BELCHIER, William (d.1772), of Epsom, Surr.

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



1747 - 1761

Family and Education

Prob. s. of James Belchier of the Castle Inn, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surr. by his w. Hannah. m. (1) 1 Dec. 1736, Jane (d. 11 Oct. 1738), da. of Edward Ironside, banker, s.p.; (2) Frances Thomson of Hackthorn, Lincs., s.p.

Offices Held


Belchier was a banker in Lombard Street: 1729-56 the firm was Belchier and Ironside, and in 1757 it became Ironside, Belchier, and How. In 1747 he was returned for Southwark after a contest, and was classed by Newcastle as a supporter of Administration. He also cultivated an interest at Winchelsea: he had lent money to John Caryll, a considerable landowner at Winchelsea, on the security of his estates, and in 1754, partly by purchase and partly by foreclosure, was trying to get possession of them.1 On 16 Mar. 1754 Newcastle noted about Winchelsea: ‘Belcher gone down to oppose the election.’2 But Belchier did not interfere, probably because the conveyance of Caryll’s estate had not been completed. He was elected for Southwark, again after a contest, and was classed by Dupplin as against Administration.

His opposition, if it was serious, did not last long: in 1756 he applied through Henry Fox to be made banker to the commissioners for prizes,3 and in 1760 subscribed £150,000 to the Government loan. This seems to have been mainly on behalf of his clients. According to Bank of England records his own purchases of stock between 1752 and 1760 amounted to about £60,000, which he bought for ‘stagging’.

In December 1760 he went bankrupt. To John Caryll on 13 Dec. he wrote:4 ‘Your unkindness in this very long delay in your clearing up the title to the Winchelsea estate has in a great measure been the cause of my ruin’; and complained of the ‘cruel, rash, and most outrageous act of my partner who would stop payment yesterday morn and did not give me half an hour’s notice of it, nor could I prevail with him to forbear it’. And to Newcastle on 20 Dec.:5

The cruel and unexpected turn that has very lately befallen me in my fortune and credit has so far disabled me, that I cannot with honour and integrity appear in the character of a Member of Parliament as yet. I think it incumbent on me to give your Grace the earliest intelligence of my intention to decline being a candidate at the ensuing general election for Southwark ... I shall be glad to receive your commands to know whom I shall oblige with my interest in that place, which I flatter myself is not inconsiderable.

And again to Newcastle on 17 Sept. 1761:6

Since the misfortune brought on me by the most unparalleled treachery of a partner, I would neither be in business or Parliament although I was offered both, until I had accomplished the desirable end of paying everyone his last shilling which I hope ere long to do. At present I have time on my hands and beg leave to tender my best services to your Grace in every assistance I am able, either in forming or the examination of plans for raising the supplies for the ensuing year; my friends also are desirous and will be ready to subscribe.

Apparently Newcastle did not accept this offer.

In 1765 he resumed business in Lombard Street, but by 1767 he was once more in financial difficulties.7 Perhaps it was the need to seek immunity from his creditors which led him in 1768 to stand again for Southwark, where he was bottom of the poll. In 1770 his business address is given as 34 Nicholas Lane, and he remained there until his death, 14 Dec. 1772.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. See his corresp. with Caryll in Add. 28231-5.
  • 2. Add 32995, f. 96.
  • 3. Fox to Newcastle, 22 Sept. 1756, Add. 32867, f. 381.
  • 4. Add. 28234, f. 132.
  • 5. Add. 32916, f. 244.
  • 6. Add. 32928, f. 213.
  • 7. Belchier to Caryll, 10 Jan. 1767, Add. 28235, f. 327.