WEYLAND, Richard (1780-1864), of Woodeaton Hall, nr. Islip, Oxon.

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

Constituency

Dates

1831 - 1837

Family and Education

b. 25 Mar. 1780, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of John Weyland of Woodrising Hall, Norf. and Woodeaton and Elizabeth Johanna, da. and coh. of John Nourse of Woodeaton; bro. of John Weyland*. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1798. m. 12 Sept. 1820, Charlotte, da. of Charles Gordon of Cluny, Aberdeen, wid. of Sir John Lowther Johnstone†, 6th bt., of Westerhall, Dumfries, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. to Woodeaton 1825; bro. to Woodrising 1854. d. 14 Oct. 1864.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Oxon. 1830-1.

Ensign 9 Ft. 1805, lt. 1806; lt. 16 Drag. 1807; capt. army July 1811, 16 Drag. Sept. 1811; maj. army 1819; ret. 1820.

Biography

Weyland belatedly entered the army in 1805, served with the cavalry throughout the Peninsular war, twice sustaining wounds, and was present at Waterloo. He sold out the month after his marriage to a wealthy Scottish widow in 1820.1 On his father’s death in 1825 he inherited his Oxfordshire property at Woodeaton Hall, five miles north-east of Oxford, and an equal share in the residue of substantial personalty with his elder brother John, a former barrister turned poor law pamphleteer, who took the family’s Norfolk and Suffolk estates.2 At the general election in Oxfordshire the following year, despite ‘intolerable heat’ and being, by his own admission, ‘unused to public speaking’, Weyland seconded the nomination of the sitting Member William Ashhurst, a near neighbour, who had generally voted with the Liverpool ministry. When Ashhurst declined to stand rather than face a contest, Weyland seconded Sir George Dashwood, who was brought forward in his room; but he was one of those who subsequently signed a declaration successfully calling on Ashhurst to persevere and promising financial support, and he again seconded him at the formal opening of the poll. He voted for him and Fane, the other sitting Member.3 At that election he was also involved with his brother-in-law John Gordon* at Weymouth, where his wife’s late husband had sat before his premature death in 1811 on the former Pulteney interest, and where the Johnstones were in dispute with one of the trustees of their Scottish property, Masterton Ure*. Gordon initially put himself forward, but a fortnight later he issued a joint address with Weyland declining to stand, ostensibly to avoid any appearance of coalition with Ure. Some electors invited Weyland to stand on the Johnstone interest, but he ruled himself out of the running for Gordon, who was returned after a protracted contest.4 Weyland, assured of support at the next opening, continued to cultivate the borough; and on a vacancy in January 1828 he was first in the field. When a deputation was sent to London to secure the candidature of Lord Douro*, the premier the duke of Wellington’s son, Weyland wrote to the duke stating his own pretensions and claiming that he intended to support his newly formed administration. Wellington sent down Edward Sugden*, a leading chancery barrister. Weyland persisted, stressing his connection with the Johnstones and professing himself to be ‘a steady and inflexible supporter’ of the constitution in church and state and ‘a friend to the government’, who would ‘ever decidedly oppose any innovation which may be brought forward for innovation’s sake’. He was beaten by 120 votes in a poll of 524.5 The following year he asked the Whig lawyer Henry Brougham* for assistance in his legal struggle on behalf of his stepson Sir George Frederic Johnstone, a minor.6 As sheriff of Oxfordshire, he presided over the contested county election of 1830, when his brother was returned for Hindon.7

At the general election of 1831 Weyland, whose brother had voted for the Grey ministry’s reform bill, accepted a requisition to stand for Oxfordshire as a reformer, to be returned free of expense by public subscription. He and another reformer contested the county with one of the sitting Members, who had opposed the bill, but claimed to favour moderate change. Weyland pledged support for ‘the bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill’, giving assurances that he would accept no modifications to it which were not approved by ministers. On the day of the nomination news reached Oxford that he had been returned in absentia for Weymouth. Weyland, who, with his wife, had fallen out with his brother-in-law over management of the Johnstone interest and Gordon’s alleged involvement with Sugden in secret deals, publicly renounced the Weymouth seat. During the Oxfordshire poll, he argued that the old ‘borough-mongering system’, far from working well, had seen the creation of a crippling national debt and a massive tax burden, the promotion of incompetent generals and diplomats and widespread abuses in legal administration. After his return in second place he promised to support economy and retrenchment and the abolition of unjustified pensions and sinecures; and at a celebration dinner he said that the promoters of the reform bill ‘did not desire to overthrow, but to repair the constitution’.8

It has been assumed that the speeches attributed by the Mirror of Parliament to Weyland were in fact delivered by his brother, although it is possible that some of the minor interventions were his. He had developed strong reservations about certain aspects of the ministerial reform proposals; but, after dividing for the second reading of the reintroduced bill, 6 July, when John abstained, he proved to be a steady supporter of its details, though he voted, like his brother, for the enfranchisement of £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug. 1831. He divided for the passage of the bill, 21 Sept. (John was an absentee), the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and the motion of confidence in the Grey ministry, 10 Oct. He was in O’Connell’s minority for swearing the Dublin election committee, 29 July, but divided twice with ministers on the issues arising from its report, 23 Aug. He voted for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, when his brother probably opposed it, was absent from the divisions on the borough disfranchisement clauses, 20, 23 Jan. 1832, but subsequently voted reliably for its details and divided for its third reading, 22 Mar., when his brother voted the other way. They were also on opposite sides on 26 Jan., when Weyland voted with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, as he did on relations with Portugual, 9 Feb. He voted for the address asking the king to appoint only ministers who would carry the reform bill unimpaired, 10 May, and the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May. His last recorded vote in this period was in favour of making coroners’ inquests public, 20 June 1832.

Weyland was returned unopposed for Oxfordshire at the general elections of 1832 and 1835. His political views became increasingly conservative, and he supported Peel’s first ministry.9 He retired from Parliament at the dissolution in 1837. On the death of his brother without issue in 1854 he inherited the Norfolk and Suffolk estates, including Woodrising, where he took up residence, having made over Woodeaton to his elder son John Weyland (1821-1902).10 He died at Woodrising, ‘universally respected’, in October 1864.11 By his will, dated 14 July 1858, he left all his real estate, including leasehold properties in George Lane, Botolph Lane and Eastcheap, London, to his elder son. He bequeathed legacies of £5,000 and £500 respectively to his younger son Richard Henry and his daughter Elizabeth, countess of Verulam, and provided for the payment to his children of £20,000 to which he was entitled in lieu of arrears on annuities secured to his late wife on her first marriage settlement. The Weylands’ Oxfordshire estates were sold in 1911.12

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher

Notes

  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1864), ii. 801; Northumb. RO, Middleton mss ZMI/S76/40/6, 38.
  • 2. PROB 11/1703/463; IR26/1069/648.
  • 3. Jackson’s Oxford Jnl. 17 June; The Times, 19 June 1826; Oxon. Pollbook (1826), 26.
  • 4. Dorset Co. Chron. 18 May, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 June 1826; Middleton mss S76/52/2.
  • 5. Dorset Co. Chron. 7, 14, 21 Feb.; The Times, 31 Jan., 2, 4, 5, 12, 22 Feb. 1828; Wellington mss WP1/914/41; 916/12.
  • 6. Brougham mss, Weyland to Brougham, 4 May 1829.
  • 7. Jackson’s Oxford Jnl. 31 July 1830.