GRAVES, William (?1724-1801), of Thanckes, Cornw.

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



1768 - 1774
5 June 1775 - Nov. 1783
1784 - May 1786
1796 - Apr. 1798

Family and Education

b. ?1724, 1st s. of R.-Adm. Thomas Graves of Thanckes by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Rev. Gilbert Budgell, DD, of St. Thomas’s, nr. Exeter, Devon. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 20 Nov. 1741, aged 17; M. Temple 1739, called 1746. unm. suc. fa. 1755.

Offices Held

Master in Chancery 1761; bencher, M. Temple 1782, reader 1790, treasurer 1794.

Mayor, East Looe 1776, 1786, recorder 1797-d.


Graves, for many years a member of the corporation at Looe, was returned there for the fourth time on the Buller interest in 1796. His patron William Buller, bishop of Exeter, seems to have regarded him as a stopgap, for he vacated his seat two years later in favour of a member of the Buller family. There is no evidence of parliamentary activity during his last tenure of the seat, though he would have been expected by his patron to support administration. He died 30 May 1801, ‘aged 77 ... one of the oldest benchers of the Middle Temple’.1

His residuary legatee was his brother Lord Graves, in whose naval career he had always shown a great interest and whose reputation he had jealously guarded; he also left an annuity to Sarah Leedham, ‘who has lived with me a great many years’.2 He had a reputation for rapacity: Charles Rashleigh of St. Austell wrote, after having dealings with him, that he did not care for ‘Master Graves’ pen, he writes so much, and all for himself only’, while Charles Morice Pole* described him as ‘jesuitical’.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Pole Carew mss CC/K/29, Buller to Lemon, 12 Apr. 1798 (enc. Graves’s resignation); Gent. Mag. (1801), i. 575.
  • 2. PCC 387 Abercrombie.
  • 3. Pole Carew mss CC/K/20, Rashleigh to Pole Carew, 10 Dec. 1790; CC/K/26, Pole to same, 15 Sept. 1796.