KENYON, Hon. Lloyd (1805-1869), of 9 Portman Square, Mdx.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. 1 Apr. 1805, 1st s. of George, 2nd Bar. Kenyon, and his cos. Margaret Emma, da. of Sir Thomas Hanmer, 2nd bt., of Hanmer, Flints. educ. Harrow 1817-23; Christ Church, Oxf. 1823. m. 29 June 1833, Hon. Georgina De Grey, da. of Ven. Thomas, 4th Bar. Walsingham, 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 5da. suc. fa. as 3rd Bar. Kenyon 25 Feb. 1855. d. 14 July 1869.
Kenyon’s grandfather Lloyd Kenyon† (1732-1802), whose mother brought the Flintshire estate of Gredington into the family, served as attorney-general under both Rockingham and Pitt, became master of the rolls in 1784 and chief justice of king’s bench and a peer in 1788. A coarse-fibred man with a rough tongue, he was an able, industrious lawyer, who amassed a considerable fortune which he invested in landed property in Denbighshire and Flintshire.1 Kenyon’s father, a devout high churchman, was an implacable opponent of Catholic relief who emerged in the mid-1820s as one of the leading Ultra Tories, along with the duke of Newcastle and Lords Mansfield and Winchilsea. He was involved in their vain attempts to secure the formation of a solidly anti-Catholic ministry in 1827, and was made uneasy by the repeal of the Test Acts the following year. Later in 1828 he initiated the meetings which led to the formation of the Brunswick Constitutional Club, and in letters to the press he urged the Protestants of Britain to organize in order to stop the Wellington ministry’s drift towards concession. Emancipation, when it came in 1829, infuriated him, and he was active in the Ultras’ subsequent efforts to remove Wellington and form a Protestant ministry under the aegis of the duke of Cumberland.2
Kenyon, who was admitted a member of the Brunswick Club in August 1828, was returned for Mitchell at the general election of 1830 on the interest of the Ultra Lord Falmouth.3 The ministry of course numbered him among the ‘violent Ultras’. He took his seat on the opposition benches and in his maiden speech, 5 Nov. 1830, demanded to know what steps ministers intended to take to deal with the ‘general and unexampled depression [which] exists in all interests’. (His father blamed ‘the unexampled disorganized state of society now existing’ largely on ‘the loss of character which Parliament and public men have suffered from the course pursued by ... Wellington’s government’, and wanted to see order restored in the disturbed districts by reviving the yeomanry, imposing a curfew, suspending habeas corpus and introducing rewards for the exposure of miscreants.)4 He voted against them in the crucial civil list division, 15 Nov. 1830. On 7 Feb. 1831 he moved for a return of the acreage of uncultivated waste in England and Wales, some of which he wished to make available to poor agricultural labourers, but he withdrew when it was explained that the materials for furnishing such information did not exist. He aligned himself with the group of Commons Ultras led by Sir Richard Vyvyan and Sir Edward Knatchbull, and on 19 Mar. complained to his father of Sir Robert Peel’s obstinacy in refusing to endorse their plan to follow the anticipated defeat of the Grey ministry’s reform bill with a resolution in favour of moderate reform: he suspected that Peel ‘wishes us to commit ourselves against all reform, so as to be totally dependent on him and his party’.5 He divided against the bill’s second reading, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He was again returned for Mitchell at the ensuing general election.
He was in the minority of 13 for a reduction of public salaries to their 1797 levels, 30 June 1831. He divided against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, for an adjournment motion, 12 July, to use the 1831 census for the purpose of determining the disfranchisement schedules, 19 July, and against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July. He demanded ‘as a claim of right’ that all the Welsh counties should, like Glamorgan, be given an additional seat, 18 Aug., but dropped his motion for a mandatory instruction to the committee when the leader of the Commons, Lord Althorp, promised to consider the idea (Denbighshire was later given an additional Member). He divided against the bill’s third reading, 19 Sept., and its passage, 21 Sept. Following its defeat in the Lords his father, who had recently made a fool of himself with a drunken outburst at a party meeting, was reportedly spoiling for a physical ‘fight with the people’.6 He voted for the motion to censure the Irish administration for its conduct during the Dublin election, 23 Aug. He divided for the Liverpool bribery prevention bill, 5 Sept., and to investigate the complaints of West Indian sugar producers, 12 Sept. He voted against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, entering committee, 20 Jan., the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., the third reading, 22 Mar., and the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May 1832. In February John Croker* named him as one of the Ultras who, still unreconciled to Peel, afforded ‘but a hollow support’ to opposition and who, ‘though they vote with us, are evidently a different party’.7 He divided against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July. On 9 Apr. he introduced a bill to encourage the employment of agricultural labourers through the enclosure of waste lands, his father having just abandoned an attempt to pilot the same measure through the Lords; it foundered at the report stage, 12 July. He was credited with an emphatic refusal to postpone the labourers’ employment bill until the next session, 27 June, in terms which implied that it was his measure. This may have been a case of mistaken identity, for the bill, which gained royal assent, had been sponsored by Sir Charles Burrell. He voted to open coroners’ inquests to the public, 20 June, and for Alexander Baring’s bill to exclude insolvent debtors from the House, 27 June 1832.
At the general election of 1832 Kenyon made a bid for the extra Welsh county seat which he had helped to secure by standing for Denbighshire. He set much store by his support for agricultural protection and claimed to favour the abolition of slavery, but he was abused on account of the emoluments, totalling in excess of £9,400, which his father and uncle Thomas Kenyon derived from king’s bench sinecures. He was beaten into third place and thereafter played little part in public life.8 General Dyott, who met him in 1838, recorded that ‘I never met a more agreeable man, with less pomp and pride of aristocratic superiority than usually falls to his grade’.9 He succeeded to his father’s title and estates in 1855. He died in July 1869 and, his eldest son having predeceased him, was succeeded by his grandson Lloyd Kenyon (1864-1927).
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. Oxford DNB sub Lloyd, 1st Bar. Kenyon; R.L. Kenyon, Kenyon Fam. 43-44.
- 2. Add. 40396, f. 19; Colchester Diary, iii. 301-2, 496-7, 574-5; G.I.T. Machin, Catholic Question in English Politics, 3, 30, 96, 115, 131-4, 154, 167, 175-7, 181.
- 3. Kenyon mss, Chandos to Lord Kenyon, 27 Aug. , Falmouth to same, 19 May, 15 Aug. 1830.
- 4. Add. 47591, f. 46.
- 5. Kenyon mss, Lloyd Kenyon to fa. 19 Mar. 1831; Three Diaries, 135, 220, 232; B.T. Bradfield, ‘Vyvyan and Country Gentlemen’, EHR, lxxxiii (1968), 732.
- 6. Three Diaries, 131; Lady Holland to Son, 120.
- 7. Croker Pprs. ii. 151.
- 8. Carnarvon Herald, 18 Aug., 29 Dec.; Chester Chron. 26 Oct. 1832.
- 9. Dyott’s Diary, ii. 281.