MUSGRAVE, Sir Philip Christopher, 8th bt. (1794-1827), of Edenhall, Cumb.

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



27 June 1820 - 25 Mar. 1825
2 Apr. 1825 - 16 July 1827

Family and Education

b. 12 July 1794, 1st s. of Sir John Chardin Musgrave, 7th bt., and Mary, da. of Rev. Sir Edmund Filmer, 6th bt., of East Sutton, rect. of Crundale, Kent. educ. Eton 1805; Christ Church, Oxf. 1813. m. 21 Oct. 1824, Elizabeth, da. of George Fludyer† of Ayston, Rutland, 1 da. suc. fa. as 8th bt. 24 July 1806. d. 16 July 1827.

Offices Held


The Musgraves had been established in Cumberland since the thirteenth century and could boast a long parliamentary tradition. Latterly, this Member’s grandfather Sir Philip Musgrave had sat for Westmorland, 1741-7, and a kinsman, George Musgrave, was Member for Carlisle, 1768-74. An interval in the family’s service had then occurred, so that when Musgrave offered for a vacancy at Carlisle in March 1816, the ‘young fox hunting baronet’, who was evidently also a devotee of the turf, was attacked as an interloper.1 Election squibs portrayed ‘young Muzzy’ as the naive instrument of his mother’s ambition and denounced his alleged connection with the 1st earl of Lonsdale, whose interest the family had traditionally opposed. After six days he conceded defeat.2 At the Westmorland general election of 1818 Musgrave gave his interest to Lonsdale’s candidates in their contest with the Whig Henry Brougham*, despite an earlier declaration of neutrality.3 For this Lord Thanet later branded him ‘a contemptible rat’.4 Brougham avenged himself by seconding Musgrave’s opponent at another Carlisle by-election in May 1820, when observers found it difficult to credit his professions of independence, given the strong support he received from Lonsdale’s partisans, and although he fought under his own colours, this was revealed as a sham by subsequent correspondence.5 He was defeated after a seven-day poll, but was soon afterwards returned on a vacancy for Petersfield on the interest of Hylton Jolliffe*, a distant relative.6

An irregular attender, Musgrave was described by a radical commentary of 1825 as having ‘voted with ministers’, but this was not always the case.7 He was in their majorities against economies in revenue collection, 4 July 1820, and censure of their conduct towards Queen Caroline, 8 Feb. 1821. Unlike Jolliffe, he voted against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825, and removal of Catholic peers’ disabilities, 30 Apr. 1822. On 15 Mar. 1821 he spoke against inquiry into a petition protesting at the intervention of a military force during the Carlisle election, in which he asserted ‘much rioting’ and intimidation of his voters had taken place, and read documents that were supposed to prove this, but in such a low voice that ‘a great part of the House ... could not have understood their contents’. He divided against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. and a motion for economy and retrenchment, 27 June. He voted against disqualifying ordnance officials from voting in parliamentary elections, 12 Apr. 1821, inquiry into the right of voting in parliamentary elections, 20 Feb., and reform of the Scottish representative system, 2 June 1823, and of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr. 1826. He divided for mitigation of the punishment for forgery, 23 May 1821. He voted against more extensive tax reductions, 11, 21 Feb., but for a gradual lowering of the salt duties, 28 Feb., and a reduction of the admiralty lords, 1 Mar. 1822. He was back in the ministerial lobbies against abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., and inquiry into the conduct of the lord advocate in Scotland, 25 June 1822. He divided against inquiries into coronation expenses, 19 June 1823, and the prosecution of the Methodist missionary John Smith for inciting slave riots in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He voted for the second reading of the Irish insurrection bill, 14 June 1824.

When another vacancy occurred at Carlisle in March 1825, Lord Lowther* thought Musgrave ‘the best candidate who could be started’.8 At the nomination he admitted to being a supporter of ministers in general and, ‘after the exhaustion naturally attendant on a long, but just and necessary war’, an admirer of their foreign policy in particular. He was returned unopposed.9 He presented a Carlisle petition for a revision of the corn laws, 24 Apr. 1825.10 He voted against the disfranchisement of Irish 40s. freeholders, 26 Apr. Presumably it was the interests of factory owners in his new constituency which prompted him to speak against a measure to restrict the number of hours worked by children in cotton mills, 16 May, though he wished to render effectual the regulatory Act of 1819. He voted for the duke of Cumberland’s annuity bill, 30 May, 6 June 1825. He presented petitions for the abolition of slavery from Edenhall, 27 Feb., and Carlisle, 1 Mar. 1826.11 According to a subsequent election speech, he divided against a motion to consider the state of the corn laws, 18 Apr. 1826.12

On 9 May 1825 Musgrave had written to the ordnance office for details of planned provision for barracks at Carlisle, doubtless with the disorder that had marred the 1820 by-election in mind.13 His worst fears were realised during his canvass at the 1826 general election, when hostile questioning on his attitude to reform and the corn laws erupted into violence. He was forced to barricade himself inside a house, whence he was rescued by military intervention at the cost of three lives. Musgrave himself ‘received several severe blows, but almost miraculously, escaped without loss of blood’, though an obituary later recorded that the incident had ‘produced a serious effect upon his health’. At the nomination he conceded the necessity of a considered modification of the corn laws, citing his isolated wayward vote on the salt tax as an example of his willingness to oppose ministers when necessary, and affirmed his opposition to Catholic emancipation and support for the abolition of slavery in the West Indies. He was returned after a three-day poll, but at the behest of his wife did not venture again upon the hustings and declined to attend the chairing and a celebratory dinner.14 Lonsdale evidently paid a proportion of his election expenses and Musgrave voted for the earl’s candidates in Westmorland, where he qualified by right of his Hartley estate.15 On 19 Feb. 1827 he endorsed a Carlisle petition for an alteration of the corn laws.16 He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. In response to a petition presented by his Whig colleague Sir James Graham protesting at the military intervention during the Carlisle election, 3 Apr., he ‘lamented the consequences’ of their action, but denied that a civil police could have maintained order, though he admitted that the establishment of such a force would be of benefit there.17 He had already corresponded on this subject with William Nanson, the town clerk, and the home secretary Peel had evidently sought the views of the borough Members.18 They were given leave to bring in the Carlisle police bill, 14 Mar., but Musgrave played no further part in its progress through the House. It is probable that he was already suffering from the ‘painful and protracted illness’ which ended in his death, s.p.m. and intestate, in July 1827. The same complaint, ‘consumption, or a general decline’, had caused the deaths of his father and an aunt, and the fatalism which this engendered was said to have accelerated his own demise. An obituarist praised the ‘plainness and sincerity’ of his manners but admitted that as a politician, he had been of a ‘retiring disposition’. His daughter Elizabeth Mary, born the previous year, stood to inherit ‘a large fortune’ from his wife, to whom his personal estate of £25,000 passed, but she died in 1844.19 The baronetcy and Edenhall, which Musgrave had ‘entirely rebuilt’, and other entailed family properties in Cumberland, Durham and Westmorland reverted to his brother, the Rev. Christopher John Musgrave (1798-1834), who was succeeded in turn by his next brother George Musgrave (1799-1872).20

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Authors: Howard Spencer / Philip Salmon


  • 1. Carlisle Election for 1816, pp. 47, 62. For his ownership of racehorses see Carlisle Patriot, 29 Sept., 6 Oct. 1826.
  • 2. Carlisle Election, 87-88, 98-99, 117; The Times, 12 Mar. 1816.
  • 3. Brougham mss, Musgrave to M. Atkinson, 22 Oct. 1817, 13, 19 Feb. 1818; Address to Freeholders ... connected in interest with Sir Philip Musgrave (1818).
  • 4. Add. 51571, Thanet to Lady Holland, 26 Mar. 1820.
  • 5. The Times, 4 Apr. 1820; Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 23, 31 July 1827.
  • 6. The Times, 5 June 1820; H.G.H. Jolliffe, Jolliffes of Staffs. 174, 233.
  • 7. Black Bk. (1823), 173; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 477.
  • 8. Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 23 Mar. 1825.
  • 9. Carlisle Patriot, 9 Apr. 1825.
  • 10. The Times, 25 Apr. 1825.
  • 11. Carlisle Patriot, 4 Mar.; The Times, 2 Mar. 1826.
  • 12. Carlisle Patriot, 9 June 1826.
  • 13. Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Musgrave mss D/Mus/A1/19.
  • 14. The Times, 9, 13, 15 June; Carlisle Patriot, 9, 16 June 1826, 20 July 1827.
  • 15. Musgrave mss A1/20, W. Nanson to Musgrave, 2 June, 22 July, 25 Aug. 1826; Westmld. Pollbook (1826).
  • 16. The Times, 20 Feb. 1827.
  • 17. Carlisle Patriot, 6 Apr. 1827.
  • 18. Ibid., 12 Jan.; Musgrave mss A1/20, Nanson to Musgrave 21, 22 Feb. 1827.
  • 19. Carlisle Patriot, 20 July 1827; IR26/1137/1363.
  • 20. PROB 11/1448/658; P. Musgrave, Notes on Musgrave Fam. 164.