CRADOCK, Sheldon (1777-1852), of Hartforth, nr. Richmond, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



22 June 1822 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 27 Sept. 1777, 1st but o. surv. s. of Sheldon Cradock of Hartforth and Elizabeth, da. and h. of Christopher Wilkinson of Thorpe-on-Tees. educ. Manchester g.s. 1790; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1794. unm. 3s. 6da. illegit. suc. fa. 1814. d. 19 Feb. 1852.

Offices Held

Capt. N. Yorks. militia 1800, maj. 1804, lt.-col. 1816, col. 1820-46.


Cradock’s family had been established in county Durham in the seventeenth century: his great-grandfather William Cradock (d. 1736), who married Mary Sheldon of London, acquired the Hartforth estate, three miles from Richmond, in 1730, and his father’s marriage brought the family more Yorkshire property at Thorpe. He inherited these estates in 1814.1 In June 1822 he was returned on a vacancy for Camelford by his Durham neighbour Lord Darlington, after a contest. He avowed himself to be ‘a supporter of constitutional principles, an enemy to all encroachments on public liberty, an advocate for economy and just retrenchment ... and a friend to the agricultural interest’.2

He was a regular attender but an almost silent Member, who voted with the Whig opposition to Lord Liverpool’s ministry on all major issues, including parliamentary reform, 20 Feb., 24 Apr., 2 June 1823, 13 Apr. 1826. He divided for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 10 May 1825. He joined Brooks’s Club, 15 Feb. 1824. At the general election of 1826 he was returned for Camelford after a troublesome contest.3 He voted in the small minority for Hume’s amendment to the address, 21 Nov. 1826. He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He voted against details of the government’s corn law proposals, 9, 12 Mar., for inquiry into alleged electoral malpractice by Leicester corporation, 15 Mar., and for information on the Barrackpoor mutiny, 22 Mar. Next day he was granted three weeks’ leave while he was ‘being petitioned against’ at Camelford; he was confirmed in his seat, 4 May, and thereafter sat undisturbed until the borough’s abolition in 1832. He divided against Canning’s ministry for the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May 1827. He presented petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 15 Feb., and Catholic relief, 19 Feb., and voted for both, 26 Feb., 12 May 1828. He voted against the duke of Wellington’s ministry for more efficient control over crown proceedings for the recovery of penalties under the customs and excise laws, 1 May, and revision of civil list pensions, 10 June, and against the archbishop of Canterbury’s bill, 16 June 1828. He divided for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar., and to allow O’Connell to take his seat unhindered, 18 May 1829. He voted to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May, and for Lord Blandford’s parliamentary reform motion, 2 June 1829. In January 1830 Darlington, now marquess of Cleveland, announced his adhesion to the government, but allowed his Members freedom of action. Cradock was one of 28 Whigs who divided with ministers against Knatchbull’s amendment to the address on distress, 4 Feb. He voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., 5, 15 Mar., the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., and Russell’s reform resolutions, 28 May, but was against Blandford’s detailed scheme, 18 Feb. In presenting a Camelford petition for repeal of the ‘very oppressive’ coastwise coal duties, 16 Mar., he welcomed the government’s proposed tax reductions. He divided against them on the affair at Terceira, 28 Apr., but with them for the grant for South American missions and against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830.

That autumn the ministry regarded Cradock as one of their ‘friends’, and he voted with them in the crucial civil list division, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented, but dissented from a Bodlington anti-slavery petition, 10 Dec. 1830. He was granted a week’s leave on account of ill health, 16 Mar. 1831. Cleveland, who coveted a dukedom, had transferred his support to Lord Grey’s ministry, and Cradock accordingly voted for the second reading of their reform bill (which proposed to disfranchise Camelford), 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced bill, 6 July, and steadily for its details, except for his vote with the minority for the total disfranchisement of Aldborough, 14 Sept. He unsuccessfully appealed for Richmond to be allowed to retain both Members, 30 July. He divided for the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He voted to punish only those guilty of bribery at the Dublin election and against the motion censuring the Irish administration’s conduct, 23 Aug. However, he voted against government for Sadler’s proposal to introduce a legal provision for the Irish poor, 29 Aug. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and for most of its details, though he was one of the small minority who resisted the inclusion of the Chandos clause to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will, 1 Feb. 1832. He voted for the third reading, 22 Mar., Ebrington’s motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure, 10 May, and the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May, and paired against increased county representation for Scotland, 1 June. He divided with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16 July 1832.

Cradock did not seek election to the reformed Parliament. He died in February 1852. He left property at Marske, near Richmond to a ‘single woman’ Jane Wilson, formerly of Saltburn, with remainder to his six daughters with her, born between 1821 and 1836, and devised property at Stapleton, near Darlington to his younger illegitimate sons Richard and Henry. The main family estates passed to his eldest son Christopher Cradock (1825-96), who entered Trinity College, Cambridge as Christopher Wilson in 1842.4

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. R. Surtees, Durham, iv. 13; VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), i. 79, 140; PROB 11/1563/646.
  • 2. West Briton, 28 June 1822.
  • 3. Ibid. 9, 16 June 1826.
  • 4. PROB 11/2152/382; Plantagenet Harrison, Yorks. (1885), 110; Genealogist (n.s.), xxx. 121.