OLMIUS, John (1711-62), of New Hall, Boreham, Essex.

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



10 Mar. 1737 - 1741
1741 - 26 Feb. 1742
1754 - 1761
1761 - 5 Oct. 1762

Family and Education

b. 18 July 1711, o.s. of John Olmius of Braintree, Essex, dep. gov. of Bank of England, by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Clarke, London merchant. m. 8 Sept. 1741, Anne, da. and h. of Sir William Billers of Thorley, Herts., ld. mayor of London 1733-4, 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1731; cr. Baron Waltham [I] 22 June 1762.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Essex 1746-7.


Olmius was the grandson of a wealthy Dutch merchant, who bought the Essex estates of the Earl of Scarsdale at the beginning of the eighteenth century.1 After unsuccessfully contesting Weymouth in 1735, he was returned there by Bubb Dodington in 1737, in which year he bought New Hall in Essex, formerly the seat of the dukes of Buckingham and Albemarle. With Walpole’s backing he made an unsuccessful attempt to wrest Weymouth from Dodington in 1741, when he was returned for Colchester, voting with the Government till he was unseated in February. In 1742 the secret committee on Walpole, before which he gave evidence, stigmatised the Weymouth and Essex elections as examples of Walpole’s ‘notorious attacks upon the freedom of elections’.2

In 1743 Olmius lent Frederick, Prince of Wales, £2,800 at 5 per cent.3 After unsuccessfully contesting Colchester again in 1747, he was put down ‘for Colchester or anywhere’ in the 2nd Lord Egmont’s list of persons to be brought in by the Court in the next reign.

In 1754 Olmius succeeded in a third attempt at Colchester. In 1757 he presented a memorial to Newcastle, ‘to be laid before the King when there was any design to create Knights of the Bath’:

In the year 1733 soon after I came of age I offered myself as a candidate to the borough of Maldon, which Sir Robert Walpole hearing, he desired me to decline standing there and he would bring me in for Orford, but he not succeeding at that place (at that time) I was left to take care of myself, which I did at Weymouth since which time I have purchased so many burgage tenures there that I stand in fear of none and as its a borough that chooses four Members by the same electors I leave any one to judge its value. I served for the said borough in the Parliament which was chose 1734 and I flatter myself I behaved well, Sir Robert offering me (though unasked) a Red Ribbon, which I told him I would accept being a distinguished mark of H.M.’s favour. He likewise twice offered me an Irish peerage which I then declined, telling him I should be extremely happy if I could obtain an English one, believing neither my family, fortune or principles could be objected to. I remember his answer, I was very young, it might be got in time, and the other would be a good step towards it.
In the year 1741 I was returned on a large legal majority for Colchester (for which place I now serve and think I may without vanity say no man has a better interest than myself). I lost my seat next sessions for my steady adherence to Sir Robert Walpole, although I might have kept it had I temporised, having had many offers to that purpose.
But I am now coming to the most material point viz. very early in the last rebellion I went to Kensington with the following proposal—
Hoping H.M. will be graciously pleased to accept this small mark of my zeal for his sacred person and royal family it is most humbly proposed by Mr. Olmius of New Hall in Essex to enlist with all expedition 500 men to be mustered at a week’s notice from H.M. and upon such notice to have arms sent down for the said corps, the expense of the whole (arms and officers excepted) to be borne by me and also their subsistence and pay for two months, I myself attending wherever they went as a volunteer.
The return I met with for this offer which was so well intended was the loss of Lord Fitzwalter’s [ld. lt. of Essex] friendship. His Lordship put me on a pocket sheriff4 for the county of Essex and when I spoke to him, he told me in a rage, such offers did not become any private gentleman, but only lords lieutenant and the very prime of the nobility and he insisting upon my serving that office, I did it and believe to the satisfaction of everybody.5

In the next reign he applied to Bute for an English peerage in the Coronation honours.6 He was given an Irish one three months before his death, 5 Oct. 1762.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Morant, Essex, ii. 84.
  • 2. CJ, xxiv. 293-5.
  • 3. Daniel Avery to Prince of Wales, 20 Feb. 1749, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.
  • 4. i.e. put him up for the office though he was not one of the three nominated in the Exchequer from whom sheriffs were normally selected.
  • 5. Add. 32874, f. 209.
  • 6. Bute mss.