SIMPSON, Edward (c.1699-1764), of Acton, Mdx.

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



8 June 1759 - 20 May 1764

Family and Education

b. c.1699, s. of Francis Simpson of Fishlake, Yorks.  educ. Trinity Hall, Camb. 1718, fellow 1724-35, master 1735-d.; L. Inn 1719, called 1726; adv. Doctors’ Commons 1736.  m. 24 Sept. 1750, Elizabeth Foster of St. Olave, Old Jewry, s.p.  Kntd. Dec. 1761.

Offices Held

Chancellor, diocese of Bath and Wells 1738, of London 1747-59; King’s adv. June-Nov. 1756; judge of PCC and dean of the arches 1758- d.


In March 1755 Simpson applied to Newcastle to be made King’s advocate: he had always exerted himself ‘to promote his Majesty’s interest in the university and other places’, and was the senior practising advocate. But George Hay was appointed. When in May 1756 Hay was dismissed, Simpson again applied to Newcastle, and obtained the post, only to be replaced by Hay in November on the formation of the Pitt-Devonshire Government.1 He then asked Newcastle to bring him into Parliament, but at that time the Duke seems to have ‘objected to some particular connexions’ of Simpson’s.2 However, when recommending Simpson to the archbishop of Canterbury for dean of the arches, Newcastle wrote on 18 Dec. 1758: ‘I have known him intimately many years, and I believe there cannot be an honester man or better affected to the Government than he is.’ Newcastle was also negotiating a seat for him at Launceston; on 19 Dec. its patron Humphry Morice wrote to the Duke: ‘As you seem so anxious that Dr. Simpson should be chose, I will do all in my power that he may succeed, but I confess I much doubt if I shall be able to accomplish it.’ Eventually, as Newcastle ‘seemed unwilling’ that Simpson ‘should be engaged in an uncertain expense’, Morice did not nominate him.3 In 1759 he was returned unopposed for Dover on Lord Hardwicke’s interest, with the support of the Duke of Dorset, warden of the Cinque Ports.4

Simpson continued to adhere to Newcastle after the Duke’s resignation; voted against the peace preliminaries, 9 and 10 Dec. 1762; and against the Grenville Administration over Wilkes, 15 Nov. 1763. On 18 Feb. 1764, after the great debate on general warrants, he wrote to Newcastle:5

It gives Sir Edward much pleasure that he was able to stay at the House and bear his testimony in favour of liberty. It would have given him more joy had the majority been on his side ... Had he not been confined to his bed all Tuesday [14 Feb] he would most certainly have attended.

Newcastle, in his list of 10 May 1764, classed Simpson as a ‘sure friend’.  He died 20 May 1764.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Add. 32853, f. 17; 32865, f. 165.
  • 2. Kinnoull to Newcastle, 16 Oct. 1758, Add. 32884, ff. 397-8.
  • 3. Add. 32886, ff. 366, 397-9, 505.
  • 4. Add. 35692, ff. 382, 394, 442, 446.
  • 5. Add. 32856, f. 47.