METCALFE, Henry (1780-1822), of Laurence's Street, Drogheda, co. Louth and Fludyer Street, Mdx.

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



1820 - 11 Feb. 1822

Family and Education

b. 20 Aug. 1780, 3rd s. of James Metcalfe, attorney, of Drogheda and w. Elizabeth Richards. educ. by Mr. Crawford; Trinity, Dublin, 1796-1800; King’s Inns 1800; I. Temple 1800. m. s.p. d. 11 Feb. 1822.

Offices Held

Mayor, Drogheda 1808.


Metcalfe’s father, who from 27 Nov. 1766 was an attorney of the Irish court of exchequer, had in 1783 acquired a highly favourable lease on ‘premises at West Gate’ from Drogheda corporation, of which Metcalfe became a leading alderman, serving as mayor in 1808.1 At the 1820 general election he came forward to succeed the retiring Member with the support of the corporation. After a venal five-day contest against a Catholic backed independent he was returned with a large majority.2 The Countess de Salis later wrote of the town’s ‘disgrace’ at ‘being bought by an attorney’, but a petition against his return on the ground of bribery came to nothing.3 In a move probably designed to compensate him for his expenditure, on 13 Nov. 1820 Drogheda corporation granted him a ‘parcel of land’ at Duleek Gate on very advantageous terms.4 He was listed by the Liverpool ministry as seeking public office for Peter Van Homrigh*, Drogheda’s recorder, and as having ‘strongly recommended’ one John Dardis as an inspector of fisheries.

Metcalfe voted for Catholic claims, 28 Feb., and was credited with arguing in its favour in his only known speech, which was delivered in such a ‘low tone’ as to be inaudible, 16 Mar. 1821.5 He divided with ministers against revenue cuts, 6 Mar., repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., military reductions, 11 Apr., and the disfranchisement of ordnance officials, 12 Apr. He was granted ten days’ leave on account of ill health, 11 May. He divided against further economies and retrenchment, 27 June 1821. He died ‘at Dublin’ in February 1822, leaving a widow, who expired at Rathmines, county Dublin, that September and was interred in the same tomb in St. Mary’s churchyard.6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon


  • 1. J. D’Alton, Hist. Drogheda, i. 257; PP (1835), xxviii. 412.
  • 2. Dublin Evening Post, 2, 14, 18, 28 Mar., 11 Apr.; Belfast News Letter, 8, 18 Feb., 3, 21 Mar. 1820.
  • 3. PRO NI, Foster mss D562/357, Salis to J.L. Foster, 1 Mar. 1822.
  • 4. PP (1835), xxviii. 412.
  • 5. The Times, 17 Mar. 1821.
  • 6. Belfast News Letter, 15 Feb., 13 Sept. 1822; Gent. Mag. (1822), i. 478.