WOLLASTON, William (1731-97), of Finborough Hall, Suff.

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



1768 - 1784

Family and Education

b. Feb. 1731, 1st surv. s. of William Wollaston, M.P., by Elizabeth, da. of John Francis Faquier, director of Bank of England. His sis. m. 1753, W. R. Chetwynd.  educ. Bury St. Edmunds g.s. 1743; Clare, Camb. 1747.  m. Blanche, da. of Robert Hyde Page, s.p.  suc. fa. 20 June 1757.

Offices Held


Wollaston’s grandfather was a well-known scholar, and his father was M.P. for Ipswich, 1733-1741.1 Wollaston was returned in 1768 jointly with Thomas Staunton on the ‘Yellow’ interest after a hotly-contested election. In the House he supported the Government over Wilkes and the Middlesex election, and over the royal marriage bill; voted with the Opposition for making Grenville’s Election Act permanent; but even then was marked as a ‘friend’ in the King’s list; and at the end of that Parliament, was classed by Robinson as a Government supporter. In 1774 he stood again jointly with Staunton, and in a contested election topped the poll. On 31 Mar. 1775 an intervention in debate by Wollaston is mentioned, his only one during sixteen years in the House: he supported a bill ‘for erecting a house of industry, and for the better employment of the poor’ in Norfolk.2 Over the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, he was listed by Robinson as ‘pro, absent’; and he voted in only two out of the six divisions, March 1779-April 1780. In 1780 Wollaston stood one more contest jointly with Staunton, and the two were returned; but in that Parliament not a single vote by Wollaston is recorded; in Robinson’s list of March 1783 he was marked as ‘abroad’, and in Robinson’s list of January 1784 and Stockdale’s of 19 Mar. 1784, as ‘absent’.

He was still abroad when Parliament was dissolved on 25 Mar.; ‘his brother, the Rev. Dr. Wollaston, proposed him as candidate’ on the Yellow interest; but when differences arose between him and his brother’s supporters about the money to be spent on the election, and he found on a canvass that his brother’s interest had declined considerably, he ‘determined, after consulting one or two private friends, to withdraw his name’:3 which was done two days before the election.

Wollaston did not stand again, and died on 9 or 10 Nov. 1797.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Nichols, Leics. iv. (2), pp. 527-42; Lit. Illus. i. 169-210, 830-5.
  • 2. Almon, i. 406-7.
  • 3. Luders, Controverted Elections, i. 24.