THYNNE, Lord Edward (1807-1884), of 2 Richmond Terrace, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 23 Jan. 1807, 6th s. of Thomas Thynne†, 2nd mq. of Bath (d. 1837), and Hon. Isabella Elizabeth Byng, da. and coh. of George, 4th Visct. Torrington; bro. of Thomas Thynne II, Visct. Weymouth†, Lord Henry Frederick Thynne* and Lord William Thynne*. educ. Charterhouse 1820-1; Oriel, Oxf. 1825. m. (1) 8 July 1830, Elizabeth (d. 6 Mar. 1849), da. of William Mellish of Woodford, Essex, s.p.; (2) 4 July 1853, Cecilia Anne Mary, da. of Charles Arthur Gore, 1st Life Gds., 1da. d. 4 Feb. 1884.
2nd. lt. 60th rifle corps 1828, lt. 1829, ret. 1830; lt.-col. Som. yeoman cav. 1830; cornet Wilts. yeoman cav. 1855; lt. 13th Som. rifle vols. 1863.
The only one of the 2nd marquess of Bath’s sons to be educated at Charterhouse, Thynne, an inveterate gambler who may have been intended for the church, took his degree at Oxford in 1828, before being bought a commission in the duke of York’s rifle corps. He resigned it less than two years later on his marriage to the heiress Elizabeth Mellish, whose father had made his fortune as a navy contractor.1 Six months of negotiations had produced a settlement whereby Mellish granted his daughter £100,000 in three equal shares, and Thynne received £10,000 charged on his father’s Irish estates.2 His maternal uncle, the 6th duke of Bedford, observed: ‘The saints always marry among themselves. They will become degenerate from what we farmers call breeding in and in’.3 To cover his gaming losses, on 25 Oct. 1830 he granted the first of a series of annuities illegally charged to his marriage portion.4 He had not been found out in 1831, when at the general election his father returned him with his brother Henry for the family borough of Weobley, which was to be disfranchised under the Grey ministry’s reform bill. He is not known to have spoken in debate and rarely attended the House in 1831-2. He voted with Henry and their uncle Lord John Thynne against the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, against taking a Member from Chippenham, 27 July, and the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. 1831. He neglected to attend a call of the House, 10 Oct., in order to travel to Bath for the mayor’s inaugural dinner, where he responded to the toast to the Somerset yeoman cavalry, of which his father had made him a lieutenant-colonel.5 He voted against the revised reform bill at its second reading, 17 Dec. 1831, and paired against the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He divided against government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July 1832.
At the 1834 and January 1835 Finsbury elections, Thynne, whose financial and marital affairs were in disarray, canvassed against Thomas Slingsby Duncombe*, to whom he owed over £10,000, and who sued him and his wife repeatedly for debt. Being estranged from him, she claimed to be divorced when seeking credit, but sought a married woman’s indemnity when brought to court for non-payment.6 Lord Bath, who was prosecuted by another of his creditors, John Lyde, provided £60,000 in 1835 to write off his debts and guarantee him an allowance, ‘because I am certain he would be arrested and it would be out of my power to relieve him’.7 Denied family funds following his father’s death, he was imprisoned for debt, charged with outlawry and obliged to file for bankruptcy in August 1837.8 His wife failed to obtain a larger share of the Mellish fortune by securing a judgement against her sister and brother-in-law, the 2nd earl and countess of Glengall, in 1847; and her estate, in which Thynne retained a life interest, had dwindled to £3,000 at probate, 18 May 1849.9 He married the only daughter of the popular novelist Mrs. Gore in 1853, and after failing there in 1856 and 1857, he was returned for Frome in 1859 as an ‘anti-ballot Conservative’ for a single Parliament.