BRANDLING, Charles John (1769-1826), of Gosforth House, Northumb. and 1 Park Street, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 4 Feb. 1769, 1st s. of Charles Brandling† of Gosforth and Elizabeth, da. and h. of John Thompson of Shotton, co. Dur. educ. Newcome’s, Hackney; St. John’s, Camb. 1786; continental tour 1791. m. 27 Sept. 1793,1 Frances Elizabeth Hawksworth, da. of Walter Ramsden Beaumont Fawkes (formerly Hawksworth) of Hawksworth, Yorks., s.p. suc. fa. 1802. d. 1 Feb. 1826.
Lt. Northumb. militia 1790, capt. 1793; lt.-col. commdt. Northumb. and Newcastle vol. cav. 1819-d.
His regular dining companion, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Whig barrister James Losh, recalled Brandling, whose politics were Tory and pro-Catholic, as ‘a cheerful, gentlemanly man ... [of] very good talents’, who ‘had he not been rich, would ... no doubt, have been an active man of business’.2 His father’s successor as Member for Newcastle, he had rarely attended the House unless summoned by ministers and had been obliged to retire in 1812 to avoid a contest directed against him by the 2nd duke of Northumberland. Yet he remained popular and influential in the south of the county, developed collieries at Gosforth, Longbenton and his Durham estates of Shotton and Felling, founded a Pitt Club in Newcastle in 1814 and commanded the yeomanry there with distinction after Peterloo, and again during the 1822-3 Tyne keelmen’s riots. At the general election of 1820 he agreed to be put forward for Northumberland by the 3rd duke as the only candidate acceptable to Lord Liverpool’s administration who had sufficient local support to unseat the Tory renegade Thomas William Beaumont*. In the event the retirement of the sitting Whig Sir Charles Monck left them unopposed.3 Lord Grey, a personal friend, who had refused on political grounds to back him, informed his fellow Whig, Sir Robert Wilson*: ‘Brandling comes in upon the open avowal of the most profligate political principles, or rather the want of all principles’.4
He made no reported speeches, served on no major select committees and was described in a radical publication of 1823 as ‘a thick and thin ministerialist’. A similar organ in 1825 noted with greater accuracy that he ‘attended seldom’ and ‘voted with government’.5 His endorsements of the petitions he presented against the proposed alterations in the timber duties, 23 Feb. 1821, for amelioration of the criminal code, 15 May 1822, and against the hides and skins bill, 31 Mar. 1824, were inaudible to reporters.6 He divided for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 21 Apr. 1825, and mustered as hitherto for ministers against the additional malt duty repeal bill, 3 Apr., and on taxation, 27 June 1821, 21 Feb., 13 Mar. 1822. He voted against disfranchising civil ordnance officers, 12 Apr. 1821, and investigating chancery arrears, 5 June 1823. He had applied in vain to Liverpool in January that year for promotion as a canon of Durham for his brother Ralph (d. 1853).7 According to his brother-in-law Thomas Creevey*, who was present at the family conferences that followed Brandling’s sudden death without issue in February 1826, he left an unsigned will bequeathing £500, £2,000 a year and his town house and its contents to his widow (d. 1844). However, at York, 26 Sept. 1826, he was declared intestate and Ralph, who succeeded him at Gosforth and sold it when it became free of encumbrances in 1852, was appointed to administer his estate. His personalty was sworn under £80,000, but declared ‘insolvent’ for duty purposes.