WYLDBORE, Matthew (?1716-81), of Peterborough, Northants.

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

Family and Education

b. ?1716, o. surv. s. of John Wyldbore of Peterborough by Elizabeth, da. of Noah Neale of Stamford, Lines.  educ. Hackney; Trinity, Camb. 26 June 1733, aged 17; I. Temple 1735. unm.  suc. fa. 1755.

Offices Held


Wyldbore and his father seem to have been connected with the Fitzwilliam family for many years, and to have been concerned in organizing their electoral interest at Peterborough. However, when in June 1767 Wyldbore declared himself a candidate for the city he did so without consulting the Fitzwilliams, though he made it clear that he was not standing in opposition to their Member, Matthew Lamb, but against Armstead Parker. ‘I privately wished him success’, wrote Lady Fitzwilliam on 8 Oct. 1767 to her son then on the grand tour,1 but she could not support him, having already declared her neutrality with regard to the second seat. Wyldbore began the campaign on a lavish scale, apparently determined to carry the election regardless of cost, and it seemed likely to prove ‘one of the most expensive in the kingdom’.2 But Parker’s ‘heart failed him’, Lamb wrote to Fitzwilliam, 29 Oct. 1767, ‘and he made a proposal to Mr. Wyldbore, if he would pay him £1,000 towards his expenses and £1,000 more for the benefit of the town, he would decline standing, to which Wyldbore has agreed’. ‘It will cost Mr. Wyldbore above £4,000’, Lady Fitzwilliam told her son, 27 Oct. 1767.3 The compromise did not prevent a contest, and shortly before the election a third candidate appeared, but was overwhelmingly defeated by Wyldbore and Lamb.

In Parliament Wyldbore regularly supported Administration, and when he voted with the Opposition on Grenville’s Election Act, 25 Feb. 1774, was marked as a friend in the King’s list. In 1774 he again successfully contested Peterborough. He continued to support Administration throughout this Parliament, and when in 1775 Fitzwilliam criticized him for supporting North’s American measures, he replied, 27 Nov.:

The part I have taken upon every question of importance has been the result of my own unbiassed judgment. I came into Parliament determined to act the part which seemed to me to be upon the whole the best for the services of my King and country, and as long as I have a seat will adhere to that principle.4

Wyldbore is only once reported to have spoken in the House: in support of the bill for augmenting the militia, 23 June 1779.5 Robinson, in his electoral survey of July 1780, noted against Peterborough: ‘Mr. Wyldbore can’t come in here again’; and Wyldbore did not stand at the general election.

He died 15 Mar. 1781.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Northants. RO, Fitzwilliam mss.
  • 2. Lamb to Fitzwilliam, 29 Oct. 1767, ibid.
  • 3. Fitzwilliam mss.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Fortescue, iv. 372.