SHARPE, John (?1700-56), of East Barnet, Herts.

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



1754 - 22 Oct. 1756

Family and Education

b. ?1700, and s. of William Sharpe of Elstree, Herts. by Margaret, da. of Charles Beake of Golden Square, London.  educ. L. Inn 1725.  m. Dec. 1724, Olive Cartwright of Holborn,1 2s. 1da.

Offices Held

Solicitor to Treasury July 1742- d.; agent, Jamaica from 1733, Barbados from 1738, for Antigua, Nevis, and St. Kitts from 1751, all to d.2


As solicitor to the Treasury Sharpe was at the centre of Government business; he also carried on ‘a vigorous private practice, much of it among West Indian merchants and planters’;3 as agent to several West India Islands he did them eminent service; acted also as solicitor for some North American colonies including Massachusetts; was considered for the agency of S. Carolina in 1747, but was objected to because ‘he was very generally employed by the merchants in soliciting their bills through Parliament’, and at that time these had a contrary interest;4 and was offered and declined the agency of Massachusetts in 1755. He was one of the guardians of Frederick, 6th Baron Baltimore, and presumably through his influence his brother Horatio became governor of Maryland in 1753.

Sharpe seems to have had some connexion with the Walpole family; possibly also with John Scrope, Walpole’s secretary to the Treasury; but the origin of either is unascertained. In 1754 he was returned for Callington by the Dowager Lady Orford, together with her second husband, Sewallis Shirley. When early in 1756 a separation was being arranged between her and her husband, she, writing to Sharpe from Italy, addressed him as her ‘dear friend’, whose absence often made her ‘melancholy in the midst of the most agreeable company’, and for whom she had ‘the greatest esteem joined to the sincerest friendship and the highest obligations’.5 It can be assumed that in the House Sharpe voted regularly with the Government; there is no record of his having spoken.

He died 22 Oct. 1756, aged 56, leaving his widow, besides the house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and that at East Barnet for life, a yearly income of £700; a portion of £10,000 to his daughter who was about to marry the only surviving son of John Craster; his son, Fane William Sharpe, was residuary legatee.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. F. C. Cass, East Barnet, 112.
  • 2. L. M. Penson, Col. Agents of W. Indies, 250-2.
  • 3. Ibid. 167.
  • 4. E. Lonn, Col. Agents of Southern Colonies, 75, 132.
  • 5. Add. 34728, ff. 44-46.