MORDAUNT, Sir Charles, 8th bt. (1771-1823), of Walton, Warws. and 6 Portman Square, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 5 Jan. 1771, o. surv. son of Sir John Mordaunt, 7th bt.†, of Walton and Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Thomas Prowse† of Compton Bishop, Som. educ. Eton 1779-88; Christ Church, Oxf. 1788. m. 31 Jan. 1807, Marianne, da. of William Holbech† of Farnborough Hall, Warws., 1s. 2da. suc. fa. as 8th bt. 18 Nov. 1806. d. 30 May 1823.
Capt. (Vols.) Warws. militia 1794; cornet Warws. yeoman cav. 1798, capt. 1801, maj. 1802.
Recorder, Stratford-upon-Avon 1807-d.1
Despite his failing health Mordaunt, a pro-Catholic Whig who had long adapted his politics to appease his constituents, stood again for his county at the general election of 1820 and was returned unopposed.2 He apologized on the hustings for his absence from Parliament throughout 1819 and explained that, if present, he would have supported the Bank Act and the repressive legislation after Peterloo. He added that he would ‘exert all the power he possessed’ in the new Parliament to combat the depression in trade and agriculture.3 Although his name appears in no surviving division list, he was not entirely inactive in his last parliamentary session. He supported inquiry with a view to curbing emissions from industrial furnaces, commended the ‘ingenious’ and ‘effectual’ device used by John Parkes at his Warwick factory, where the furnaces ‘consumed their own smoke’ and was named to the committee, 2 May 1820. The next day he and his colleague Dugdale Stratford Dugdale requested an interview with Lord Liverpool on behalf of a Birmingham deputation seeking inquiry into the causes of distress in manufacturing.4 He was named to the select committee on restricting the use of capital punishment for felony, which he had long advocated, 9 May 1820.
Mordaunt, whose devoted wife (d. 1842) conceded that he was ‘never perhaps sufficiently attached’ to the duties of public life, preferring ‘enjoyment of nature’ and ‘domestic affection’, fell so grievously ill later that year that he resigned his seat.5 It was supposed that the candidature of the radical Richard Spooner* at the ensuing by-election would ‘send him without more delay out of the world with a groan that the whole county will hear’, but his preferred candidate, the pro-Catholic Whig Francis Lawley, prevailed.6 Mordaunt died at Walton in May 1823, worth an estimated £90,000 at probate, having entrusted the care of his 15-year-old son John (1808-45), his heir in the baronetcy and estates in Warwickshire, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Kent, to his widow and her brothers.7 Sir John Mordaunt represented Warwickshire South as a Conservative, 1835-45.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Margaret Escott
- 1. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust RO, Stratford borough recs. BRU15/19/27, ff. 57-58; Aris’s Birmingham Gazette, 16 June 1823.
- 2. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iv. 631-2.
- 3. Warws. RO CR1368/6; Coventry Herald, 17 Mar. 1820.
- 4. Add. 38284, f. 259.
- 5. E. Hamilton, The Mordaunts, 251-2, 254.
- 6. Lady Lyttelton Corresp. 230; Norf. RO, Wodehouse of Kimberley mss KIM6/37, Walton to J. Wodehouse, 7 Nov. 1820.
- 7. Aris’s Birmingham Gazette, 2 June 1823; PROB 11/1673/424; IR26/965/673; Warws. RO, Stoneleigh (Mordaunt) mss DR18/28/1.