FITZMAURICE, John Hamilton, Visct. Kirkwall (1778-1820), of Llewenny Hall, Denb.

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



1802 - 1806
1812 - 1818

Family and Education

b. 9 Oct. 1778, o.s. of Hon. Thomas Fitzmaurice of Llewenny Hall by Lady Mary O’Brien, da. of Murrough O’Brien*, 4th Earl of Inchiquin [I], who suc. her mother as s.j. Countess of Orkney [S] 10 May 1790. educ. Eton 1788-9; Corpus, Oxf. 1797. m. 18 Aug. 1802, Hon. Anna Maria De Blaquiere,1 da. of John De Blaquiere*, 1st Baron de Blaquiere [I], 2s. suc. fa. 1793.

Offices Held

Common councilman, Denbigh 1802, alderman 1804.

Lt. Bucks. yeomanry 1797, capt. S. Bucks. 1803; capt. Llewenny Foresters 1799, 1803, lt.-col. commdt. 1803; lt.-col. commdt. centre regt. Denb. militia 1808; trustee, Norwich Union from 1817.


On 2 Sept. 1798 Charles Williams Wynn informed his mother, ‘Lord Kirkwall made the offer of a volunteer corps to me at the Ruthin assizes with all the pert civility and low bows of a ci-devant French barber’.2 Kirkwall entered Parliament for Heytesbury as a paying guest of Sir William Pierce Ashe A’Court*. No sooner had the arrangement been made than Lord Radnor offered A’Court £500 to transfer Kirkwall to his own borough of Downton, throwing in another £500 if he vacated his seat during the Parliament, but nothing came of this.3 On 3 Mar. 1803 he obtained six weeks’ leave of absence for health reasons.4 On 11, 16, 23 and 25 Apr. 1804 he joined the opposition to Addington’s defence measures and went on to support Pitt’s second ministry. He voted against the Grenville ministry on their repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806, and criticized the training bill, as a commandant of volunteers, 3 July.

At the dissolution of 1806, he was left without a seat. It was thought that he might contest county Sligo, where he had an interest, but he did not pursue it.5 Early in 1811 he emerged as a candidate for Denbigh Boroughs on the interest of the Hon. Frederick West*. His victory in 1812 was hard won. He was by then a frequenter of Carlton House, known to be a staunch supporter of government and anti-Catholic.6 He duly voted against Catholic relief on 11 and 24 May 1813, 21 May 1816 and 9 May 1817. He could be relied on to vote with ministers on all critical occasions. His only known speech in that Parliament was in tribute to Wellington, 24 Mar. 1814. He voted for Charles Williams Wynn as Speaker, 2 June 1817.

Kirkwall retired, rather than face another contest, in 1818 and died 23 Nov. 1820, outlived by his mother whom he would have succeeded as Earl of Orkney.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. They parted in 1809, according to The Times , 26 Apr. 1817.
  • 2. Corresp. of Lady Williams Wynn, 36.
  • 3. Wilts. RO, Radnor mss 490/1373.
  • 4. CJ, lviii. 224.
  • 5. See COUNTY SLIGO.
  • 6. NLW mss 12418, ff. 50, 51.