HOSKINS, Kedgwin (1777-1852), of Strickstenning and Much Birch, Herefs. and 135 Regent Street, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 26 May 1777, o. surv. s. of Rev. John Hoskins, rect. of Llandinabo, Herefs., and Sarah, da. of Kedgwin Hoskins of Newent, Glos. m. (1) 12 Apr. 1804, Harriet (d. 17 Sept. 1835), da. of William Elliott of Fawley Court, Herefs., s.p.; (2) 23 June 1836, Elizabeth, da. of Isaac Haynes of Ealing, Mdx., s.p. d. 24 Dec. 1852.
John Hoskins, who died in March 1827 at the age of 83 with next to nothing to leave to his son, was, like his wife, a member of the Newent branch of the family. Their relations, the Rogers family of Stanage, had appointed him to the Herefordshire living of Llandinabo, near Ross, where he was usually resident, and Cranford, Middlesex, which he held with the lectureship of Uxbridge.1 Hoskins, his only surviving child, made his career in banking and may have been associated with the family bank in Crewkerne, Somerset, which was taken over in 1819, before becoming a partner with John and Richard Jones and the Quaker Nathaniel Morgan in establishments in Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.2 A conscientious magistrate and regular attender at public meetings on popular Whig causes espoused by the ‘Men of Ross’, he chaired the hundred of Wormelow agriculturists’ meeting at Harewood’s End, 11 Feb. 1820, when they petitioned for government action to combat distress; and he was active in the establishment of local associations for the apprehension and prosecution of felons.3 He encouraged the adoption of ‘loyal addresses’ incorporating declarations of support for Queen Caroline at Ross and Hereford, where he was also vice-chairman at the dinner and presentation to Joseph Hume*, 5 Dec. 1821.4 Afterwards, he accompanied Hume, John Lucy Scudamore of Kentchurch Court, and the Whig Member for Herefordshire, Robert Price, to Monmouth, where the controlling anti-Beaufort party made them honorary freemen.5 He was a requisitionist for and attended the contentious Herefordshire distress meeting attended by William Cobbett†, 17 Jan. 1823,6 and joined in the protest against the corporation of Hereford’s refusal to admit three of his political allies as freemen in 1824.7 During the 1825-6 crisis, his bank, for whom Barclay, Tritton and Company were the London agents, ‘stood the run nobly’. His auditing skills were now in high demand, and his presence with the Tory Kingsmill Evans at gentry dinners and meetings helped to restore confidence following the collapse of Garrett and Sons and Bodenhams’ Hereford banks.8 He chaired Price’s dinner at the 1826 general election,9 and subsequently helped to organize petitions on diverse subjects, including high rents, the shortage of specie, the Small Notes Act, the currency, capital punishment for forgery, and the 1830 Ross-on-Wye improvement bill.10 He canvassed Hereford early on behalf of the sitting Whig Edward Bolton Clive at the 1830 general election, and the Ross bank became a place of signature for petitions against slavery and for parliamentary reform, 1830-1.11 On 2 Apr. 1831 he attended the reform dinner for the self-proclaimed champion of the cause, Edmund Lechmere Charlton†, who announced his candidature for Herefordshire directly the Grey ministry’s reform bill’s defeat precipitated a dissolution.12 However, a disagreement between Charlton and the eminent horticulturist and radical Thomas Andrew Knight of Downton made another choice imperative, and the Whig gentry selected Hoskins, whom the Globe described as a ‘real reformer’ with many friends and few enemies. According to his canvassing address, 26 Apr. 1831, he had agreed to stand free of expense for a single Parliament to accomplish ‘the great work of reform’. Charlton desisted, the sitting Tory Sir John Cotterell retired, and he came in unopposed with Price.13
True to his promise, Hoskins, whose conduct was closely monitored by the Hereford Journal and Monmouthshire Merlin, divided for the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, against adjournment, 12 July, and steadily for its details; but he cast wayward votes for the total disfranchisement of Saltash, which ministers no longer pressed, 26 July, and for Lord Chandos’s amendment to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug. 1831. He voted for the bill’s third reading, 19 Sept., and passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish measure, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He was a requisitionist for the Herefordshire reform meeting which petitioned unanimously in protest at the reform bill’s rejection by the Lords, and they thanked him for supporting it, 5 Nov. On the hustings, he said that he had not foreseen that his parliamentary duties would detain him so much in London, expressed disappointment at the bill’s rejection, and, calling for patience and perseverance, urged the freeholders to place their confidence in the ministry and promised to vote conscientiously. Addressing the agriculturists’ concerns, he insisted that the government’s game bill had been a sound measure when it left the Commons for the Lords, and he therefore ‘did not feel answerable’ for its bad clauses.14 He divided for the revised reform bill at its second reading, 17 Dec. 1831, and generally steadily for its details, but for the separate enfranchisement of Merthyr Tydfil, 5 Mar. 1832. He divided for the third reading, 22 Mar., and the address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry it unimpaired, 10 May. He voted for the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May, and against a Conservative amendment to the Scottish measure, 1 June, but in the minorities against the boundary bill’s proposals for Stamford and Whitehaven, 22 June. He divided for the Liverpool disfranchisement bill at its second reading, 23 May, and annoyed the Liverpool Member William Ewart by presenting the corporation’s petition against it, 24 May 1832, but he stood his ground, insisting that he had no vested interest, but that he felt entitled to respond to the urgency of the Liverpool case. He divided with government against the Irish union of parishes bill, 19 Aug., in both divisions on the Dublin election controversy, 23 Aug. 1831, on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16, 20 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. 1832. Hoskins did not shy from voting against government when he felt his own judgement and constituency interests required it. He voted with the radicals for printing the Waterford petition for disarming the Irish yeomanry, 11 Aug. 1831, and to end military flogging, 16 Feb., and inquire into the Peterloo massacre, 15 Mar. 1832. He divided against the Vestry Act amendment bill, 23 Jan., and for inquiry into the distressed glove trade, which affected his constituents, 31 Jan. He presented a petition from bankers and others in Ross calling for an end to the death penalty for non-violent crimes, 24, and, supported by Clive and Price, he presented and endorsed several petitions from Herefordshire and elsewhere that day against West Indian slavery and voted against the government amendment to Buxton’s motion for inquiry into abolition. He voted to make coroners’ inquests public, 20 June, and to reduce the barrack grant, 28 June 1832.15
As Member for Herefordshire, Hoskins had patronized benefit societies, the Leominster races, and Herefordshire Association meetings at London’s Freemasons’ Tavern; and although he was a member of the established church, his stance on slavery and commutation of the death penalty guaranteed him Nonconformist support.16 When it became apparent that the Conservatives were unlikely to field more than one candidate for the county’s three seats at the first post-reform election in December 1832, and that if they did so Price would be their target, he issued a canvassing address, 1 Nov., and was duly returned.17 He was admitted to Brooks’s, 7 June 1834 (proposed by Clive and Price), topped the Herefordshire poll by over 1,000 votes in his only contest in 1835 and retained his seat for the Liberals until he retired through ill health in 1847.18 He had remarried within a year of his first wife’s death, but remained childless, and died at his home in Much Birch in December 1852. He bequeathed his interests as a trustee or mortgagee to Thomas Hardwick of Hereford and his heirs but otherwise left everything to his widow.19
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Margaret Escott
- 1. Gent Mag. (1827), i. 473; PROB 11/1730/542; IR26/1130.
- 2. Gent. Mag. (1853), i. 440.
- 3. Hereford Jnl. 9, 16 Feb. 1820, 24 Jan. 1821.
- 4. Ibid. 29 Nov., 20, 27 Dec. 1820, 10, 24 Jan., 12 Dec. 1821.
- 5. Bristol Mercury, 15 Dec. 1821.
- 6. Hereford Jnl. 18 Dec. 1822, 8, 15, 22 Jan. 1823; Herefs. RO, Pateshall mss A95/EB/40/4 passim. See HEREFORDSHIRE.
- 7. Hereford Jnl. 10, 17, 24 Nov., 15 Dec. 1824, 1 Jan.; Hereford Independent, 1 Jan. 1825.
- 8. Hereford Independent, 24 Dec. 1825, 7 Jan., 25 Feb., 18 Mar., 1, 15 Apr.; Hereford Jnl. 3 May 1826.