CONYNGHAM, Henry (c.1705-81), of Minster, Kent, and Slane, co. Meath.
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Family and Education
b. c.1705, 2nd s. of Maj.-Gen. Henry Conyngham of Slane and Mount Charles, co. Donegal by Mary, da. and h. of Sir John Williams, 2nd Bt., of Minster, wid. of Charles Petty, 1st Baron Shelburne [I]. m. Dec. 1744, Ellen, da. and h. of Solomon Merrett of St. Olave’s, Hart St., London, merchant, s.p. suc. bro. 1738. cr. Baron Conyngham [I] 3 Oct. 1753; Visct. Conyngham [I] 20 July 1756; Earl Conyngham [I] 4 Jan. 1781.
Cornet 4 Drag. Gds., lt. 1725; capt. R. Irish Drags. 1725.
M.P. [I] 1727-53; P.C. [I] 27 May 1748.
Henry Conyngham was descended from a younger branch of the Cunninghams, earls of Glencairn, settled in Ireland since the early seventeenth century. In 1738 he succeeded his brother to the family property in Ireland worth £6,400 a year,1 and to Minster in Kent, inherited through their mother. He unsuccessfully contested Sandwich in 1741, and Great Marlow in 1744, as a government candidate, it then being said of him ‘though a fool, [he] has always been steady to the right side’.2 On 31 July 1747 Lord Hartington wrote to Henry Pelham that Conyngham claimed that
upon the strength of having fought the battle the last Parliament he was promised to be brought in for Sandwich upon a compromise if it could be obtained, that is effected and he not the person. Then as to Marlow, he is not to be chosen there, but that I think is in great measure his own fault ... and lastly I own ... there was a sort of promise to bring him in somewhere or other ... My acquaintance with the man was merely accidental by my father’s being lord lieutenant and I have no further partiality for him but that I think if he was in Parliament he would act steadily.3
In the end a seat was found for him at Tiverton. The 2nd Lord Egmont, in his electoral survey of c.1749-50, noted against Marlow:
Conyngham, who stood there formerly upon the ministerial interest, might notwithstanding be a proper man. He has been slighted and ill-used by them and grumbles. But he must have some douceur in the military way. He is not a very wise man and is apt to be out of humour, but I believe manageable by a minister without much trouble.
He died 3 Apr. 1781.