SHUTTLEWORTH, Richard (1683-1749), of Gawthorpe Hall, Lancs. and Forcett, Yorks.

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



1705 - 22 Dec. 1749

Family and Education

bap. 3 Sept. 1683, 1st s. of Sir Richard Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe Hall and Forcett by Katherine, da. and h. of Henry Clerke, pres. of Magdalen Coll., Oxf.  educ. travelled abroad (France, Italy) 1703–4.  m. Emma da. of William Tempest of Old Durham, 5s. 3da.  suc. fa. 1687.1

Offices Held


Shuttleworth’s family had been established at Gawthorpe since the 14th century, and his great-grandfather and grandfather had represented Preston and Clitheroe respectively in the Long Parliament, both men being Presbyterians and supporters of Parliament in the Civil War. Shuttleworth’s father succeeded to the family estates in 1669, and at his death in 1687 Shuttleworth was still a minor. Shuttleworth should not be confused with his kinsman and namesake, who was an active Jacobite in the 1690s and who was executed as a rebel after the Fifteen, or with the namesake who stood at Clitheroe in 1698. Having toured abroad in 1703–4, Shuttleworth first considered entering Parliament at the Lancashire by-election of 1704. Though he decided not to press his claims at this time, he made it clear that he intended to stand at the following general election, and his entry into the county’s political life was recognized by his appointment to the magistracy in August 1704. In 1705, supported by the ‘Church of England’ interest, he was returned at the top of the Lancashire poll despite opposition from the 10th Earl of Derby (Hon. James Stanley*).2

Shuttleworth was classed as a Whig ‘loss’ by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) and as a ‘Churchman’ in an analysis of the new Parliament, forecasts which were confirmed by Shuttleworth’s vote on 25 Oct. 1705 against the Court candidate for Speaker. His opposition to the ministry is further illustrated by his telling, on 13 Dec., in favour of bringing in a place bill and, six days later, against candles being brought in to allow the debate on the land tax to continue. That his Tory beliefs included support for the Church of England is indicated by his appointment on 27 Feb. 1706 to the committee, following a petition from the clergy and gentry of south Lancashire, to draft a bill to tighten the laws against the growth of popery. This was, of course, also an illustration of his concern for the interests of his native county. The 1706–7 session saw Shuttleworth first-named among the appointees to draft a bill to prevent frauds in the working up of cloth and iron, a matter of concern to the weavers of Lancashire, and in January 1707 he guided this bill through its Commons stages, and carried it to the Lords on 18 Feb. His management of this measure was greatly appreciated in his home county, and it was reported that in Lancashire ‘Mr Sh[uttlewor]th is cried up as the only p[er]son here for having obliged the town and country by carrying a clause for them and interest is making for him ag[ains]t the next election’. Unfortunately, the bill was lost due to the prorogation of 8 Apr., and on 18 Apr. he presented a similar measure to the Commons. This bill received its second reading, but it also fell when Parliament was again prorogued on the 24th. His sole tellership (23 Jan. 1707) also concerned a local matter, against the election of the Whig Daniel Harvey* at Clitheroe. After his exertions over the cloth bill in 1707 his significant parliamentary activity came to an abrupt halt, though he was classed as a Tory in a parliamentary list of early 1708.3

Returned unopposed in 1708 Shuttleworth was classed as a Tory in an analysis of the new Parliament, but made little recorded contribution to this Parliament. His continued concern for local interests explains his appointment, on 7 Feb. 1709, to draft a bill for the creation of a new parish at Manchester, and his telling, on 18 Mar. 1710, for the Liverpool dock bill. His Tory loyalties were highlighted in his vote in 1710 against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, and later that year he was returned for Lancashire on the Tory interest. On 27 Jan. 1711 he told on the Tory side in the Hythe election case and, despite being granted six weeks’ leave of absence on 26 Mar., he was included in the list of ‘Tory patriots’ who had opposed the continuation of the war during the 1710–11 session. He was also listed among the ‘worthy patriots’ who had pursued the mismanagements of the previous administration, and as a member of the October Club. By the 1711–12 session, however, Shuttleworth appears to have abandoned the club to become, as one modern historian has described him, ‘a March Club rebel’. Such an interpretation would explain his telling, on 6 May, against the October Club-initiated tacking of the crown grants resumption bill to the lottery bill. The March Club’s assistance to the ministry on this matter may also explain, assuming Shuttleworth’s membership of this club, why in the same month an aspirant office-holder thought that his support carried weight with Lord Oxford (Robert Harley*). It does seem that Oxford was thought to have some influence over Shuttleworth at this time. In December 1712 (Sir) William Pole* (4th Bt.), like Shuttleworth a former October man who had opposed the tack of the crown grants resumption bill, proposed to Oxford that Shuttleworth be approached ‘to leave the north earlier than usual’ in order to support Pole’s election case. Such influence did not, however, extend to Shuttleworth’s behaviour in the 1713 session in relation to the peace, and like other March Club members Shuttleworth opposed the terms of the commercial treaty. On 6 May he told against the second reading of the bill to suspend duties on French wine, and on 18 June he voted against the French commerce bill. The subsequently printed division list classed Shuttleworth as a ‘whimsical’ Tory. The session also saw him manage the Douglas navigation bill through the Commons, and on 10 June he was the first-named Member of a second-reading committee for a Cheshire estate bill.4

Shuttleworth was returned unchallenged in 1713, and he found time at this election to support the candidacy of the ‘whimsical’ Tory Lord Barrymore (James Barry*) at Wigan. This support extended to his telling on 6 Apr. 1714 against the motion that the elections committee cease inquiries into the Wigan election, following the discovery that Barrymore had not signed his petition against the Wigan return. When the question of the succession was debated by the Commons on 15 Apr. Shuttleworth was one of the Tories who supported the motion that the Hanoverian succession was in danger under the present ministry. After being returned for Lancashire again in 1715 the Worsley list classed him as a Tory who would sometimes vote with the Whigs, while two further lists classed him as a Tory. Shuttleworth’s Hanoverian loyalties were recognized when he was one of the few Tory justices left on the Lancashire bench following the regulation of 1715. On his death on 22 Dec. 1749 he was succeeded by his son James, who sat for Preston for over a quarter of a century.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. J. Foster, Peds. of Lancs. Fam. (Shuttleworth).
  • 2. VCH Lancs. vi. 463–4; Baines, Lancs. ed. Croston, iii. 391; M. F. Keeler, Long Parl. 338–9; CSP Dom. 1689–90, pp. 158, 160, 162–3; Lancs. Memorials of the Rebellion 1715 (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, v), 100, 198; Add. 69378, Shuttleworth to Col. Revett, 4 June [1704]; Lancs. RO, Kenyon mss DDKe 9/100/27, Nicholas Starkie to George Kenyon*, 12 Apr. 1704; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 287; Bodl. Rawl. D.863, f. 90.
  • 3. Kenyon mss DDKe 9/102/25, Thomas to George Kenyon, [Feb. 1707].
  • 4. D. Szechi, Jacobitism and Tory Pol. 112–13; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 282; HMC Portland, x. 430; Add. 70204, Pole to Oxford, 22 Dec. [1712]; 70287, William Bromley II* to same, 4 Sept. 1713.
  • 5. BL, Trumbull Alphab. mss 52, Thomas Bateman to Sir William Trumbull*, 16 Apr. 1714; Glassey, 293; Cam. Misc. xxiii. 142.