FARDELL, John (1784-1854), of Eastgate, Lincoln and Holbeck Lodge, nr. Horncastle, Lincs.

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



1830 - 1831

Family and Education

b. 4 May 1784, 1st s. of John Fardell, dep. registrar, archdeaconry of Lincoln and Eleanor Penelope, da. of John Hayward of Lincoln. educ. ?Louth g.s.; M. Temple 1817, called 1824. m. 26 Sept. 1809, Mary, da. of John Tunnard of Frampton House, nr. Boston, 2s. suc. fa. 1805. d. 5 Feb. 1854.

Offices Held

Dep. registrar, archdeaconry of Lincoln and registrar, archdeaconry of Stow 1805-21; clerk of common chamber and recvr.-gen.; clerk of fabric; coroner within their liberties, steward of galilee ct. and manorial cts. in Lincs. and Hunts., to dean and chapter of Lincoln 1806-21; chapter clerk and register 1810-21.

Steward, Lincoln 1836.


The Fardell family came originally from Northamptonshire, but had been settled in Lincolnshire since the early eighteenth century. John Fardell the elder entered the office of the deputy registrar at Lincoln. In 1767 he became one of the proctors in the consistory court and by 1774 was a notary public. He succeeded as deputy registrar in 1783 and held a number of separate offices under the bishop and his commissary in the archdeaconries of Lincoln and Stow, as well as appointments under the dean and chapter. His position enabled him to lease and purchase church lands and secure his family’s advancement.1 His younger sons, Thomas and Henry, were educated at Cambridge and entered the church: Henry Fardell (1795-1854) married the eldest daughter of the bishop of Ely and was one of the notorious pluralists singled out by the Black Book.2 John Fardell was destined to succeed his father in the registry, and in 1801 Fardell senior obtained a new patent of the Stow registrarship for their joint lives. No record of John’s clerkship survives, but he was certainly involved with the business of the Lincoln consistory court by 1803, and succeeded to his father’s offices on his sudden death in February 1805. Fardell senior’s personal estate was valued at £25,000 and, after making provision for his two daughters, he left all his lands to his three sons as tenants in common and charged them with an annuity of £200 for his widow.3 In July 1805 John Hodgson, the bishop’s legal secretary and a family friend, urged Fardell to reply to a solicitor’s inquiry, and wrote: ‘You are the most silent young man I know, though you certainly have not that character amongst my young ladies, who insist upon it that your tongue seldom rested in their company in London’.4 He was a notary public by January 1806 and was appointed to a number of offices under the dean and chapter in September. He married in 1809 and was appointed clerk to the dean and chapter the following year. He enrolled at the Middle Temple in 1817 but was not called to the bar until 1824; though listed as counsel until his death, he never practised. He was appointed registrar and actuary during the vacancy in the see of Lincoln which followed the translation of Bishop Pretyman to Winchester in 1820. In 1821, aged only 37, he sold his business as a proctor, notary and conveyancer to Robert Swan, a Lincoln attorney, for £7,000, and relinquished his other ecclesiastical offices in Swan’s favour, though he secured the insertion of his elder son’s life into the patents of the Stow registrarship.5 In anticipation of his retirement he had written to Earl Brownlow, lord lieutenant of Lincolnshire, confident that his character and property in Lindsey and Kesteven entitled him to be made a magistrate and deputy lieutenant, but he had great difficulty in establishing his credentials. He tried again in 1821 with the bishop of Ely’s support, but was again unsuccessful. He became a freeman of Lincoln by purchase in 1822. The following year he assured Brownlow of his support for the Liverpool administration: he had purchased his freedom with the ‘express purpose of supporting those principles’. Even though he enjoyed an income of £3,000 a year, Brownlow again declined to admit him. In 1826, convinced that Brownlow was prejudiced against him, he wrote in vindication of his character: his votes in the elections for Huntingdonshire and Lincolnshire were ‘sufficient proof’ of his attachment to the ‘ministerial interest’. He had for some time acted as a general commissioner of taxes and was well acquainted with the Lincoln bench, but he was again disappointed in his aspirations. When two former lawyers were admitted to the commission in 1828 he was mortified to be excluded, particularly when his ‘station in life and property in the county’, as he told Brownlow, entitled him to be included. Neither Charles Chaplin, one of the county Members, nor any of Fardell’s own county and ecclesiastical friends could persuade Brownlow to change his mind.6 Like his father, Fardell was interested in the muniments of the dean and chapter. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1809 and subsequently admitted to that of Scotland. On a visit to Lincoln in 1825 his fellow antiquary the Rev. John Skinner sketched his collection of antiquities. He aspired to the life of a country gentleman, and in 1829 purchased the lordship of Greetham and 567 acres of land for £17,760. He had also come into possession of the advowson of Laceby. He possessed additional lands at Holbeck in the parish of Ashby Puerorum. He refurbished Holbeck Lodge, which became his country residence, and landscaped the grounds in the best Salvator Rosa taste.7 Dr. Edward Parker Charlesworth of Lincoln, who knew him well, portrayed him as something of an amiable nonentity. On one occasion he told Sir Edward French Bromhead of Thurlby: ‘I humour him in little points: his mind cannot grasp a large one, which saves me much trouble’.8

At the general election of 1830 the Lincoln independents, anxious to field a third man, solicited Montague John Cholmeley* to stand in opposition to Charles Waldo Sibthorp and Lord Monson’s nominee. When he dithered they invited Fardell, whom they believed to be a reformer, to stand in his place. He agreed to do so, ‘free and unshackled in political opinions’. As Charlesworth saw it, ‘Jacky suffered himself to be dragged down in his carriage to do "third man" for the Blue committee, driven to their wits’ end for somebody to pay the expenses they had incurred’.9 He confirmed his previously pledged support for Sibthorp, even at the risk of ruining his own chances. The challenge seemed to be aimed at Monson’s uncle Lord Mexborough*, but the Monson interest collapsed, and Fardell and Sibthorp were returned unopposed. He was described by Bromhead at the election as a supporter of ‘public economy, moderate in his politics, and unconnected with any party’. Sir Charles Anderson of Lea depicted him as a ‘good natured man who will be sufficiently happy in franking letters at the old dame’s route in the Minster Yard’.10 He was a friend of Sir William Amcotts Ingilby, the senior county Member and a reformer, but his politics remained uncertain, and in October 1830 he gave a celebratory dinner for Sibthorp and the Tory corporation of Lincoln.11 The Wellington ministry listed him among the ‘good doubtfuls’, but he voted against them in the division on the civil list which brought them down, 15 Nov. 1830. Yet he voted against the second reading of the Grey government’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He was beheaded in effigy at Lincoln for these votes. He presented and endorsed the prayer of a petition against the register of deeds bill, 20 Apr. 1831. Before the dissolution Charles Tennyson* urged Gilbert John Heathcote* to stand for Lincoln, since Fardell would have a ‘rough reception’ and was hardly likely to ‘make another attempt’. He apparently still had some support, but, arguing that the reform bill was too sweeping, he declined to contest the seat.12

Fardell kept up his antiquarian interests, and in 1833 was engaged in researching family history; but he told his friend Stacey Grimaldi, ‘I shall have a labyrinth of difficulty to wade through before I shall be able to accomplish my object’.13 In 1835 he presented Lincoln with a gas-illuminated clock to adorn the guildhall.14 He was appointed steward of the city in 1836. He secured the reversionary interest to the valuable advowson of Sprotborough, near Doncaster for his elder son, the Rev. John George Fardell (1810-99). Anxious to avoid a dispute, but determined to ‘protect he rights of the church’, he settled a voluntary commutation of tithes there, and increased the value of the living from £625 to £700 a year.15 In 1853 he sold the Holbeck estate to his younger son Charles for £11,000, and at about the same time disposed of much of his other Lincolnshire property, including the manor of Greetham and his estate at Wadddington for £24,000 and £17,000 respectively. He died of heart disease at his son’s rectory in February 1854.16 By his will, dated 22 Dec. 1853, he divided his remaining property equally between his sons.17

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Simon Harratt


  • 1. ‘Some Corresp. of John Fardell’, Lincoln Rec. Soc. lxvi (1973), 45-50.
  • 2. Black Bk. (1830), 25.
  • 3. Lincoln Rec. Soc. lxvi. 50.
  • 4. Lincs. AO Cor/R/5/40/
  • 5. Lincoln Rec. Soc. lxvi. 50.
  • 6. Lincs. AO, Brownlow mss 4 BNL box 1, Fardell to Brownlow, 4 Feb., 23 May 1820; box 2, same to same, 15 Aug. 1821, 28 Feb. 1823, 15 July, 21 Aug. 1826, 23 Feb. 1828, replies, 19 Aug. 1826, 27 Feb. 1828, G. Gordon to Brownlow, 10 Nov. 1828; R.J. Olney, Rural Society in 19th Cent. Lincs. 43.
  • 7. J. Varley, Parts of Kesteven, 98-99; D.M. Williamson, Lincoln Muniments, 10; J. Conway Waller, Recs. of Parishes around Horncastle, 11-12.
  • 8. Sir F. Hill, Georgian Lincoln, 233.
  • 9. Ibid. 234.
  • 10. Ibid. 233-4; Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 30 July, 6, 13 Aug. 1830.
  • 11. Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 22 Oct. 1830.
  • 12. Lincs. AO, Ancaster mss XIII/B/6c, d; Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury, 8, 29 Apr.; Stamford Herald, 29 Apr. 1831.
  • 13. Add. 34188, f. 554.
  • 14. Sir F. Hill, Victorian Lincoln, 39.
  • 15. J.G. Fardell, Sprotborough, 58.
  • 16. Gent. Mag. (1854), i. 430.
  • 17. PROB 11/2189/222; IR26/1995/226.