CURZON, Hon. Robert I (1774-1863), of Parham Park, Suss.; Hagley Hall, Staffs., and Upper Brook Street, Mdx.

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

Constituency

Dates

1796 - 1831

Family and Education

b. 13 Feb. 1774, 3rd but o. surv s. of Assheton Curzon†, 1st Visct. Curzon (d. 1820), of Penn House, nr. Amersham, Bucks. and Hagley Hall and 2nd w. Dorothy, da. of Sir Robert Grosvenor†, 6th bt., of Eaton Hall, Cheshire; half-bro. of Penn Assheton Curzon†. educ. Westminster; L. Inn 1791; Christ Church, Oxf. 1792. m. 14 Oct. 1808, Harriett Anne (later s.j. Baroness Zouche), da. and coh. of Sir Cecil Bisshopp†, 8th bt., of Parham, 2s. suc. fa.-in-law to Parham in trust Nov. 1828. d. 14 May 1863.

Offices Held

Lt. Rugeley vols. 1803, capt. 1804.

Biography

This Member’s father, who was created a baron by Pitt in 1794 and promoted to a viscountcy in 1802 by Addington, had returned him for Clitheroe, where he was the principal burgage holder, at each general election since 1796, and did so again in 1820. By his death, 21 Mar. 1820, the Curzon titles and entailed estates passed to his grandson Richard William Penn Curzon (d. 1897), the son of this Member’s half-brother Penn, who as heir to his mother’s Howe estate of Langar, Nottinghamshire, had taken that name and was created Earl Howe in 1821. Robert inherited his father’s substantial Staffordshire estate of Hagley and properties in Buckinghamshire, Lancashire, Middlesex and Nottinghamshire, together with the family burgages at Clitheroe entrusted to him in 1805.1 As a radical publication of 1825 noted, Curzon, for whom no speeches were reported, ‘attended very seldom and voted with ministers’.2 He voted against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 30 Apr. 1822, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He divided with the Liverpool administration on the Queen Caroline affair, 6 Feb., against the additional malt duty repeal bill, 3 Apr. 1821, and more extensive tax reductions, 21 Feb. 1822, having brought up a distress petition from Scarsdale on the 16th.3 He voted in defence of the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824, and for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 28 Feb., and the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 10 June 1825.

Returned unopposed at the general election of 1826, he voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. Following the death of his father-in-law (11 Nov. 1828), for whom the barony of Zouche had been restored in 1815, Curzon, who held the Bisshopp’s Parnham estate in trust, set out to obtain the title for his wife, and impressed on the home secretary Peel that he had sufficient real estate to support the dignity and was a reliable ministerialist. Before complying with his request, 9 Feb. 1829, the duke of Wellington informed Peel that Curzon was indeed a firm supporter of their ministry and unlikely to be satisfied until his wish was granted.4 Their patronage secretary Planta predicted that month that Curzon would vote ‘with government’ on Catholic emancipation, but he divided against the measure, 18 Mar. 1829. He is not known to have attended again before he was returned for Clitheroe at the 1830 general election. Ministers counted him among their ‘friends’ and he divided with them on the civil list, when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830. Ten days later he received a month’s leave ‘on account of the disturbed state of his [Sussex] neighbourhood’. He voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, by which Clitheroe was scheduled to lose a Member, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing dissolution he retired from Parliament in favour of his elder son and namesake.

On Peel’s accession to power in 1841 Curzon, stressing that ‘I and my family have ... always been firm supporters of the Conservative cause’, unsuccessfully solicited a household appointment for his elder son. His subsequent requests on behalf of his second son, the barrister Edward Cecil Curzon (1812-85), were similarly rejected.5 Curzon died in May 1863, having bequeathed the bulk of his estates to his elder son, whom he directed to sell the Hagley estate to provide an annual income for Edward, for whom about £43,000 was thus raised in 1864. The latter’s son Robert Curzon (1841-73) died tragically in a carriage accident.6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Authors: Stephen Bairstow / Margaret Escott

Notes

  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1820) i. 370; PROB 11/1627/194; HP Commons, 1790-1820, iii. 553-4.