SIBTHORP, Humphrey (1744-1815), of Canwick, Lincs.

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



2 May 1777 - 1784
9 Apr. 1800 - 1806

Family and Education

b. 3 Oct. 1744, 1st surv. s. of Prof. Humphrey Sibthorp of Oxford, the distinguished botanist, by Sarah, da. of Isaac Waldo of Streatham; nephew of Coningsby Sibthorp. His sis. Mary Elizabeth m. 1773 Thomas Sewell.  educ. Harrow 1755; Westminster 1756; Corpus Christi, Oxf. 1758; L. Inn 1766.  m. 23 July 1777, Susanna, da. of Richard Ellison of Thorne, Yorks. and Sudbrooke Holme, Lincs.1 5s. 1da.  suc. uncle 1779, fa. 1796; inherited estates of Peter Waldo of Mitcham and assumed name of Waldo before Sibthorp 1804.

Offices Held


In 1774 Sibthorp contested Lincoln and Newark, and in both constituencies came out bottom of the poll. But in 1777 he was returned at Boston, apparently on the corporation interest. The Public Ledger wrote about him in 1779: ‘Votes generally with the minister, and has the appearance of being an independent man.’ Only one speech by him is reported, 3 May 1780, on a bill to regulate the warehousing of corn:2

Mr. Sibthorp stated the inconvenience and mischiefs of the warehouse clause, and the operations of the measure, in a very clear and business-like way, which was very much attended to.

Robinson wrote in his survey for the general election of 1780: ‘Mr. Sibthorp is mostly with us, but I suppose him only hopeful’; next he added that from accounts received it seemed ‘doubtful whether Mr. Sibthorp would stand again for this place’, and that Lord Robert Bertie had been applied to ‘to converse on this business’. But Sibthorp did stand, and defeated Christopher Whichcote. He supported the North Administration to the very end, and Robinson wrote about him (and his colleague Peter Burrell) in a survey made for Shelburne on 7 Aug. 1782:3

Come in, on their own, their families’ and friends’ interest in this place. They both were supporters of the late Administration and friends to it. And it is thought with attention may be classed hopeful to the present.

Sibthorp was absent both from the division on Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, and from those on Fox’s East India bill. In Robinson’s list of March 1783 he was classed as a friend of North and doubtful.

An account of his political views at this time appears in a letter to his friend, John Strutt of 4 Jan. 1784.4 ‘I am,’ he wrote, ‘I freely own it, not so much any man’s friend as I am the King’s, nor do I wish in these times at least to purge off all Tory blood.’ Yet he disliked the King’s intervention against Fox’s East India bill, and wrote about Pitt’s Administration:

The present Administration appears to me to be of no stable materials. The last had deal of scum but was surely that of spirit and abilities, this seems to have its froth, and I cannot question the integrity of the principal characters. The one might have parted with a Burke and Sheridan; the other had better send the long Scot [Henry Dundas] to his own country and the secretary at war [Sir George Yonge] to Honiton.

He was pressed to stand again at Boston but declined because of his health.

He died 25 Apr. 1815.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. A. R. Maddison, Account of the Sibthorp Fam. 51-66.
  • 2. Almon, xvii. 629.
  • 3. Laprade, 48.
  • 4. Strutt mss, misdated.