MUSGRAVE, Sir Christopher, 5th Bt. (1688-1736), of Edenhall, Cumb.

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



1713 - 1715
1722 - 1727

Family and Education

b. 25 Dec. 1688, o. s. of Philip Musgrave† (d.v.p. s. of Sir Christopher Musgrave, 4th Bt.*) by Mary, da. of George Legge†, 1st Baron Dartmouth.  educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1706.  m. 21 June 1711, Julia, da. of Sir John Chardin of Kempton Park, Mdx., 7s. 4da.  suc. fa. 1689; gdfa. as 5th Bt. 29 July 1704.1

Offices Held

Clerk of Privy Council 1712–16; commr. privy seal 30 Apr.–27 Aug. 1715.2

Freeman, Appleby 1712.3


Orphaned by the early death of his father, Musgrave’s upbringing became the responsibility of his paternal uncle Christopher*. A close relationship between the two men is suggested by a letter in which Musgrave wrote that his uncle had ‘always been not only a friend but a father too on all occasions’. Musgrave spent much of his early life with his uncle in London, becoming a frequent dining partner of Bishop Nicolson of Carlisle. His first venture into electoral politics came in 1710 when he was chosen, at a meeting of Westmorland’s Tory gentry, to stand on a party ticket with James Grahme* for the county. Grahme, however, was unwilling to incur the cost of a contest and instead settled for an unopposed return in the company of the Whig Daniel Wilson*. Rumours in August the same year that Musgrave intended to stand for Cumberland proved to be unfounded.4

Musgrave persisted in his determination to assume a place in public life, and the dispute concerning the Carlisle election of 1710 appeared to offer an opportunity to fulfil this ambition. The petition of the Tory Samuel Gledhill against the Whig (Sir) James Montagu I* was under scrutiny by the elections committee in early 1712, and in January Musgrave wrote to the secretary of state, Lord Dartmouth, Musgrave’s uncle, requesting a ‘preferment’, as such ‘a countenance would enable me to recover the interest of my country, and bring me into Parliament this election at Carlisle which I am informed will be made void between Sir James Montagu and Colonel Gledhill’. The same month saw Musgrave make ‘hearty offers of friendship’ to Bishop Nicolson and the Earl of Carlisle (Charles Howard*), both of whom had substantial interests at Carlisle, but Musgrave’s hopes were dashed by the Commons’ resolution of 23 Feb. 1712 that Montagu had been duly elected. Musgrave instead accepted the post of clerk to the Privy Council, previously held by his father and uncle, the latter resigning the post to allow Musgrave to succeed. His desire to enter Parliament remained undiminished, and in July he wrote to the Earl of Oxford (Robert Harley*) to renew a previously spurned request to be appointed governor of Carlisle. Musgrave argued that the post would allow him ‘great sway in choice of candidates’ in Cumberland, and claimed that while he was denied such advancement, ‘your opposers are continued in places of trust’. Oxford again rejected this request. Musgrave’s continuing concern to bolster his interest in the north-west was evident the following year when he joined his uncle and Gilfrid Lawson* in bringing to the attention of the Treasury Board the concern that ‘a strict execution of the window tax would be hard upon Cumberland’, and in 1713 he was mentioned as a prospective knight of the shire for both Cumberland and Westmorland. In July Musgrave presented the Cumberland address of congratulation upon the peace, but he withdrew from the Cumberland election despite reports that he could have defeated Lawson ‘with the charge of £400 or £500 at most’; and the continued unwillingness of James Grahme to bear the cost of a contested Westmorland election forced Musgrave into declining to stand for this county. He was instead returned unopposed for Carlisle, having previously persuaded the Earl of Carlisle not to oppose his election. Classed as a Tory in the Worsley list, Musgrave was an inactive Member. He was on one occasion a teller, on 16 June 1714, in a division upon the hearing of the Harwich election petition.5

Musgrave was added to the commission of the peace for Cumberland in the summer of 1714, and at this time he renewed his request to be appointed governor of Carlisle. Again rejected by the ministry, his failure to bolster his interest in the borough meant that the following year that he was unable to retain his seat, Lord Carlisle being determined to forward a candidate of his own and Bishop Nicolson opposing Musgrave’s return. Musgrave canvassed Westmorland, was mentioned as a candidate for both Cumberland and Cockermouth, and was rumoured to be spending money in Lancaster, but despite his efforts, and John Bland’s* attempt to find him a seat at Newton, Musgrave was unable to secure his return in 1715. Dismissed from his clerkship of the Privy Council in March 1716, Musgrave successfully contested Cumberland in 1722 and sat as a Tory until the death of George I. He died on 20 Jan. 1736, being succeeded in his title and estates by his eldest son Philip. Musgrave’s personal estate was valued at £2,209 19s.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. P. Musgrave, Collectanea Musgraviana, 164–5.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxvi. 537; xxvii. 234, 534; xxix. 702, 853; xxx. 159.
  • 3. Cumbria RO (Kendal), Appleby bor. recs. WSMB/A minute bk. 3, 22 July 1712.
  • 4. Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Musgrave mss D/Mus/A/1/13, Sir Christopher to Christopher Musgrave, n.d.; Nicolson Diaries ed. Jones and Holmes, 407, 413, 417; Bagot mss at Levens Hall, Christopher Musgrave to James Grahme, 5 June 1705; Hopkinson thesis, 95; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/1/43, William Gilpin to James Lowther*, [Aug. 1710].
  • 5. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. ser. 2, lxxviii. 122–4; HMC Dartmouth, i. 309; Nicolson Diaries, 578; HMC Portland v. 209, 304–5, 343; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxvii. 8; Hopkinson thesis, 95–97; London Gazette, 25–28 July 1713; Ferguson, Cumb. and Westmld. MPs, 104.
  • 6. L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 222; Add. 70280, Earl of Thanet (Thomas Tufton†) to [?Oxford], 1 June 1714; Ferguson, 101–3; Hopkinson, 98; Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/1/47, Lawson to [?Lowther], 8 Sept 1714; Bagot mss, Thomas Carleton to Grahme, 15 Nov. 1714 (Speck trans.); John Rylands Univ. Lib. Manchester, Legh of Lyme mss corresp. Bland to Peter Legh†, 7 Sept. 1714; Cumbria RO (Kendal), Musgrave mss WD/CAT A2016, schedule of personal estate, 3 July 1736; Musgrave, 164–5.