GLANVILLE, Francis (1762-1846), of Catchfrench, St. Germans, Cornw. and Clevancy, nr. Calne, Wilts.

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



11 Feb. 1794 - 1796
7 July 1797 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 31 July 1762, 2nd illegit. s. of Sir John Glanville of Catchfrench and Clevancy by Mary, da. of John McNeil of W.I., afterwards (24 Nov. 1767) his 2nd w. educ. Liskeard g.s.; Marlborough g.s.; Charterhouse 1776; Pembroke, Camb. 1780. m. (1) 22 Oct. 1790,1 Loveday Sarah (d. 12 Apr. 1792), da. and coh. of William Masterman of Restormel Park, Cornw., 1da.; (2) 18 Jan. 1796, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Fanshawe of Stone Hall, nr. Plymouth, Devon, commr. of Plymouth dockyard, 5s. 3da. suc. bro. John Glanville 1777.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Cornw. 1793-4.

Lt. R. Cornw. militia 1792, capt. 1795, maj. (2 regt.) 1798, lt.-col. 1798; maj. E. Cornw. vols. 1803, lt.-col. 1804, (militia) 1809.


The Glanvilles were an old Devon family with a strong penchant for the law as a career. Their most distinguished scion was Sir John Glanville (1586-1661), sometime Member for Plymouth and Speaker of the Commons in 1640. Catchfrench was purchased, along with the lease of the valuable tithes of St. Germans, by his grandson John Glanville, a barrister, who also inherited Clevancy from the female line. He died unmarried in 1731, having bequeathed all his property to his nephew John Glanville, father of this Member, who was described in his benefactor’s will as a ‘citizen and apothecary’ of London. This John Glanville, whose son by his first marriage died, aged 21, in 1750, was knighted in 1755. By Mary McNeil, whose father was said to have entrusted her to the care of Glanville while she was educated in England, Sir John had two illegitimate sons, John and Francis, and a daughter Mary. He married Miss McNeil in 1767 but died two years later, leaving her, white-haired and widowed ‘under the age of thirty’, to bring up the children. John, her favourite, died of consumption at Lisbon in 1777, when the family estates passed by remainder to Francis, who was still at school.2

Like his childhood friends the Eliot brothers, Glanville went to Pembroke College, Cambridge and there, according to his daughter, became ‘one of a circle of young men who were attracted round their fellow collegian William Pitt by admiration of his early talents’. Said to have been ‘present at the taking of the Bastille’, he ‘rejoiced at what he considered the downfall of despotism’, but quickly repented his error. In 1790 he married an heiress who brought £62,000 and whose sister was the wife of his closest friend Francis Gregor, the new Member for Cornwall.3

Glanville came in on a vacancy for Malmesbury as a paying guest on the Wilkins interest early in 1794. Like Gregor, he voted in the minority on the question of the Prince of Wales’s debts, 1 June 1795, but he seems otherwise to have supported government and was marked ‘pro’ in the ministerial election forecast for 1796. In December 1795 it was reported that he had applied for the Chiltern Hundreds, being obliged to leave town even though a call of the House was pending, but that ‘the call being now disposed of, it is indifferent to him when he vacates his seat’.4 He retained it until the dissolution of 1796 and is not known to have sought re-election, though he was included on a ministerial list of ‘persons wanting seats’.

By his second marriage Glanville became the beneficiary of his father-in-law’s electoral influence at Plymouth, where he was returned unopposed with ministerial blessing on a vacancy in 1797. He presumably continued to give silent support to administration until his retirement from the House in 1802. His Plymouth friends tried unsuccessfully to secure him a seat for Liskeard in 1807 by offering the patron, Lord Eliot, reciprocal support for his brother at Plymouth. In 1812, when he seconded the nomination of Sir William Lemon as county member for Cornwall, he was at pains to dissent from Lemon’s support of reform.5

A reserved and learned man, known to his friends as ‘the walking dictionary’,6 he died 3 June 1846.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


Based in part on the ‘Mems.’ of his da. Loveday Sarah Gregor (T/S in Cornw. RO).

  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1790), ii. 956.
  • 2. W.U.S. Glanville Richards, Recs. House of Glanville, 138-42, 159-65, 188-9; PCC 126 Bogg, 111 Warburton; ‘Gregor Mems.’, 23-25.
  • 3. ‘Gregor Mems.’ 56-57, 63, 199.
  • 4. SRO GD51/1/35.
  • 5. Pole Carew mss CC/L/40, Pole to Pole Carew, 9 May 1807; West Briton, 20 Nov. 1812.
  • 6. ‘Gregor Mems.’, 58.