SPEKE, George (d.1753), of White Lackington and Dillington, Som.
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Family and Education
b. c.1686, o.s. of John Speke of White Lackington and Dillington, M.P. Taunton 1690-8, by his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Robert Pelham of Compton Valence, Dorset. m. (1) Alicia, da. of Nicholas Brooking, 2da. (1 d.v.p.); (2) Feb. 1732, Jane,1 da. and coh. of William Hockmore of Combe-in-Teignhead, Devon, wid. of (i) one Palmer of Sharpham Pk., Som., and (ii) William Pitt of Cricket Malherbie, Som., s.p.; (3) July 1737, Anne, da. of William Peere Williams of Grey Friars, Chichester, Suss., sis. of Sir Hutchins Williams, 1st Bt., and wid. of Sir William Drake, 6th Bt., of Ashe, Devon, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.
The son of one of the most wealthy and influential landowners in Somerset, George Speke unsuccessfully contested the county election in 1715. Sitting thereafter for Somerset boroughs, he voted consistently with the Administration, except on the division on the Spanish convention in 1739, when he was absent. On 18 Feb. 1737 he spoke late in support of the government motion for continuing an army of 17,704 men, adding that
he was for it as sick men take physic, because necessary, though very bitter in going down and disagreeable to the palate.
On 30 Mar. 1737, immediately after the House had agreed to a bill for a general reduction of interest on the national debt to 3%, he spoke in favour of an opposition motion which sought to pledge the House to a reduction of taxes once interest was settled uniformly at that level. On 30 Mar. 1739 he supported a motion for the repeal of the Test Act.2 On 14 June 1740 Newcastle wrote to Pelham, referring to the impending general election:
Sir Robert Walpole is a good deal uneasy and I think with reason at Mr. Dodington’s behaviour [he was then lord lieutenant of Somerset], who has declared against Speke at Wells and Olmius at Weymouth. Sir Robert has wrote to him about Olmius (I should rather have wrote about Speke).3
He was in fact successful at Wells in 1741, continuing to support the Administration. He lost his seat in 1747 and died 2 Jan. 1753, leaving his daughter Mary £10,000 and the rest of his property, worth more than £4,000 a year, to his daughter Anne, who married Lord North.4