MAYNARD, Sir William, 4th Bt. (1721-72), of Waltons, Essex

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



8 May 1759 - 18 Jan. 1772

Family and Education

b. 19 Apr. 1721, o.s. of Sir Henry Maynard, 3rd Bt., Turkey merchant, by Catherine, da. of George Gunter of Racton, Suss., sis. of Sir Charles Gunter Nicholl, M.P.  educ. Winchester 1731; Queen’s, Oxf. 1739; Grand Tour (Italy) 1744.  m. 13 Aug. 1751, Charlotte, da. of Sir Cecil Bishopp, 6th Bt., 3s. 1da.  suc. fa. 16 Nov. 1738.

Offices Held


Maynard stood for Essex in 1754 but declined the poll. On the vacancy in 1759, a meeting of Essex Whigs offered Maynard ‘their support and assistance if he stood upon that interest’; he thanked them for the honour, ‘but he could do nothing without consulting [his distant cousin] Lord Maynard thereupon’.1 Having obtained his approbation, Maynard was willing to stand; and, as he ‘is a very moderate man’, wrote Lord Rochford to Newcastle, 11 Apr., ‘I find it is the opinion of the Whigs to support him, especially as it will entirely divide the Tory interest’.2 Newcastle replied: ‘Sure the Whigs should give Sir William all the support in their power, and make him the Whig candidate.’ Maynard was returned unopposed; similarly in 1761.

In Bute’s list of December 1761 Maynard is marked ‘Newcastle’, subsequently changed to ‘Bute’. Fox, writing to Bute, 30 Nov. 1762, named Maynard among those from whom the seconder of the Address might be chosen;3 and next included him among Members favourable to the peace preliminaries. In March 1763, as a very tame knight of the shire, Maynard was placed on the Treasury list for the committee to inquire into public accounts. In the autumn he was classed by Jenkinson as a supporter of the Grenville Government; and he presumably voted with them over general warrants; there are no majority lists for those divisions, but when the question was brought up once more by the Opposition on 29 Jan. 1765, Bamber Gascoyne mentioned him as voting with the Government.4 He also voted with them over the Cider Act, 10 Feb. 1764.5 In the summer of 1765 Rockingham classed him as ‘doubtful’; but Maynard did not vote against the repeal of the Stamp Act. ‘I did not see Sir William in the House’, wrote Gascoyne after the division of 7 Feb. (Grenville’s motion for ‘enforcing laws in America’);6 and on 18 Mar.: ‘Sir William Maynard has not been at the House for some time. I suppose he is ill or frightened.’ In February and August 1766 he still served the Grenvilles as intermediary with Lord Maynard.7 But next he adhered to the Chatham Administration, and was one of the nine English knights of the shire to vote with them on 27 Feb. 1767 against a reduction of the land tax. In March the grand jury at the Chelmsford Assizes passed a resolution deprecating his action.

On 4 Nov. 1767 Maynard, a Government supporter, and John Luther, who sided with the Opposition, were nominated to stand for Essex on a joint interest at the next general election. The ‘Old Interest’, reinforced by Rigby, after considerable squabbles and difficulties, put up against them Eliab Harvey (who had voted with the Government even on the land tax) and Jacob Houblon jun. Maynard, a sick man,8 offered to stand down in favour of John Conyers if this would secure an uncontested election. The offer was refused, and Maynard and Luther were returned by an ample majority. In the new Parliament not a single vote by Maynard is recorded, nor is there any evidence of his having ever spoken in the House.  He died 18 Jan. 1772.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 32889, ff. 394, 402.
  • 2. Add. 32890, f. 23.
  • 3. Bute mss.
  • 4. Gascoyne to John Strutt, 31 Jan., Strutt mss.
  • 5. Harris’s ‘Debates’.
  • 6. To Strutt, 8 Feb.
  • 7. Maynard to Grenville, 14 Feb., Grenville mss (JM); to Sandwich, 31 Aug., Sandwich mss.
  • 8. Gascoyne to Strutt, 9 Feb. 1768.