SCOTT, James (?1776-1855), of Rotherfield Park, nr. Alton, Hants; Manor House, Shepperton and 22 Grafton Street, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. ?1776, 2nd s. of William Scott (d. 1785) of Grosvenor Place, Mdx. m. (1) 6 Oct. 1797,1 Martha (d. 16 May 1815),2 da. of Thomas Bradbury Winter of Shenley, Herts., 9s. at least (2 d.v.p.) 3da. at least; (2) 29 Jan. 1819,3 Margaret, da. of William Snell of Salisbury Hall, Herts., 1s. suc. uncle Thomas Scott† 1816. d. 28 Feb. 1855.
Sheriff, Hants 1820-1.
Scott, whose family origins are obscure, was a grandson of Thomas Scott, brickmaker, of Fulham, Middlesex.4 He had numerous children, several of whom were presumably the offspring of Thomas and Elizabeth Scott recorded as having been baptized at St. Alban, Wood Street, London.5 He died in October 1748, and by his will, dated 1 Oct. 1748, he bequeathed to his sons John and Thomas (1723-1816) his estates in Fulham and elsewhere to be divided between his surviving children.6 The business, in which several family members were presumably involved, traded as John Scott and Company of North End, Fulham. It may have been linked to other brickmaking firms listed in the London directories, such as John Scott of Hoxton and Islington.
Thomas Scott’s fourth son, William, who was baptized on 11 Dec. 1732, died in 1785.7 By his will, dated 6 June 1783, he left £8,000 in trust to his wife for the care of their infant sons William, James and George, who, with any other surviving children, were eventually to inherit equal shares in his estate.8 It was apparently James, this Member, who took the leading role in the family concern, which in the late 1810s was listed as James and George Scott of Shepherd’s Bush. From this he must have derived considerable wealth, as in 1808 he purchased the country estate of Rotherfield Park from the 13th marquess of Winchester, and made improvements to it, especially in the village of East Tisted. For this he received the praise of the radical William Cobbett†, who wrote in 1823 that Scott was ‘well known as a brickmaker at North End, Fulham, and who has, in Hampshire, supplanted a Norman of the name of Powlett’. He added, with characteristic hyperbole, that
had there been no debt created to crush liberty in France and to keep down reformers in England, Mr. Scott would not have had bricks to burn to build houses for the Jews and jobbers and other eaters of taxes; and the Norman Powlett would not have had to pay in taxes, through his own hands and those of his tenants and labourers, the amount of the estate at Tisted, first to the Jews, jobbers and tax-eaters, and them by then to be given to ‘Squire Scott’ for his bricks.9
However, Scott continued to live in Hammersmith, where his first wife died in 1815.10 On the death in 1816 of his uncle Thomas, who had been Member for Bridport, 1780-90, he inherited the bulk of his property, which included an estate at Shepperton and a house in Grafton Street, shares in the London Tavern and personalty sworn under £140,000.11 He again became connected to a Hertfordshire gentry family when, in 1819, he remarried at Windlesham, Surrey, where his new wife’s brother Thomas Snell was the rector.12
Scott, who was appointed a justice of the peace for Alton in 1818, was made sheriff of Hampshire in February 1820.13 At the general election the following month he was brought forward for a seat beyond the county boundary in Dorset. As in the case of his uncle, his introduction to Bridport was probably on the interest of the Sturt family, who had a say in the choice of one of the Members. It was also intended to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Henry Charles Sturt, whose conduct had failed to impress the radicals among the dominant independent Dissenting interest. After a fierce four-day contest, he was returned by a comfortable majority over the other two candidates, and his seat was unaffected by the successful petition of Sir Horace St. Paul against the other Whig Member, Christopher Spurrier.14 Scott oversaw the uncontested Hampshire county election and the county meeting to agree an address of condolence and congratulation to George IV.15 He sided with the Whigs on the civil list, 5 May, and against the appointment of an additional baron of exchequer in Scotland, 15 May, and thereafter was a regular but unobtrusive member of the opposition. He was granted a week’s leave on urgent private business, 20 June 1820.
He presided at the Hampshire county meeting on the Queen Caroline affair, 12 Jan. 1821, when he was congratulated by Alexander Baring* for his impartiality in preventing an attempt to obstruct the requisition for the meeting.16 He divided for reinstating Caroline’s name in the liturgy, 23, 26 Jan., 13 Feb., and to condemn ministers’ conduct towards her, 6 Feb. He attended the Friends of Reform dinner at the London Tavern, 4 Apr. 1821.17 He voted steadily in the opposition campaign for economies and reduced taxes during the following session, speaking for repeal of the salt duties on 28 June; but he was ‘shut out’ on Hume’s motion for inquiry into the government of the Ionian Islands, 14 May 1822. He voted for parliamentary reform, 25 Apr. 1822, 24 Apr. 1823, 27 Apr. 1826, and against the current influence of the crown, 24 June 1822. He divided for alteration of the Scottish representative system, 2 June 1823, and reform of the representation of Edinburgh, 26 Feb. 1824, 13 Apr. 1826. He voted in condemnation of the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He divided against the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15, 21 Feb. 1825, and, as he had on 28 Feb. 1821, for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He was listed in the majority in favour of the second reading of the St. Olave tithe bill, 6 June 1825, and sided with opposition for inquiry into the treasurership of the navy, 7 Apr. 1826.
Scott, who was said in 1825 to have ‘attended regularly, and voted with the opposition’,18 retired at the dissolution of 1826, when he recommended the radical Henry Warburton* to the corporation of Bridport as his successor.19 Having reconstructed the Manor House at Shepperton, Scott appears to have taken up residence there, leaving Rotherfield Park to his eldest son and heir James Winter Scott (1799-1873), who became a local magistrate in 1824, married a Clarke Jervoise in 1828 and served as Liberal Member for Hampshire North, 1832-7.20 It may have been this son, not he, who was who was elected to Brooks’s in February 1830. Scott died, ‘aged 78’, in February 1855, leaving many surviving children (including a Septimus); his only son with his second wife (d. 3 Jan. 1850), was John Aubrey Scott (1821-78), rector of West Tytherley, Hampshire.21
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Stephen Farrell
- 1. Gent. Mag. (1797), ii. 980.
- 2. Ibid. (1815), i. 569.
- 3. Ibid. (1819), i. 178.
- 4. Burke LG (1937), 2013.
- 5. IGI (London).
- 6. PROB 11/774/328.
- 7. IGI (London).
- 8. PROB 11/1138/58.
- 9. VCH Hants, iii. 30; iv. 424; Cobbett’s Rural Rides ed. G.D.H. and M. Cole, i. 187.
- 10. IGI (London); Gent. Mag. (1815), i. 569.
- 11. PROB 11/1585/541; IR26/691/924; VCH Mdx. iii. 5; Hist. Our Village ... Shepperton (1867), 26-27.
- 12. IGI (Surr.); R. Clutterbuck, Herts. i. 483.
- 13. Hants RO, q. sess. recs. Q22/3/15, 204. It has sometimes been wrongly assumed that the sheriff in 1820 was Scott’s eldest son James Winter Scott, who was then barely of age; e.g., R. Foster, Politics of County Power, 22-23, 163.
- 14. Western Flying Post, 28 Feb.; Salisbury Jnl. 13, 20 Mar. 1820.
- 15. Hants Telegraph, 13, 20 Mar. 1820.
- 16. The Times, 13 Jan. 1821.
- 17. Ibid. 5 Apr. 1821.
- 18. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 484.