ELTON, Abraham (1679-1742), of Bristol and Clevedon Court, Som.

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



18 Jan. 1724 - 1727
1727 - 20 Oct. 1742

Family and Education

bap. 30 June 1679, 1st s. of Sir Abraham Elton 1st Bt.. m. 14 May 1702, Abigail, da. of Zachary Bayly of Charlcot House, nr. Westbury, Wilts. and Northwood Park, nr. Glastonbury, Som., 3s. 3da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 9 Feb. 1728.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Bristol 1710-11, mayor 1719-20, alderman 1723; master, Merchant Adventurers 1719-20.


A merchant and industrialist, Elton is said to have withdrawn to France in 1720 owing to his South Sea losses.1 Four years later he was returned for Taunton on the Whig interest, standing unexpectedly two days before the poll.2 At the next general election he succeeded his father at Bristol, paying the Tory candidate £1,000 to give up.3 In the new Parliament he became a member of the gaols committee, and spoke in February 1730 against the African Company’s petition to be relieved of the cost of maintaining their forts. He presented a petition from the city of Bristol, 27 Feb. 1730, to take off the duty on soap and candles which was rejected; and another from the Bristol merchants in February 1731, complaining of Spanish depredations, which led to an address for papers. During that year he spoke three times against the removal of the duties on the importation of Irish yarn, repeating his objections in 1734 and again in 1739. On the first reading of the excise bill in 1733 he

made a bantering speech against the bill, proving out of the profits and revelations that merchants were the best and most honourable subjects, and the excise a wicked thing.

When constables were sent for by the magistrates to control the anti-excise mob outside the House, he and Sir John Hynde Cotton

went out, and seeing that number of constables, asked, ‘what is the meaning of all these constables? Did Sir Robert Walpole send you?’ Which [it was observed] could not fail to spirit up this mob.4

Both in this and the next Parliament he voted with the Opposition in all recorded divisions; but in his last Parliament, after abstaining from the division on the chairman of the elections committee in December 1741, he was reported to be voting with the Government.5 He died during the recess, 20 Oct. 1742, leaving the pottery, copper and glass works within the family.6

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Shirley Matthews


  • 1. J. Latimer, Annals of Bristol in 18th cent. 127.
  • 2. Thos. Brodrick to Ld. Midleton, 25 Jan. 1724, Midleton mss.
  • 3. Jas. Pearce to Humphry Morice, 9 Sept. 1727, Morice mss.
  • 4. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 51, 55, 131, 150, 183, 186, 349-50, 361; ii. 27; iii. 36; Knatchbull Diary.
  • 5. Hartington to Devonshire, 22 Dec. 1741, Devonshire mss.
  • 6. PCC 195 Boycott.