FELLOWES, Coulson (1696-1769), of Ramsey Abbey, Hunts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
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1741 - 1761

Family and Education

b. 12 Oct. 1696, 1st s. of William Fellowes of Eggesford, Devon by Mary, da. and h. of Joseph Martin of London. educ. Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1716; L. Inn 1714, called 1723; Grand Tour (France, Italy) c.1724. m. 20 Apr. 1725, Urania, da. of Francis Herbert, M.P., of Oakley Park, Salop, sis. of Henry Arthur Herbert, M.P., 1st Earl of Powis, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 19 Jan. 1724.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Devon 1727-8.


Fellowes’s grandfather and great-grandfather were London merchants, and he himself a comparative newcomer in Huntingdonshire. In 1754 he was returned unopposed for the county, together with Sandwich’s candidate, Lord Carysfort. In Dupplin’s list Fellowes was classed as an Opposition Whig. What line he followed after the Bedfords had rejoined the Government at the end of 1755, is uncertain: not one speech or vote of his is recorded in this Parliament.

In 1761 Lord Mandeville, son of the Duke of Manchester, having come of age, was a candidate; and on 12 July 1759 both Sandwich and Carysfort wrote to Bedford about the danger of a contest, and asked for his support.1 Sandwich claimed that they both had told Fellowes ‘that if he chose to stand [presumably against Mandeville] we were ready to support him to the utmost of our power; this proposal he absolutely declined, and as I understood told me he would not stand at all, but wait for a more favourable opportunity’. Now he seemed inclined to join Manchester—‘I could get nothing more from him than that I had misunderstood him as to his intention of standing, and that he could not promise he would not join the other party.’ Thus released of ‘any tenderness for Mr. Fellowes’, they both thought ‘that a negotiation shall be tried to compromise things with the Duke of Manchester; for the trouble and expense of a contest is what we both dread.’ Bedford, who had long been on good terms with Fellowes, would not decide against him without first hearing him, nor oppose the son of Manchester, with whose electoral interest he had to count in Bedfordshire; but always ready to support one candidate of Sandwich’s for Huntingdonshire, Bedford wished for an agreement between him and Manchester. This was concluded, and Carysfort and Mandeville were returned unopposed; Fellowes did not stand either in 1761 or after, but the greatest care was taken by Sandwich to retain his support.2

A highly laudatory, yet not uncritical, character sketch of Coulson Fellowes, written toward the end of his life, was printed by John Nichols3 from the mss of the Rev. John Jones (1700-70):4

He is a gentleman of great worth in all respects ... a man of extensive knowledge in almost all parts of learning ... well acquainted with the real interests of these kingdoms, their connexions in trade, commerce, and interest with other nations ...
Mr. Fellowes is generally allowed to be one of the best politicians in this kingdom, and an excellent calculator in matters of loss and profit. His successful management in regard to the public funds, where his own interest is concerned, demonstrates this. He is said to be (and very probably is) immensely rich. The principal fault which is ascribed to him is too much parsimoniousness ...
He travelled, in his younger days, into foreign parts; and was at Rome at the same time with Dr. [Conyers] Middleton,5 whom he often accompanied in viewing the curiosities of that city and the country surrounding it ... He is both ingenious, lively, cheerful, and extremely well versed in history, ancient and modern ... has also a considerable command of the classics. He is uncommonly absteminous ... drinks only water ...

He died 23 Feb. 1769.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Bedford mss 39, f. 252; 40, f. 8.
  • 2. Sandwich to Wm. Fellowes, 7 Dec. 1765, Sandwich mss.
  • 3. Literary Anecs. i. 589-90
  • 4. About him see DNB.
  • 5. For his travels see Nichols, v. 410-11.