justified the cost of providing a military education for orphans, 4 Apr., on the grounds that, although left without money, they ‘inherit their father’s name, character and connections, all of which we enable them to turn to account’. He made further proposals for retrenchment, 26 July, including reduction of the peacetime militia, which he thought was useless and too slow to deploy, and of the regular army, as it ‘will never again be our policy to appear as a great military power in continental Europe’. His only other recorded votes were against the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, and the second resolution on the Irish tithe fund, 27 Mar. 1832.

Boldero declined to offer for Chippenham at the general election of 1832, and was presented with a silver cup as a token of gratitude for his defence of its representation.7 He soon afterwards settled at Hurst Grove, near Reading, Berkshire. In 1835 he was again elected for Chippenham, where he sat as a Conservative and Protectionist until he retired in 1859. He died, intestate, in April 1873. His elder son with his second wife, George Neeld (1829-98), was a successful army officer, and his younger, Henry Kearney (1831-1900), was rector of Grittleton.8

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


  • 1. IGI (Kent); Add. 19119, f. 197.
  • 2. IGI (Suff.); J.J. Muskett, Suff. Manorial Fams. 185.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. (1796), i. 530; PROB 6/172; 11/1349/766.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1824), ii. 285; (1825), ii. 366; IGI (London).
  • 5. Wilts. RO, Neeld mss 1305/288, ‘Extract from private ledger of Joseph Neeld’.
  • 6. Devizes Gazette, 28 Apr., 5 May; Bath Gazette, 3 May 1831.
  • 7. Devizes Gazette, 12 July, 13 Dec.; Keenes’ Bath Jnl. 12 Nov. 1832.
  • 8. The Times, 14 Apr. 1873; Muskett, 185.