CALLEY, Thomas (1780-1836), of Burderop, nr. Swindon, Wilts.

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



1812 - 1818
1831 - 1834

Family and Education

b. 31 Aug. 1780, 1st s. of Thomas Browne Calley of Burderop by Elizabeth, da. of John Rowlls of Kingston, Surr. educ. Hackney; St. John’s, Camb. 1798-1800. m. 20 July 1802, Elizabeth Anne, da. of Anthony James Keck of Stoughton Grange, Leics., 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1791.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Wilts. 1807-8.

Lt. Wilts. yeomanry 1801.


Thomas Calley was the first of his family, settled at Burderop for eight generations, to sit in Parliament. He aspired to Cricklade at a by-election in June 1811 and withdrew with a promise to stand at the next election. Meanwhile he ‘repeatedly canvassed the hundreds’ and inaugurated the Burderop races to increase his popularity.1 In 1812 he was returned unopposed, listed a Treasury supporter, though his local mainstay the Earl of Suffolk was a Whig. He is not known to have contributed to debate. He voted against Catholic relief on 2 Mar. and 11 May 1813 and again on 9 May 1817. He voted against ministers, with the majority, on the Duke of Cumberland’s establishment, 3 July 1815. On 28 Feb. and 11 Mar. 1816 he opposed the army estimates and on the latter day presented his constituents’ petition against them, the property tax and the malt tax.2 A week later he was in the majority against the property tax, and he opposed the Admiralty salaries and the navy estimates, 20, 27 Mar. On 29 Jan. 1817 he opposed the address and on 7 Feb. joined opposition on the composition of the finance committee, as also on the Admiralty questions of 17 and 25 Feb. He opposed the suspension of habeas corpus, 26 and 28 Feb. 1817 and, although he supported further suspension on 23 June, he evidently appeared in one of the minorities against before the bill passed. No further votes of his are known.

Since late in 1816 Calley had known that he faced a contest at the next election, the new candidate Robert Gordon*, an erstwhile steward at the Burderop races, being a Whig. He resolved to stand singly, expecting to benefit by the supposed unpopularity of his colleague Joseph Pitt.3 He could still rely on the Suffolk interest, but a canvass in March 1818 left him despondent.4 He persevered, only to be defeated at the cost of £4,872. In 1823 he received a bankruptcy discharge.5 He regained Cricklade eight years later.

Calley, best known in Wiltshire for his agricultural and sporting activities, died at Cannstadt, 17 Sept. 1836.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. VCH Wilts. iv. 381; Add. 51825, Herbert to Holland, 14 June [1811]; 51826, Peterborough to same, 11 Jan. [1812].
  • 2. Morning Chron. 14 Mar. 1816.
  • 3. Berks. RO, Pleydell Bouverie mss 028/104, 106.
  • 4. Add. 51566, Folkestone to Holland, 27 Mar.; Cricklade Hist. Soc. Mus. Elwell mss, Wells to ?, 29 Mar. 1818.
  • 5. Wilts. RO 374/23.