ELWES, Sir Hervey, 2nd Bt. (c.1683-1763), of Stoke, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. c.1683, s. of Gervase Elwes, M.P. Sudbury 1679-81, by Isabella, da. of Sir Thomas Hervey, M.P., of Ickworth, Suff. and sis. of John Hervey, M.P. 1st Earl of Bristol. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1702. unm. suc. gd.-fa. as 2nd Bt. May 1706.
Elwes inherited estates so heavily encumbered that his uncle, Lord Bristol, advised him either to sell them or marry a rich wife. In 1715 Lord Bristol opened negotiations on his nephew’s behalf for a lady with a portion of £10,000, which, he explained, was ‘absolutely necessary to discharge the encumbrances left upon his estate by his grandfather’,1 but the scheme fell through. In the meantime Elwes had succeeded to the family seat at the neighbouring borough of Sudbury, which his father and grandfather had represented in most Parliaments for nearly thirty years. Though classed as a government supporter, all his recorded votes after George I’s accession were against the Administration, except on the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts, on which he did not vote. He withdrew from politics in 1722, devoting the rest of his long life to restoring his fortune by practising an economy so drastic that his life has been described as ‘perhaps the most perfect picture of human penury that ever existed’. He died 18 Sept. 1763, aged about 80, leaving at least a quarter of a million2 to his nephew, John Elwes, M.P., who modelled his way of life on his uncle’s.