CORNEWALL, Velters (?1697-1768), of Moccas Court, Herefs.

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



1722 - 3 Apr. 1768

Family and Education

b. ?1697, 3rd s. of Gen. Henry Cornewall, M.P., of Moccas by Susanna, da. of Sir John Williams, 2nd Bt., of Minster, Kent. educ. Ch. Ch. Oxf. 8 July 1714, aged 17; L. Inn 1714. m. (1) 1722 (marriage licence 22 Apr.), Judith, da. of Sir James Herbert of Coldbrook, Mon., wid. of Sir Thomas Powell, 1st Bt., M.P., s.p.s.; (2) Oct. 1734, Jane (d. 10 Apr. 1735), da. of Edmund Bray of Barrington Court, Glos., s.p.; (3) 2 Apr. 1737, Catherine, yst. da. and coh. of William Hanbury of Byfleet, Surr., 1s. d.v.p., 1da. who m. 1771 Sir George Amyand, 2nd Bt., who took name of Cornewall. suc. fa. in estates of Moccas and Bredwardine 1717.

Offices Held


Cornewall was a Tory. In 1754 his re-election was opposed—the first contest since 1722. Lady Grey wrote to her husband Lord Royston in April 1754:1

Nothing new I think has happened in the election trade since you left us, but a story out of Herefordshire ... of Lord Bateman’s and Mr. Fox having attempted to set up Mr. Price for the county a few days before the election, and to distress Mr. Cornewall, had got a writ served upon him in his own house for an old bond debt which he had forgot or neglected till by the interest it had accumulated to £2,500—This seems a very odd and not a very genteel way of attacking a man.

In the House Cornewall continued to rank as a member of the Tory Opposition, and had a reputation for whimsicality. Thus Horace Walpole, reporting the sitting of 18 Mar. 1761, at which Speaker Onslow took leave of the House, writes:2

Velters Cornewall made one of his absurd, ill-natured speeches, which the House was always so kind as to take for humour, teasing the Speaker under pretence of complimenting him; while the good old man sat overpowered with gratitude and weeping over the testimonies borne to his virtue.

And James Harris, in his notes on the debate on the cider bill, 11 Mar. 1763, having reported Glover’s speech against it: ‘Velters Cornewall got up, was of the same side, yet could not help ridiculing the tragic pomp of Glover, whom he hailed his melancholy friend.’ Jenkinson in his report for Bute3 says that Cornewall spoke ‘in his usual odd manner’. Two days later, speaking after Thomas Chester, a man of his own age,

his old friend Velters Cornewall ... gave us to understand that both himself and friend were grown old, that the House were kind to hear them; that the concatenation of their ideas was hurt, etc. He himself however was well heard, having a share of humour so as to claim attention.4

And speaking again on the Cider Act, 2 Mar. 1764, Cornewall ‘rambled, was friendly and hostile, regular and irregular, humorous and odd’.5

In the autumn of 1763 Jenkinson classed him as ‘pro’ Administration, and he did not vote against them over Wilkes and general warrants till 18 Feb. 1764 when Jenkinson marked him as a friend voting with the Opposition. In the summer of 1765 he appears in two lists of Rockingham as ‘pro’ and in one as ‘con’. He did not vote against the repeal of the Stamp Act. Whether he voted for it is uncertain, but he seems to have been inclined that way; Lord Egmont told the King, 17 Feb. 1766,6 that ‘on Saturday last’ (15 Feb.) Lord Temple ‘in a long conversation’ had tried to persuade Cornewall ‘not to vote for the repeal of the Stamp Act’. As a Tory country gentleman he voted, 27 Feb. 1767, against the Government for the lower land tax; and on 17 Feb. 1768 he voted again with the Opposition on the nullum tempus bill.

He died on 3 Apr. 1768, when, in the words of his memorial in Hereford cathedral, ‘his constituents were preparing to elect him to an eighth Parliament’.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 35376, f. 38.
  • 2. Mems. Geo. III, i. 40-41.
  • 3. Bodl. North mss.
  • 4. Harris’s ‘Debates’.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Fortescue, i. 272.