BARWELL, Richard (1741-1804), of Stansted Park, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



12 Mar. 1781 - 1784
1784 - 1790
1790 - Dec. 1796

Family and Education

b. 8 Oct. 1741 at Calcutta, s. of William Barwell, later gov. Fort William and dir. E.I. Co., by w. Elizabeth Pierce of Calcutta. educ. Westminster 1750; Christ’s Hosp. until 1757. m. (1) 13 Sept. 1776 at Calcutta, Elizabeth Jane (d. Nov. 1778), da. of Robert Sanderson, 2s. d.v.p.; (2) 24 June 1785, Catherine, da. of Nathaniel Coffin of Bristol, Glos. formerly cashier of customs, Boston, Mass., at least 10 legit. ch. surv.1

Offices Held

Writer, E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1757; sub-accomptant 1763; resident, Malda 1766, Rampur Boalia 1769; member of supreme council 1769-75; chief at Dacca 1772; res. 1780.


When Barwell returned to England from India in 1780 his active career was already behind him. The large fortune he brought with him and his connexions with Warren Hastings at first demanded that he play a cautious role in politics, to prevent undue attention being attracted to the dubious sources of his wealth. But before the general election of 1790 he was confident enough to purchase control of at least one seat at Winchelsea from John Nesbitt and of two at Tregony from Sir Francis Basset*. Although he lost control of Tregony in 1796 to Sir Christopher Hawkins, he had by then obtained undisputed control of both seats at Winchelsea and in 1802 he succeeded in returning two Members for each borough.2 The reasons which lay behind the creation of this electoral interest are obscure. Barwell’s political ambitions were minimal—he vacated his own seat in 1796—and his requests for patronage were modest.3 He continued to support Pitt, but is not known to have spoken in the House after 1790. He was listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791. A defaulter ordered to attend, 24 Nov. 1795,4 he voted against the abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796. He was an East India Company stockholder, and subscribed £100,000 to the 1797 loyalty loan. He died 2 Sept. 1804.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. M. Collinge


  • 1. Ms ped. in possession of Barwell fam.
  • 3. PRO 30/8/111, ff. 394-8.
  • 4. CJ, li. 104.