PENRUDDOCKE, John Hungerford (1770-1841), of Compton Chamberlayne, Wilts. and 35 Curzon Street, 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

1 Feb. 1821 - 1837

Family and Education

b. 23 Jan. 1770, 1st s. of Charles Penruddocke† of Compton Chamberlayne and Anne Henrietta, da. of Wadham Wyndham of Fyfield, Wilts. educ. Harrow 1785; New Coll. Oxf. 1789. m. 3 Oct. 1792,1 Maria Anne, da. of John Pearse of Standen, Wilts., s.p.2 suc. fa. 1788. d. 25 Dec. 1841.

Offices Held

Lt. Hindon troop, Wilts. yeoman cav. 1799; lt.-col. commdt.

Sheriff, Wilts. 1817-18; mayor, Wilton 1818-19.

Biography

Penruddocke belonged to a leading Wiltshire gentry family, which had been settled at Compton Chamberlayne, ‘a commodious mansion, seated in a luxuriant part of the county’, since the sixteenth century, and he was a descendant of the royalist Colonel John Penruddocke, who was beheaded for treason at Exeter in 1655.3 His father, who was anti-government Member for Wiltshire from 1770 until his death in 1788, left him the property and the residue of his estate in trust, after provision had been made for his other children.4 Through inheritances from his mother and wife, he held other land in Berkshire and Wiltshire, where he was a magistrate and militia officer.5 He was elected a member of the corporation of nearby Wilton in October 1816, and the following month he signed the entry in the minute book for the return of Lord FitzHarris* at a by-election.6 As sheriff of Wiltshire, he chaired the county meeting at Devizes in March 1817, which was called to congratulate the regent on surviving an assassination attempt. At the insistence of the radical Henry Hunt*, he agreed to remove it from the town hall and ‘took up his station upon the steps of the market cross, where he was surrounded by such a gang of desperadoes as never disgraced a meeting of highwaymen and pickpockets in the purlieus of St. Giles’s’. Amid rowdy scenes, Penruddocke, who, according to Hunt, ‘looked ready to faint with shame at what he was about to do, dissolved the meeting, and ordered the Riot Act to be read ... and immediately gave orders for me to be taken into custody’. He had the ‘mortification’ of witnessing Hunt’s escape.7

In 1818 Penruddocke again refused the honour of offering for the county, which he had declined in 1812 on the retirement of his idle relation, Henry Penruddocke Wyndham. Instead, at the general election that year he split for the sitting Member Paul Methuen† and the Tory interloper William Long Wellesley* against the agriculturist John Benett*, while at the by-election in 1819 he voted for the unsuccessful candidate John Dugdale Astley*, against Benett.8 In late 1819 he signed the requisition against the holding of a county meeting on Peterloo.9 His name appears in the Wilton minute book under the return of the sitting Members FitzHarris and Sheldon at the general election of 1820.10 A few months afterwards, Methuen wrote, in an undated letter to Lord Ailesbury, that

Penruddocke is laid up with the gout, but from what I hear he certainly will start for the county if there is a requisition sent to him, whenever there is another election, and really in the present uncertain aspect of affairs I think such a contingency by no means improbable at no very distant period ... All I hope is, we may all get over Her Majesty the queen with our lives and property safe.11

However, nothing ever came of his county aspirations. He attended a meeting of the local gentry in Salisbury, 30 Jan. 1821, which agreed a loyal address to the king.12 Two days later he was returned unopposed on a vacancy for Wilton by its patron the 11th earl of Pembroke, the Tory lord lieutenant, and paid £153 in expenses.13

In the House, where he made no known speeches during this period, he was an inconspicuous general supporter of the Liverpool ministry. He voted in defence of their conduct towards the queen, 6 Feb. 1821. As Lord Sidmouth, the home secretary, predicted to the Devizes Member Thomas Grimston Estcourt, 28 Feb., Penruddocke voted against Catholic relief that day.14 He was listed as voting with opposition for repeal of the additional malt duty, 21 Mar. He divided against disqualifying civil officers of the ordnance from voting in parliamentary elections, 12 Apr., parliamentary reform, 9 May, and Hume’s motion for economy and retrenchment, 27 June 1821. He voted for reducing the number of junior lords of the admiralty, 1 Mar. 1822, but otherwise apparently always sided with ministers.15 He divided against inquiries into Irish tithes, 19 June, and the conduct of the lord advocate relative to the press in Scotland, 25 June 1822. He signed the list of corporators present at the election of Edward Baker as his colleague for Wilton, 6 Jan. 1823.16 He voted against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., and reform of the Scottish representative system, 2 June. He divided against repeal of the usury laws, 27 June 1823, 17 Feb. 1825. He voted against condemning the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He divided against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., and the Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr. 1825. He voted against resolutions to curb electoral bribery, 26 May 1826.

He was returned unopposed for Wilton at the general election of 1826. He was granted one month’s sick leave, 7 Mar., and voted against the Penryn election bill, 7 June 1827. He paired against Catholic claims, 12 May, and voted with the Wellington ministry against reducing the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July 1828. In February 1829 he was listed by Planta, the patronage secretary, as ‘opposed to the principle’ of the ministry’s Catholic emancipation bill. He commented in a letter to Estcourt’s son Thomas Henry Bucknall Estcourt* that ‘I am not very well pleased with government on this occasion. As the Catholics have bullied them they will be more dissatisfied than ever unless they get all they possibly can’. He added that ‘I am now confined to the house as the cold weather has brought on the complaint in my leg’. In fear of their conduct being shackled, he raised a scruple against Members signing the Wiltshire anti-Catholic address, but he did in fact do so.17 He was named as a defaulter on this question, 5 Mar. 1829, and the order for his attendance was discharged, 9 Mar., when he was given three weeks’ leave because of illness. He cast no known votes that session. He voted against Jewish emancipation, 17 May, and abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830.

The 12th earl of Pembroke having had him returned at the general election later that year, he was listed by ministers among their ‘friends’, but he was absent from the division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He was granted leave for three weeks because of illness in his family, 23 Nov. 1830, and again, 7 Feb. 1831, as well as on the grounds of the ill health of a near relation (for two weeks), 25 Feb., and urgent private business (for one week), 14 Mar. These absences were probably all occasioned by the fatal illness of his wife, who died on 5 Apr. Penruddocke, who had refused to sign Lord Radnor’s requisition for a county meeting on parliamentary reform,18 voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., but was apparently not present for the division on Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. He was left undisturbed at Wilton at the ensuing general election. He paired against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and was absent from the division on postponing consideration of the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July. The following month he signed the Wiltshire anti-reform declaration.19 He was given another month’s sick leave, 12 Sept., and paired against the passage of the bill, 21 Sept. He also paired against the second reading of the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831, but was present to vote against its third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. His only other known vote in this Parliament was against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July 1832. He was returned by Pembroke for the one remaining seat at Wilton at the general election in December 1832 and sat as a Conservative until his retirement in 1837. Penruddocke died in December 1841, leaving his estate to his great-nephew Charles (1828-99).20

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell

Notes

  • 1. IGI (Berks.).
  • 2. According to an uncorroborated source, in 1837 he married one of his first wife’s Pearce cousins (Grove Diaries ed. D. Hawkins, 25).
  • 3. Sir R.C. Hoare, Wilts., Dunworth, 81; Addenda, 63-64; J.E. Nightingale, Mems. Wilton, 154-5; Oxford DNB.
  • 4. PROB 11/1176/106.
  • 5. VCH Berks. iv. 196; VCH Wilts. xiii. 63.
  • 6. Wilts. RO, Wilton borough recs. G25/1/22, ff. 286, 288, 289.
  • 7. H. Hunt, Mems. iii. 464-70; Salisbury Jnl. 24 Mar. 1817.
  • 8. HP Commons, 1790-1820, ii. 411; Wilts. Pollbook (1819), 6.
  • 9. Devizes Gazette, 4 Nov. 1819.