MICHELL, Matthew (?1705-52), of Chitterne, Wilts.

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



16 Mar. 1748 - 29 Apr. 1752

Family and Education

b. ?1705, 1st s. of Christopher Michell of Chitterne by Anne, 1st da. of William Willys of London, merchant (3rd s. of Sir Thomas Willys, 1st Bt., of Fen Ditton, Cambs.), sis. and coh. of Sir William Willys, 6th Bt. m. 4 Mar. 1749, Frances (with £20,0001), da. of John Ashfordby of Cheshunt, Herts., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1728.

Offices Held

Lt. R.N. 1729, capt. 1740.


Matthew Michell’s family had been settled at Chitterne, some ten miles from Westbury, for several generations. He went to sea in 1713 at the age of 8,2 received his first command in 1738, and, as captain of the Gloucester, circumnavigated the world with Anson, 1740-2. Later he was made commodore of a squadron in the Downs during the Jacobite rebellion 1745-6, and of a fleet stationed off the Scheldt to assist the Dutch, 1747-8.

At the 1747 election Pelham arranged for Michell to stand with Chauncy Townsend against the Bertie interest at Westbury. According to Townsend:

He [Pelham] named Admiral Michell to me but he would go only £1,000. The election and petition cost my part £2,850 and I paid on account Michell’s £1,350 and Mr. Pelham paid Michell £500, he having advanced that sum above his £1,000 agreed.3

Michell himself, who remained at sea for a further 9 months and was in his absence represented at Westbury by his brother, wrote to Anson from Flushing Roads, 19 June 1747:

I have received a letter from my brother Robert who has gone down to Westbury to try what interest the family of the Michells has that way in regard to me. I am to return you my hearty thanks for your kind recommendation to Mr. Pelham.4

After his defeat he wrote again to Anson:

I suppose my brother has waited on you to acquaint you with the bad success I met with at Westbury. I have directed him to follow your advice ... By my brother’s account I have had a great deal of injustice done me by the returning officer.

Later he complained that ‘I have been at a very great expense about my election, as well as giving my friends a great deal of trouble’.5 After the success of his petition in March 1748, he retired from the navy, supporting the Administration until his death, 29 Apr. 1752.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: R. S. Lea


  • 1. Gent. Mag. 1749, p. 141.
  • 2. M.I. at Chitterne (Hoare, Wilts. Hundred of Heytesbury, 174).
  • 3. To James West, 26 June 1754, Add. 32735, f. 573.
  • 4. Add. 15956, f. 244; see CJ, xxv. 574, 576.
  • 5. 14 July 1747 and 11 Jan. 1748, Add. 15956, ff. 250, 260.