VYNER, Robert I (1717-99), of Gautby, Lincs.

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



1754 - 1761
1774 - 1784
11 Jan. 1785 - 1796

Family and Education

b. 27 June 1717, o.s. of Robert Vyner by 1st w. Margaret, da. of Sir Thomas Style, 2nd Bt., of Wateringbury, Kent. educ. by private tutor; St. John’s, Camb. 1738; I. Temple 1741. m. 5 May 1760, Eleanor, da. of Thomas Carter of Redbourne, Lincs., wid. of Francis Anderson of Manby, Lincs. (and mother of Charles Anderson Pelham*, 1st Baron Yarborough), 1s. suc. fa. 1777.

Offices Held


Vyner, a well-to-do Lincolnshire landowner who sat for Thirsk as the guest of Sir Thomas Frankland*, had gone into opposition with Lord North in 1783. A member of Brooks’s Club, he met with the Portland Whigs on 11 May 1790 and resumed opposition to Pitt after the general election. On 21 Dec. 1790, he commended Pitt for the Spanish convention, but complained of the malt tax, which hit the poor. He expressed reservations about armament against Russia, 29 Mar., and voted against it, 12 Apr. 1791, 1 Mar. 1792. On 27 May 1791 he called John Scott and Edmund Burke to order during their clash over Warren Hastings. The month before, he had been listed ‘doubtful’ on the question of Test Act repeal in Scotland.

In December 1792 Vyner was listed a Portland Whig and in February 1793 invited to, but did not attend, Windham’s meetings to promote a ‘third party’. He resumed opposition on 17 June 1793, when he voted for Fox’s motion against the war with revolutionary France, and in the sessions of 1794 and 1795 voted steadily against the war and against the suspension of habeas corpus. His only known speeches, however, were in favour of a review of arrest under suspicion, 21 June 1793, and another call to order, 2 Feb. 1795. He opposed the seditious meetings bill, 25 Nov. 1795, presenting a petition from Thirsk to that effect on 7 Dec. On 15 Feb. 1796 he voted for a peace negotiation and on 10 Mar. for inquiry into the nation’s ability to stand the cost of war.

On 14 Aug. 1794 the Duke of Portland had informed Earl Fitzwilliam:

I received a letter yesterday from old Vyner expressing his disappointment at not being included in the creation of peers, preparing a retreat for himself from his opposition to the war, engaging pretty fully for his son’s support of us, hoping that he has not forfeited our good opinion, and soliciting to be recommended for a peerage on any future occasion. You see by this, as poor Lord North used to say, the effects of rewards.

Next day Portland replied to Vyner:

It was certainly the intention and wish of our common friend the late Ld. Guilford to have recommended it to the King to have created you a peer; and it was my desire and hope to have been able some time or other to have accomplished that intention. But I do not hesitate to submit it to your justice, as well as your candour whether in the present circumstances I ought or could have attempted it.

As both Vyner and his son remained inclined to opposition, Portland regretted that the peerage claim was one in which he could not reconcile private friendship with public duty in presenting.

Vyner did not seek re-election in 1796. He died 19 July 1799. Wraxall described him as ‘endowed with very good common sense, and of an unimpeachable character’.

Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F31/27; Portland mss PwV107; Wraxall Mems. ed. Wheatley, iii. 195.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Winifred Stokes