SYKES, Sir Francis, 1st Bt. (1730-1804), of Basildon Park, Berks.
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Family and Education
bap. 22 May 1730,1 4th s. of Francis Sykes of Thornhill, Yorks. by Martha Fearnley. educ. J. Randall’s acad. Heath, Yorks. m. (1) 7 Feb. 1766, Catherine (d. 25 Dec. 1768), da. of John Ridley of Calcutta, 2s.; (2) 2 Sept. 1774, Hon. Elizabeth Monckton Arundell, da. of William Monckton Arundell, 2nd Visct. Galway [I]†, 1da. cr. Bt. 8 June 1781.
Writer, E.I.Co. (Bengal) 1751; asst. at Cossimbazar 1754, chief 1759-61; factor 1757; home Jan. 1761-4; member of council 1765-9; resident, Murshidabad and gov. Cossimbazar 1766; returned to England 1769.
High steward, Wallingford 1799-d.
The large fortune which Sykes had made, under very dubious circumstances, during his period in India enabled him to establish a dominant interest in the venal borough of Wallingford. He was marked ‘for’ in the government election forecast of 1790 and ‘pro’ in the one drawn up for 1796; he was also listed hostile to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791, and his only recorded vote during Pitt’s administration, against the seditious meetings bill, 25 Nov. 1795, was probably a rare departure from his normal practice of supporting government. Two days later he presented a petition from Wallingford praying for the prevention of the sale of corn by sample. He subscribed £10,000 to the loyalty loan of 1797 and as an East India Company stockholder was entitled to four votes for the directorate. His only other known vote was for inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s claims to duchy of Cornwall revenues, 31 Mar. 1802. He died 11 Jan. 1804.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. Thonrhill par. reg. (Yorks. Par. Reg. Soc. xxx).