LYGON, Henry Beauchamp (1784-1863), of Springfield, Worcs. and 16 Grosvenor Place, 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

5 Dec. 1816 - 1831
1832 - 22 Jan. 1853

Family and Education

b. 5 Jan. 1784, 3rd s. of William Lygon†, 1st Earl Beauchamp (d. 1816), and Catherine, da. of James Denn; bro. of Hon. Edward Pyndar Lygon* and Hon. William Beauchamp Lygon†. educ. Westminster 1797; Christ Church, Oxf. 1803. m. 8 July 1824, Lady Susan Caroline Eliot, da. of William Eliot†, 2nd earl of St. Germans, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. bro. John Reginald Pyndar as 4th Earl Beauchamp 22 Jan. 1853. d. 8 Sept. 1863.

Offices Held

Cornet 13 Drag. 1803, lt. 1804; capt. 16 Drag. 1807, maj. 1812, brevet lt.-col. 1815; maj. 1 Life Gds. 1815, lt.-col. 1821-37; brevet col. 1822; maj.-gen. 1837; col. 10 Drag. 1843-63; lt.-gen. 1846; gen. 1854; col. 2 Life Gds. and gold stick 1863.

Biography

Lygon, who had distinguished himself as a cavalry commander in the Peninsula, continued to sit for Worcestershire on the family interest, headed since 1816 by his eldest brother William, 2nd Earl Beauchamp. Like him he had given general support to the Liverpool ministry. At the 1820 general election he offered again, despite the fears of his brother who, having reported that Lygon was ‘very unwell’ a month before, worried whether he would be ‘stout enough to bear the fatigues of his election or even a contest, should one unfortunately arise’. He was returned unopposed.1 A regular but generally silent attender, who steadily brought up petitions of local concern, he continued to support ministers on most major issues, although he sided with the opposition for admiralty reductions in 1822.2 He presented a Kidderminster petition for repeal of the import restrictions on foreign wool, 15 May 1820, and a county petition complaining of agricultural distress, 27 Feb. 1821.3 He was absent from the division on Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, but voted against it, 30 Apr. 1822, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He attended a Worcestershire county meeting in support of agricultural relief and parliamentary reform, 8 Feb., when he promised to ‘readily concur in any measures which appeared to be capable of mitigating the present distresses of the country’, and he brought up the resulting petition, 4 Mar. 1822.4 On 28 Feb. he rebutted the claims of a London corporation petition complaining of an alleged attack on Robert Waithman* by soldiers under his command at Knightsbridge barracks in the aftermath of Queen Caroline’s funeral procession, saying that ‘the more the matter was inquired into, the more the good temper and forbearance of the troops would be made evident’.5 The House divided against inquiry into the incident. He was in the opposition majority for admiralty reductions, 1 Mar. He presented a petition from the silk manufacturers of Blockley against the navigation bill, 30 May 1822.6 He voted against parliamentary reform, 20 Feb 1823. He brought up petitions for repeal of the Insolvent Debtors Act, 18 Mar. 1823, and the removal of excise licenses, 5 Apr., 5, 26 May 1824.7 He divided for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb. 1825. He presented constituency petitions for repeal of the corn laws, 25 Apr. 1825, 21 Feb. 1826.8 He brought up one from the silk throwsters of Worcester against the importation of French silks, 13 Feb., and voted for inquiry into the subject, 24 Feb. 1826. He presented a Shipston petition for the abolition of slavery, 7 Apr. 1826.9

At the 1826 general election Lygon was returned unopposed.10 He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He presented a petition from the Protestant Dissenters of Kidderminster against the Test Acts, 15 Feb., but divided against their repeal, 26 Feb. 1828. He brought up petitions from Evesham against the Malt Act, 14 Mar., and from Stourbridge against bull-baiting, 28 Mar. On 2 May he presented two petitions from the carpet manufacturers of Kidderminster against the discontinuation of promissory notes under £5 and the tax on wool imports. He presented one from the silk throwsters of Blockley against reducing the duty on foreign silk, 12 June 1828. Despite his earlier hostility to Catholic claims, in January 1829 he was listed by Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, as a possible mover or seconder of the address announcing their concession of emancipation. He presented hostile petitions from 6,000 Worcester Protestants, 19 Feb., Evesham, 27 Feb., and the Worcester clergy, 30 Mar. At the end of February he was listed by Planta as ‘opposed to the principle’ of emancipation and he duly voted against it, 6, 18 (as a pair), 27, 30 Mar. He presented petitions from the merchants and manufacturers of Kidderminster against renewal of the East India Company’s charter, 11 May 1829, 17 Mar. 1830. He divided against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds, 23 Feb. 1830. He presented parish petitions against the Kidderminster road bill, 24 Feb. He was granted ten days’ leave on urgent private business, 1 Mar. On 9 Mar. he presented a Stourbridge petition against the truck system. He was in the minority against the appointment of a navy treasurer, 12 Mar. He presented a petition from the farmers of Lower Sapey complaining of distress that day, and another in similar terms from the grand jury of Worcestershire, 16 Mar. He presented and endorsed a petition from Worcestershire farmers against the additional duty on corn spirits, 27 Apr. He brought up petitions against the sale of beer bill from Kidderminster, 28 Apr., and Dudley, 6 May, and voted for a continuation of the restrictions, 1 July. He divided against Jewish emancipation, 17 May. Next day he presented a Kidderminster petition against the insolvent debtors bill. He voted for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830.

At the 1830 general election Lygon offered again for Worcestershire, where rumours of a third candidate came to nothing and he was returned unopposed.11 He was listed by the Wellington ministry as one of their ‘friends’, but was absent from the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented an anti-slavery petition, 5 Nov. On 14 Dec. 1830 he endorsed a Stourbridge petition against the truck system. He presented a petition for the removal of impediments to the study of anatomy, 9 Feb. 1831. On 14 Mar. he presented and endorsed a petition against the proposed disfranchisement of Evesham, whose electors, he claimed, regretted that ‘in consequence of the misconduct of certain out-voters, a stigma should be attached to the whole borough’. He voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., presented petitions in its favour from Horsley, Repton and Normanton two days later, and divided for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. Next day, when moving the second reading of the Worcester county hall bill, he argued that any objections raised by the borough Member should be dealt with in committee. Later that day he protested that a petition from Stourbridge in favour of the reform bill did ‘not express the opinion of the county’ and presented a counter-petition from the magistrates of Worcestershire with which he entirely concurred, observing that although ‘the decision to which the House came this morning [about preserving the rights of freeman voters] will divest the bill of one of its objectionable features, yet even that which remains is so objectionable, that I cannot give it my consent’.

At the ensuing general election Lygon stood again, denouncing the reform bill as ‘violent in principle’ and ‘hazardous to our well balanced constitution’, but insisting that he was ‘by no means an enemy to such reform as time and change of circumstances may have rendered necessary’. After a heated contest lasting one week, during which he was assaulted twice by an ‘infuriated mob’, he conceded defeat, regretting ‘to find that the way I voted has lost me the good wishes and support of some of my constituents’. A ‘numerous county meeting’ was held in honour of his services, 21 May 1831.12 He was a founder member of the Carlton Club in March 1832. At that year’s general election he came forward for the new division of Worcestershire West, where he was returned unopposed without being proposed or seconded, the crowd’s cries of ‘Foley and Lygon’ being taken by the sheriff as sufficient. He sat there as a Conservative who opposed repeal of the corn laws until he succeeded to his brother’s peerage in 1853.13

Lygon died at his seat at Madresfield Court in September 1863.14 By his will, dated 2 Mar. 1861, he left legacies of £10,000 to his only surviving daughter Georgiana, Lady Raglan, and her two sons. A trust fund of £25,000 was established for his son Frederick, which was augmented by two codicils of the same date granting him additional sums of £15,000 and £6,000. The remaining estate, including Madresfield, passed to his eldest surviving son and successor in the peerage Henry Lygon (1829-66), who had succeeded him as Conservative Member for Worcestershire West in March 1853.

 

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon

Notes

  • 1. Worcs. RO, Lechmere mss, Beauchamp to Sir A. Lechmere, 17 Feb.; Berrow’s Worcester Jnl. 2 Mar. 1820.
  • 2. Black Bk. (1823), 173; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 474.
  • 3. The Times, 16 May 1820, 28 Feb. 1821.
  • 4. Ibid. 11 Feb., 5 Mar. 1822.
  • 5. Ibid. 1 Mar. 1822.
  • 6. Ibid. 31 May 1822.
  • 7. Ibid. 6 Apr., 6, 27 May 1824.
  • 8. Ibid. 26 Apr. 1825, 22 Feb. 1826.
  • 9. Ibid. 14 Feb., 8 Apr. 1826.
  • 10. Ibid. 5, 20 June; Worcester Herald, 10, 17 June 1826.