BOWES, George (1701-60), of Streatlam Castle, Co. Dur.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1727 - 17 Sept. 1760

Family and Education

b. 21 Aug. 1701, 3rd s. of Sir William Bowes, M.P., of Streatlam Castle by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Francis Blakiston, 3rd Bt., of Gibside, co. Dur. educ. G. Inn 1719. m. (1) Oct. 1729, Eleanor (d. 14 Dec. 1742), da. and h. of Hon. Thomas Verney (s. of George, 12th Lord Willoughby de Broke), s.p.; (2) 13 June 1743, Mary, da. and h. of Edward Gilbert of Paulswalden, Herts., 1da. suc. bro. 1722.

Offices Held

Mayor of Hartlepool 1732, 1743, 1754; of Durham 1739.


One of the largest Durham coal owners, George Bowes, with the Wortleys and the Liddells founded the ‘Grand Alliance’, a cartel which dominated the north country coal trade in the 18th century.1 After contesting Berwick unsuccessfully in 1723, he built up a strong interest at Morpeth, with a view to standing there at the next general election, when he decided to stand for Durham county, turning over his Morpeth interest to Sir Thomas Robinson.2 Returned as a Whig for the county, which he represented without a contest till his death, he voted against the Government on the civil list arrears in 1729, the excise bill in 1733, and the repeal of the Septennial Act in 1734. He made his first reported speech on 23 Feb. 1731;3 was thought to have answered a speech by Walpole on the excise bill ‘well, considering he is a young speaker’,4 and was among those who supported Sir William Wyndham’s ‘violent motion’ for the outright rejection of the bill, instead of allowing it to be withdrawn.5 He voted against the Spanish convention in 1739, but against the motion for Walpole’s dismissal in February 1741. He continued to act against the Government till 1744, when he spoke, 19 Jan., against an opposition motion for an inquiry into the employment of Hanoverian troops in British pay;6 and again, 15 Feb., against another opposition motion for tacking a demand for an inquiry into the state of the navy to a loyal address to the King on the projected French invasion,7 against which he offered to raise a troop of horse at his own expense.8 Next year he opposed a vote of credit, 21 Mar. 1745,9 but took an active part in raising forces against the rebels. He did not vote on the Hanoverians in 1746 and was classed in the next Parliament as Opposition. The 2nd Lord Egmont, in his electoral survey, c. 1749-50, wrote: ‘George Bowes may be now and then with us [Leicester House] when anything is wanting for the coal trade’.

He died 17 Sept. 1760.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. E. Hughes, N. Country Life in 18th Cent. 235-6.
  • 2. See under MORPETH.
  • 3. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 143.
  • 4. HMC Carlisle, 106.
  • 5. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 361.
  • 6. Yorke's parl. jnl. Parl. Hist. xiii. 472.
  • 7. Ibid. 648.
  • 8. Lady Hertford to Ld. Beauchamp, 4 Mar. 1744, Northumberland mss.
  • 9. Yorke's parl. jnl. Parl. Hist. xiii. 1250.