BENYON, Benjamin (?1765-1834), of Haughton Hall, Shifnal, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. ?1765, yr. s. of Samuel Benyon of Ash, nr. Shrewsbury, Salop by w. Lydia ?née Yate. m. c.1790, Elizabeth, 3da.
Capt. Salop vol. inf. 1803, W. Salop militia 1808.
Benyon was descended from the presbyterian divine, Dr Thomas Benyon of Shrewsbury, and, on his mother’s side, from an earlier dissenting stalwart, Philip Henry. An unsuccessful candidate for Shrewsbury in 1714 was his namesake. His father was admitted a burgess of Shrewsbury in 1746 and he and his elder brother Samuel Yate Benyon (a successful barrister) and another brother Thomas were so admitted in 1796.1 He was a ‘rich manufacturer’ (presumably at the yarn mill at Shrewsbury that bore his name) when he first offered himself at the Shrewsbury by-election of 1811 ‘upon the same mob interest which returned [Thomas Tyrwhitt] Jones’*. He then withdrew in favour of Henry Grey Bennet, whose nomination he had seconded in 1806 and 1807.2 At the general election in the following year he was defeated, Bennet describing him as one of the ‘Mountain’ [i.e. radical Whigs]; he himself used only the words friend, fellow townsman and tradesman in addressing the electors. After a further defeat in the by-election of 1814, he looked elsewhere and in 1818 stepped into a vacuum at Stafford where, at some expense, he headed the poll.
For the next eight years, Benyon was ‘the most radical Member sent up from Staffordshire’.3 No speech survives from his first Parliament, but his opposition to ministers was manifest in his voting conduct. He did not sign the requisition to Tierney to lead the Whigs. Except in April 1819, when he was presumably absent, he appeared steadily in the minority lists. He was a supporter of criminal law reform, 2 Mar. 1819, an opponent of state lotteries, May, of delays in Chancery, 20 May, and of the abuse of charitable foundations, 23 June. He voted for burgh reform, 6 May, was in the minority on the Barnstaple bribery bill, 17 May, and supported Burdett’s motion for parliamentary reform, 1 July. He remained in town, until 14 Dec. at least, to oppose measures against sedition.
Benyon was tenant and not owner of Haughton Hall. He died 6 Nov. 1834, ‘aged 69’.4