THOMPSON, Beilby (1742-99), of Escrick, Yorks.

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



1768 - 1780
1780 - 1784
1790 - 1796

Family and Education

b. 17 Apr. 1742, 1st s. of Beilby Thompson of Escrick by his 2nd w. Sarah, da. of Richard Roundell of Hutton Wandsley, wid. of Sir Darcy Dawes, 4th Bt.  educ. Craik sch. nr. Easingwold; Christ’s, Camb. 1759-64. unm.  suc. fa. 1750.

Offices Held


At the time Thompson entered Parliament he was said by Lord Rockingham to be worth about £8,000 a year.1 At the general election of 1768 Rockingham wished to adopt Thompson as his candidate for York, but Thompson’s mother objected on the ground of expense. Rockingham arranged for him to stand jointly with Sir Charles Saunders for Hedon.2 Thompson voted regularly with the Rockingham group against the Government whenever he attended, ‘which’, wrote the Public Ledger about 1780, ‘he is not fond of doing for above a fortnight every year’. He cultivated an interest at Hedon, where he became mayor in 1777, and in 1780 tried to secure the election of his brother Richard, he himself being returned for Thirsk by Sir Thomas Frankland.

For a short time after Rockingham’s death Thompson wavered in his politics, showed friendliness towards Shelburne’s Administration, solicited a peerage,3 and on 18 Feb. 1783 voted for the peace preliminaries. But Robinson in March classed him among the country gentlemen attached to Fox, and a few months later he was eagerly grasping for some distinction from the Coalition. Fitzwilliam wrote to Portland, 31 Oct. 1783: ‘I ... find our friend Thompson very desirous of receiving a mark of honour through your Grace’s recommendation: he will be much pleased with the order of the Bath’; and next day: ‘really our friend is more eager about the thing I wrote about than can be imagined: his mind will never be at rest till his person is decorated some way or other: he pants for distinction.’4 Fox and North were severely snubbed by the King for attempting to secure the honour for Thompson, and his ambition was frustrated by the dismissal of the Coalition.5 In December 1783 Thompson helped to secure the election at Hedon of Portland’s East India House client, Stephen Lushington. In 1784 as Frankland, friendly to Pitt, declined to re-elect Thompson for Thirsk, he contested Hedon himself but was defeated. ‘My spirits are broke’, he complained to Fitzwilliam on 28 Mar.,6 ‘the most ungrateful usage and worst treatment ever poor mortal experienced. I have given up all attempts of standing the poll ... am determined to retire from the world—and never more interfere with any contested election.’ Later he revived his interest, was again mayor in 1787, and was successful at the general election of 1790.

He died 10 June 1799.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: I. R. Christie


  • 1. Add. 32989, ff. 187-9.
  • 2. P. Wentworth to Rockingham, 26 Nov. 1767, Stephen Croft to Rockingham, 26 Nov. 1767, Rockingham to Wentworth, 3 Mar. 1768, Rockingham mss.
  • 3. Thos. Townshend to Shelburne, 25 Dec. 1782, Lansdowne mss.
  • 4. Fitzwilliam mss, Northants RO.
  • 5. Wraxall, Mems. iii. 147-50; Fortescue, vi. 470-1.
  • 6. Fitzwilliam mss.