COLSTON, Edward I (aft.1672-1719), of Bristol

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1708 - 1713

Family and Education

b. aft.1672, 4th but o. surv. s. of Robert Colston of Bristol, by Ann, da. of Robert Waters of Bristol.  m. lic. 4 Aug. 1704, Mary De Bert (d. 1733), 1da.1

Offices Held

Gov. city of London workhouse by 1708.2

Hon. freeman, Merchant Venturers’ Soc., Bristol 1708.3


Colston was the oldest surviving nephew of the wealthy Bristol philanthropist Edward Colston II*. His uncle, having never married, regarded him as his heir, and settled a considerable fortune in land on him when he married in 1704. Colston himself appears to have pursued a business career of sorts in London, probably under the aegis of his uncle. In the general election of 1705 he was put up by the Tories for Bristol as part of a strategy to break the hold on the city’s representation which the Whigs had maintained since 1695. For this important task, it is highly unlikely that the Tories would have ignored Colston’s prominent High Tory uncle who, though demurring, probably on grounds of age, was able to nominate his nephew. Despite the ‘mighty stir’ created on Colston’s behalf, however, the Whigs retained both seats.4

In 1708, Colston was elected unopposed for Wells. He had a connexion with the city in so far as his uncle’s Somerset lands included the nearby manor of Lydford West. More important was the Colston name which no doubt held considerable attraction to Wells’s Tory corporation. He was duly classed as a Tory in an analysis of the new Parliament, but was an inactive Member. During the 1709–10 session he voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, and was again listed as a Tory after the 1710 election. In 1711 he figured among the ‘Tory patriots’ who supported peace, and among the ‘worthy patriots’ who detected the mismanagements of the previous administration, while on 18 June 1713 he voted for the French commerce bill. Upon the dissolution of Parliament he stood down. He died on 5 Apr. 1719, predeceasing his uncle, and was buried in the Colston vault at All Saints church, Bristol. Administration of his estates was granted in June of that year. In May 1720 Colston snr. named Colston’s only child, Sarah, as his chief legatee, but in consequence of her death early in 1721 the bulk of his fortune passed to his niece, the wife of Thomas Edwards*.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Phelps, Som. i. 470; Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. n.s. xi), 188; Mar. Lic. Fac. Off. (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxxiii), 207; Bristol Mar. Lic. Bonds (Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Publns. i), 64; W. Barrett, Hist. Bristol, 443.
  • 2. E. Hatton, A New View of London (1708), 755.
  • 3. Pols. and Port of Bristol 18th Cent. (Bristol Rec. Soc. xxiii), 191.
  • 4. H. J. Wilkins, Edward Colston, 128; H. J. Wilkins, Edward Colston: Supplement, 16; Bodl. Rawl. D.863, f. 90; J. Latimer, Annals of Bristol 18th Cent. 66; Collinson, Hist. Som. ii. 84.
  • 5. Barrett, 443; Wilkins, Colston, 128–35.