ORDE (afterwards ORDE POWLETT), Thomas (1746-1807), of Hackwood Park, nr. Basingstoke, Hants.

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



1780 - 1784
1784 - 1796

Family and Education

b. 30 Aug. 1746, 2nd s. of John Orde of East Orde and Morpeth, Northumb, and bro. of Sir John Orde, 1st Bt.*, educ. Eton 1755-65; King’s, Camb. 1765, fellow 1768-78, BA 1770, MA 1773; L. Inn 1769, called 1775; Grand Tour 1772, 1774. m. 7 Apr. 1778, Jean Mary Browne Powlett, illegit. da. of Charles Powlett, 5th Duke of Bolton, by Mary Browne Banks, 2s. suc. iure uxoris to estates of Harry, 6th Duke of Bolton 1794 and took additional name of Powlett 7 Jan. 1795; cr. Baron Bolton 20 Oct. 1797.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1784-90.

Auditor, duchy of Lancaster July 1772-Nov. 1774, registrar Dec. 1773-d., receiver-gen. Nov. 1774-d.; under-sec. of state for Home affairs Apr.-July 1782; sec. to Treasury July 1782-Apr. 1783; sec. to ld. lt [I] Feb. 1784-Dec. 1787; PC [I] 24 Feb. 1784, [GB] 23 Nov. 1785; member of Board of Trade Aug. 1786-d.

Gov. and vice-adm. I.o.W. 1791-d.; ld. lt. Hants 1800-d.


Orde reached the zenith of his public career as Irish secretary and having been pensioned off, broken in health, in 1787, was never again politically active. He continued to sit for Harwich on the government interest, at the instigation of its patron John Robinson I*, another superannuated politician. He unobtrusively supported administration when present. In 1791 he was considered hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. He expressed his views in debate on only three occasions: he had doubts about the continued impeachment of Warren Hastings, 23 Dec. 1790; opposed Jekyll’s motion alleging corruption in the government of Ireland, 19 May 1795, and clashed, not very happily for him, with Fox, in support of the sedition bills, 2 Dec. 1795. He had been spokesman for them at the Hampshire county meeting.1

Orde’s last Parliament served merely to secure his remaining ambitions: the government of the Isle of Wight, in succession to his father-in-law, which brought him £1,200 p.a. and which Pitt had promised him on the first vacancy back in 1784; and a British peerage, to which his wife’s inheritance of the Duke of Bolton’s estates reinforced his own claims. He was disappointed that Pitt was unable to satisfy this ambition in May 1796 when he retired from Parliament, but agreed to make a sacrifice for the minister’s accommodation, on a promise of satisfaction at the next creation, which duly took place in October 1797. Applying to Pitt to succeed Lord Wiltshire in the lieutenancy of Hampshire, 7 Apr. 1799, he claimed: ‘you know my principles and my uniform adherence to them, and you cannot, I trust, be insensible of my steady feelings for your success and that of your administration’.2 He obtained the lieutenancy. He died 30 July 1807.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Oracle, 30 Nov. 1795.
  • 2. PRO 30/8/114, ff. 125, 134, 136, 146; 195, f. 131; Morning Chron. 6 May 1797.