AMCOTTS, Wharton (1740-1807), of East Retford, Notts., and Kettlethorpe, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1780 - 1790
1796 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 23 Feb. 1740, 1st s. of Alexander Emerson of East Retford and Caister, Lincs. by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Rev. Thomas Bosville, rector of Ufford, Northants. m. (1) 16 Apr. 1762, Anna Maria (d.1 July 1800), da. of Vincent Amcotts of Harrington and Aistrop, Lincs. and sis. and h. of Charles Amcotts, 1da.; (2) 20 Oct. 1800, Amelia Campbell of Whitley, Northumb., 1da. suc. fa. c. 1744; Charles Amcotts at Kettlethorpe and took name of Amcotts 13 May 1777; cr. Bt. 11 May 1796.

Offices Held

Ensign 14 Ft. 1758, lt. 1759, left army shortly afterwards.


In January 1760 Emerson (as he then was) wrote to Newcastle stating that he had property at East Retford which gave him an interest in the borough, and asking to be made a captain in the army.1 He was not applying for a livelihood, he subsequently informed Newcastle,2 ‘which I have no occasion to do, but ... no young man can be blamed for endeavouring to advance himself’; even so, he would not ask for a favour were he not conscious of being able to return it, and he referred again to his future parliamentary interest—‘I ... thought upon that account your Grace might assist me’. Unsuccessful in his application, Amcotts apparently retired from the army soon afterwards, but does not seem to have played a major part in the politics of East Retford till shortly before the general election of 1780. Robinson, in his survey of July 1780, wrote against East Retford: ‘An attempt will be made here to throw Sir Cecil Wray out by Mr. Amcotts’ standing with Lord John Clinton. It will be fixed while the [2nd] Duke of Newcastle is in the country and known on his return. If it succeeds, we shall here gain. The attempt was successful, and Amcotts was returned unopposed.

In Parliament he regularly supported North’s Administration till its fall. He did not vote on Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, but on 5 Apr. wrote to congratulate Portland on his assumption of office, and on 14 Aug. promised his future support.3 He voted for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783, but on 5 Dec. 1783 he wrote again to Portland:

Having received instructions from the bailiffs, aldermen, and burgesses of East Retford to vote for the repeal of the receipts tax, I found myself obliged to comply with the wishes of my constituents, though I confess it gave me great concern to oppose Government in any of their measures, being determined to support your Grace’s administration upon every question whenever your Grace is pleased to call upon me.

In Robinson’s list of January 1784 he was classed as ‘doubtful’, but in Stockdale’s of 19 Mar. and Adam’s of May as a Foxite. Though Robinson hoped that the Duke of Newcastle might secure the second seat at Retford for an Administration supporter,4 Amcotts was returned unopposed on his own interest, and he regularly voted against Pitt’s Administration. There is no record of his having spoken in the House.

Amcotts died 26 Sept. 1807.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 32901, f. 536.
  • 2. 24 Feb. 1760, Add. 32902, f. 372.
  • 3. Portland mss.
  • 4. Laprade, 116.