IRBY, Edward (1676-1718), of Whaplode, and Boston, Lincs.

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



1702 - 1708

Family and Education

b. 31 July 1676, 1st s. and h. of Anthony Irby of Whaplode and Boston by Mary, da. and h. of John Stringer of Ashford, Kent.  m. July 1704, Dorothy (d. 1734), da. of Hon. Henry Paget of St. Michan’s, Dublin, 1s. 1da.  suc. fa. 1685; cr. Bt. 13 Apr. 1704.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Boston 1701.2


Irby’s family had been settled in Lincolnshire since the early 16th century and began to represent Boston shortly afterwards. His grandfather, Sir Anthony Irby, a prominent Presbyterian, was returned for the borough in every Parliament but one from 1628 until his death in 1682, but thereafter the family’s influence waned and Irby himself does not seem to have contemplated standing until December 1700 when he considered contesting one of the Boston seats. The family’s standing was sufficient for Irby to be specifically exempted from the increased fine of £20 for freemen capable of standing as Members introduced in Boston in 1699, and he paid the lower fine of £5 on being made free in October 1701. The timing of his admission to the freedom suggests that he may have had thoughts of standing in the second election of 1701, but he was not returned until 1702, when he replaced Sir William Yorke. Irby acted as a teller on 14 Mar. 1704 in favour of reading a private petition on a forfeited Irish estate. During the summer recess of 1704 he married his relation Dorothy Paget, whose uncle Hon. Henry Paget was a prominent MP and of similar religious background to Irby. At the time of his marriage, however, his estate was heavily encumbered by debt and for many years afterwards he was plagued by financial worry. In October 1704 he was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack and voted against it or was absent at the crucial division of 28 Nov.3

Returned again for Boston in 1705, Irby was classed as ‘no church’ in an analysis of the new Parliament, and voted for the Court candidate for Speaker on 25 Oct. Classed as a Whig in an analysis of early 1708, he was only marginally more active in this session. He also took an interest in the case of Margaret and Mary Molloy for the restoration of an Irish forfeited estate, reporting on their petition on 28 Jan., managing the resultant bill through the Commons, and on 24 Feb. acting as a teller in favour of amendments to the bill. He also reported on two petitions from French officers for arrears of pay in the army on 19 Feb. and 8 Mar. His last recorded act during the session was as a teller on 24 Mar. on the government side on the bill for the election of Scottish peers to the Union Parliament, in opposition to a clause to prevent naval officers being concerned in the elections. Irby did not contest the 1708 election and was then defeated at Boston in 1710. He did not stand again and died in 1718, his burial taking place at Whaplode church on 11 Nov. His only son William, the 2nd baronet, who sat for Launceston and then Bodmin between 1735 and 1761, was created Lord Boston in 1761.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Sonya Wynne


  • 1. P. A. Irby, Irbys of Lincs. i. 47; IGI Lincs.; PCC 102 Cann; Top. and Gen. iii. 149; P. Thompson, Boston, 396.
  • 2. Boston Corp. Mins. ed. Bailey, iv. 502.
  • 3. Thompson, 391–6; HMC Portland, iii. 641; Boston Corp. Minutes, 489, 502; UCNW, Lligwy mss catalogue, 813–19, mortgages 1703; 825, Irby to Hon. Henry Paget, [?1710]; 826, m. settlement, 1704.
  • 4. Lligwy mss catalogue 828, 1710 pollbk.; Thompson, 396.