MORTIMER, Hans Winthrop (1734-1807), of Caldwell Hall, Derbys.

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



25 Apr. 1775 - 1780
2 Apr. 1781 - 1790

Family and Education

b. 3 May 1734, o.s. of Cromwell Mortimer, M.D. (descended from a da. of Oliver Cromwell), sec. of the Royal Society, of Topping Hall, Essex by Elizabeth, da. of Samuel Sanders.  educ. L. Inn. 1755, called 1761. unm.  suc. fa. 7 Jan. 1752.

Offices Held


Mortimer sold Topping Hall before 1768, and shortly afterwards bought Caldwell. How he became connected with Shaftesbury is not known. In 1771 he contested the borough against Francis Sykes, standing on Lord Shaftesbury’s interest; and was defeated. In 1774 he was again defeated, but returned on petition; and in 1776 was awarded £11,000 damages for bribery against his opponent, Thomas Rumbold. He now began buying property in Shaftesbury to strengthen his interest. In 1781 he was again returned on petition; and in 1784, after an expensive contest, carried both seats. In 1790 he was defeated.

In 1779 the Public Ledger wrote about Mortimer: ‘He votes on each side, but generally with the Opposition.’ In the Parliament of 1774 seven votes by him are recorded in eleven division lists—each for the Opposition. On 12 Dec. 1781 he voted with Government on Lowther’s motion against the war; did not vote in the divisions of 20 and 22 Feb. 1782; and in the remaining recorded divisions of North’s Administration with the Opposition. He voted against Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783; but in January 1784 was classed by Robinson as a supporter of Pitt, and henceforth voted with him. He voted for parliamentary reform on 18 Apr. 1785. He seems never to have spoken in the House.

Oldfield wrote about Shaftesbury in the 1816 edition of his Representative History (iii. 405-6):

A majority of the houses in this borough was purchased about the year 1774 by the late Hans Winthrop Mortimer, a gentleman who at that time possessed a fortune of £6000 per annum and £30,000 in ready money, but his contests in this borough and the petitions and lawsuits arising out of them are known to have caused his ruin; and ... [he] was confined for some years a prisoner for debt within the walls of the Fleet prison.

Mortimer died 26 Feb. 1807, ‘in his 73rd year’.1

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Gent. Mag. 1807, p. 283.