RUSHWORTH, Edward (1755-1817), of Freshwater House, I.o.W.

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



1780 - Apr. 1781
1784 - 1790
17 June - Dec. 1790
1796 - Mar. 1797

Family and Education

b. 17 Oct. 1755, 1st s. of Capt. John Rushworth, R.N., of Portsea, Hants, by his w. Sarah Mayne.  educ. Winchester; Trinity, Oxf. 1780.  m. 27 Aug. 1780, Catherine, da. of the Rev. Leonard Troughear Holmes, 8s. 5da.

Offices Held


The following account of Rushworth was published in the English Chronicle in 1781:

Mr. Rushworth was, in the early part of his life, intended for the law, and ... was articled to a solicitor for the usual term of five years. His natural propensity, however, had not been consulted in the selection of this profession, and he relinquished the pursuit of it as soon as he obtained a legal sanction for his freedom.

On 11 Apr. 1780 he matriculated at Oxford, and a few days later was ordained a deacon. At the same time he obtained the curacy of Whitsbury in Hampshire, and ‘exercised for some time the function of a clerk in Holy Orders by reading prayers and preaching in the parish church of Newport’.1 He seems to have met there the daughter of Leonard Holmes, manager of the parliamentary interest in the Isle of Wight boroughs, and having married her a few days before the general election, was nominated for Yarmouth by his father-in-law, and returned unopposed. On 7 Sept. 1780, the eve of the election, Lord North wrote indignantly to Robinson:2 ‘By Sir Richard Worsley’s and Mr. Holmes’s letters you see what a trick they have played us in the Isle of Wight. Mr. Holmes’s plan is to force me to provide for Mr. Rushworth.’ In Robinson’s survey of February 1781 Rushworth was counted as an opponent of Administration, but no vote or speech by him was reported before April 1781 when (presumably for a consideration) he vacated his seat in favour of Sir Thomas Rumbold.

In 1784 Rushworth successfully contested Newport on Holmes’s interest. His opponent, John Barrington, immediately petitioned against his return on the grounds that his election was invalid since he was in deacon’s orders, but a committee of the House found him duly elected. Rushworth was classed by Adam as a Foxite; he spoke against Pitt’s proposals for parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1785;3 voted against his Irish propositions, 13 May 1785; voted with Administration on Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786, and spoke4 and voted with Opposition over the Regency, 1788-9.

He died 15 Oct. 1817.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. CJ, 27 May 1784.
  • 2. Abergavenny mss.
  • 3. Stockdale, v. 346.
  • 4. 19 Dec. 1788, ibid. xvi. 138.