FENWICK, Thomas (?1729-1794), of Kentmere, Westmld.

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



1768 - 1774

Family and Education

b. ?1729, 2nd s. of Thomas Wilson, attorney, of Kendal by Dorothy, da. of John Fenwick of Nunriding, Northumb., sis. of Robert Fenwick M.P., of Burrow, Lancs. educ. Sedbergh; St. John’s, Camb. 27 Feb. 1749, aged 19; L. Inn 1751, called 1756. unm. suc. 1757, on d. of his bro. to estates of his maternal uncle, and took name of Fenwick.

Offices Held


Fenwick was suggested by Lord Suffolk as a candidate for Westmorland as early as July 1767; opposition from leading families prevented his immediate nomination, but in March 1768 he was approached by a group of Carlisle gentlemen who were willing to subscribe ‘a pretty considerable sum’ towards his expenses if he would stand for Westmorland against Sir James Lowther’s candidates. He also was promised the Duke of Portland’s backing and financial support, and agreed to stand. He was returned by a majority of 81 votes over Lowther’s second candidate. In spite of financial help Fenwick found his election expenses far greater than he had expected, and wrote to Portland, 11 Mar. 1769, that he was forced to apply ‘for any sum which your Grace may think proper to give me a draught for’.1

All Fenwick’s reported votes were with the Opposition. But he does not appear in the minority lists of 1770 and 1771; and in Robinson’s first survey on the royal marriage bill, March 1772, is described as ‘contra’ with the note ‘may attend, sick’, in the second, 8 Mar., as ‘contra, sick, present’. He voted with the Opposition on Grenville’s Election Act, 25 Feb. 1774, and was classed by Robinson as ‘contra’, September 1774. He is not known to have spoken in the House.

In 1774 Fenwick again stood for Westmorland in opposition to Sir James Lowther, but he had damaged his never very strong position in the county by unjust claims to the property of his brother’s widow, and this time did not receive support from the Carlisle gentlemen. He was defeated, and apparently never again stood for Parliament.

He died 3 Apr. 1794.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Portland mss.