GREGSON, John (1793-1860), of 18 Bedford Row and 1 Cumberland Street, Portman Square, Mdx

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



1830 - 17 Feb. 1831

Family and Education

?b. 30 Nov. 1793, illegit. s. of John Gregson of Sunderland and Jane Carr of Durham.1 adm. attorney 25 Nov. 1816. ?unm. d. 9 Dec. 1860.

Offices Held


This Member has been erroneously identified elsewhere as John Gregson (1805-79) of Burdon and Murton, Durham, a barrister practising on the northern circuit, who succeeded his father and namesake to the family estates a few miles south of Sunderland in 1840.2 In fact, he was almost certainly the illegitimate son of one John Gregson (then of Sunderland), who was born in 1793 but only ‘received into the church’ at St. Nicholas, Durham, on 15 Mar. 1801. Unfortunately, it has not proved possible to identify Gregson’s father with absolute certainty: he may also have been the father of the John Gregson of Burdon mentioned above, a Durham attorney and sometime deputy registrar of Durham chancery court, whose marriage to Elizabeth Allgood, 15 Sept. 1800, could conceivably have had a bearing on the churching of the illegitimate John Gregson; but another likely candidate is John Gregson (1770-1835), of St. Oswald, Durham, the son of the Rev. John Gregson of nearby Brancepeth, who married Elizabeth Harrison of Bishopwearmouth at St. Nicholas, Durham, 1 Nov. 1795, and had three legitimate sons.3 This Member was articled to the Sunderland attorney Robert Davison in August 1810, transferred to William Grey of 2 Holborn Court, Gray’s Inn, London, ‘for the remainder of the term’, 9 Feb. 1815, and was admitted an attorney in king’s bench in November 1816. By the following year he was in partnership with William Whitton at Verulam Buildings, Gray’s Inn, and subsequently at Bedford Row. In the 1820s he became the attorney of William Russell* of Brancepeth and was involved in managing his client’s borough interests at Bletchingley and Saltash.4 At the general election of 1830 he was returned by Russell for Saltash, but this was merely ‘a temporary arrangement’ until the political situation became clearer.5

In acknowledgement of Russell’s opposition politics, the duke of Wellington’s ministry listed Gregson as one of their ‘foes’, but while he had intended to vote against them in the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, he was by some mischance shut out of the lobby.6 Before he was able to make any mark in the House, he was obliged to vacate his seat for Philip Crampton, the Irish solicitor-general in Lord Grey’s ministry.7 Gregson evidently took sole charge of the Bedford Row practice following Whitton’s death in 1832, and this remained the case until about 1856, when John D’Urban became his partner. In 1850 he was acting as attorney to the 3rd marquess of Londonderry.8 According to his death certificate, he died of ‘homiplegia’ in December 1860, ‘aged 67’. He left two-thirds of his real and personal estate to D’Urban and the remainder to D’Urban’s sister Elizabeth Jane, for whom he had already made some provision by a separate deed.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. IGI (Durham).
  • 2. W.P. Courtney, Parl. Rep. Cornw. 163; G.P. Judd, Members of Parliament, 1734-1832, p. 212. There is a detailed genealogy of this family in Burke LG.
  • 3. These speculations are based on information contained in the IGI and the library of the Society of Genealogists. The will of John Gregson (d. 1840), of Burdon, proved at Durham and summarized in the death duty register (IR26/1548/651), makes no mention of any illegitimate children. According to the index of wills (IR27/237), details of the estate of John Gregson of South Shields (as he was at the time of his death in 1835) were registered at IR26/1415/159, but no such entry was in fact made.
  • 4. Lincs. AO, Tennyson D’Eynecourt mss Td’E H1/105; H98/24.
  • 5. Ibid. 2 Td’E H89/8; Brougham mss, Durham to Brougham, 7 Sept. 1830.
  • 6. The Times, 18 Nov. 1830.
  • 7. NLS, Ellice mss, Ellice to Russell, 25 Dec., reply, 27 Dec. 1830.
  • 8. Surr. Hist. Cent. Goulburn mss, box 45, Hardinge to Goulburn, 11 Nov. 1850.