MONCKTON, Hon. Edward (1744-1832), of Fineshade Abbey, Northants. and Somerford Hall, Staffs.

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



1780 - 1812

Family and Education

b. 3 Nov. 1744, 5th surv. s. of John Monckton, 1st Visct. Galway [I], by 2nd w. Jane, da. of Henry Westenra of Rathleagh, King’s Co. educ. Chelsea acad. m. 14 Mar. 1776, Sophia, illegit. da. of George Pigot, 1st Baron Pigot [I], 8s. 4da.

Offices Held

Writer, E.I. Co. (Madras) 1762, factor 1768; sheriff, Madras 1770-1, jun. merchant 1771; assay master at mint 1773; sen. merchant 1774, ret. 1780.

Lt.-col. Staffs. yeoman cav. 1794, col. 1800-29.


‘Little Monckton’, as Sheridan his colleague for many years in the representation of Stafford called him, was ‘perfectly safe’ in his seat: thanks to his ‘large fortune’, he had nothing to fear from contests in 1790, 1806, and 1807.1 In 32 years he made no known speech in debate and little impression in Parliament. He had voted against Pitt since 1784 and joined the Whig Club, 4 Apr. 1785. He met with the Portland Whigs on 11 May 1790 and it was the duke who sponsored his membership of Brooks’s Club, 7 Feb. 1791. He was absent or paired with opposition, 12 Apr. 1791, and was listed the same month as a supporter of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. After voting with them on the Russian armament, 1 Mar. 1792, he joined the Portland Whigs, it seems (though not in their list of December 1792), in supporting government during the war against France.

Subsequently he seldom voted with the minority: on 31 Mar. 1802 he supported Manners Sutton’s and on 4 Mar. 1803 Calcraft’s motion on the Prince of Wales’s finances. Portland assured Pitt that Monckton would attend his defence bill, ‘if he was able’, 17 June 1804.2 He was listed a supporter of Pitt’s second administration in September 1804 and July 1805; but went on to support the Grenville ministry in their repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806. In November 1806 he promised Speaker Abbot to muster independent friends on his behalf if challenged for the chair by the premier’s nephew.3 He took six weeks’ leave, 11 Mar. 1807, and illness kept him away in 1808. In 1810, although he proceeded to vote with government on the Scheldt expedition, 30 Mar., the Whigs professed to be ‘hopeful’ of his support if they came to power, but he voted against the release of the radical Gale Jones, 16 Apr., and against parliamentary reform, 21 May. On 22 Dec. 1810 Tierney, writing to Grey, described Monckton as a new recruit after he had divided with opposition on the Regency question; he further voted with them on that issue on 1 and 21 Jan. 1811. They had sent him a circular on 19 Jan. and Lady Holland described him as part of the ‘accession of rats’.4 In order to please his constituents, so many of whom were shoemakers, Monckton voted against the additional leather tax, 1 July 1812, but he had been a supporter of government against Stuart Wortley’s motion on 21 May. He had announced his retirement from Parliament in February 1812 and did not offer himself again.

Described by Canning in 1795 as ‘a very good sort of little man’, Monckton died, the patriarch of Staffordshire magistrates, 1 July 1832. In a codicil to his will he ordered his Carnatic stock to be invested for the instruction of the natives of Madras in the Christian religion.5

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Sheridan Letters ed. Price, ii. 106; iii. 4, 5.
  • 2. PRO 30/8/168, f. 160.
  • 3. PRO 30/9/15, Monckton to Abbot, 9 Nov. 1806.
  • 4. Grey mss; Jnl. of Lady Holland, ii. 280.
  • 5. Harewood mss, Canning jnl. 4 Mar. 1795; Gent. Mag. (1832), ii. 80; PCC 524 Tenterden.