BLIGH, Edward, Lord Clifton (1795-1835), of Cobham Hall, nr. Gravesend, Kent.

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



1818 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 25 Feb. 1795, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John, 4th Earl of Darnley [I], by Elizabeth, da. of William Brownlow, MP [I], of Lurgan, co. Armagh. educ. Eton 1805-11; Christ Church, Oxf. 1812-16. m. 26 July 1825, Emma Jane, da. of Henry Brooke Parnell*, 3s. 2da. suc. fa. as 5th Earl of Darnley [I] 17 Mar. 1831.

Offices Held

Ld. lt. Meath 1831-d.

Lt. Chatham and Dartford regt. Kent militia 1813; capt. W. Kent yeoman cav. 1819, lt.-col. commdt. 1831.


Clifton’s grandfather had represented Maidstone in the Parliament of 1741, but since then the family had not succeeded in obtaining any of the Kent seats in which they were interested. In 1818, having obtained a first in classics at Oxford, he was recommended to the electors of Canterbury as one whose ‘independent principles and princely fortune placed him beyond the reach of corruption’. On the hustings he demurely stated that he had ‘not made up his mind to’ parliamentary reform, that he supported the establishment in church and state, though opposed to a large standing army; and promised attention to the city’s interests. In reality, he was the instrument of the Canterbury Blues’ revenge upon John Baker, their turncoat Member, whom he defeated.

Without commitment to them, Clifton voted at least 26 times with opposition in the Parliament of 1818 and paired with them on one or more occasions. He took leave of absence on 25 Feb. and 12 Mar. 1819. He spoke briefly in favour of the Game Law amendment bill, 14 May 1819, and of Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May. He voted for burgh reform and for Burdett’s reform motion of 1 July. He opposed repressive measures until 14 Dec., and again on 20 Dec. 1819. He was becoming an unconcealed Whig. He died 11 Feb. 1835.

The Late Elections (1818), 58-60.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne