ELFORD, Jonathan (1776-1823), of Uplands, Tamerton Folliott, Devon

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



1820 - 23 Nov. 1820

Family and Education

b. 5 Nov. 1776, o.s. of Sir William Elford†, 1st bt. (d. 1837), banker, of Bickham and 1st w. Mary, da. and h. of Rev. John Davies of Plympton. educ. ?Plympton g.s.;1 Oriel, Oxf. 1795. m. 10 May 1810, Charlotte, da. of John Wynne of Abercynlleth, Denb., s.p.2 d.v.p. 11 Mar. 1823.

Offices Held

Capt. E. Devon militia 1803.


Elford’s father, a partner in the Plymouth Bank and a controversial Member for Plymouth, 1796-1806, was solicitous for his only son. His attachment to the prime minister, William Pitt, earned him a baronetcy in 1800, but his attempts to secure the receivership of Devon for Jonathan were in vain. In 1805 he sought a commissionership of public accounts, but nothing had been done by the time Pitt died, though Elford later claimed to have been given a firm promise of early provision for his son. The Grenville ministry, trying to deflect Sir William from standing for Plymouth in 1806, offered a post in the revenue department at the Cape of Good Hope, worth £1,000 a year, for himself or Jonathan, but Elford refused to be bought off, stood and was beaten. In 1807 he asked the Portland ministry for a promise of the collectorship of customs at Plymouth for his son in the event of his own success there at the approaching general election: it was ‘a valuable situation, and one which would be extremely agreeable to Jonathan and also to us, as it would keep him near us’. Elford had to withdraw from the field at Plymouth, and although he was returned for a treasury borough, he held the seat for only a year and left the House with Jonathan still unprovided for.3 He became a freeman of Plymouth in 1810.4

Elford was returned at the general election of 1820 for Westbury, presumably as a paying guest of the proprietor, Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes*, who had recently been imprisoned for electoral corruption. He was named to the select committee on turnpikes, 16 May, but is not known to have voted or spoken in the House before he and his colleague vacated their seats in November 1820 to allow Masseh Lopes, whose sentence had been remitted, to return himself with a wealthy Bristol merchant. Elford died in March 1823, leaving his estate, including personalty sworn under £7,000, to his widow.5 He was spared the ignominy of the family’s ruin by the collapse of his father’s bank in 1825, to which his own debts had contributed.6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Authors: Stephen Farrell / David R. Fisher


  • 1. L. Elford, The Elfords [sic] (BL typescript), pt. ii. p. 2b.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. (1810), i. 484.
  • 3. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iii. 679-81; TNA, Dacres Adams mss 10/6.
  • 4. Elford, pt. ii. p. 2b.
  • 5. PROB 11/1670/277; IR26/954/348.
  • 6. Oxford DNB sub Sir William Elford.