PAXTON, William Gill (1788-1850), of 11 Buckingham Street, Strand, Mdx.; Watford Place, Herts. and Henbury House, nr. Wimborne, Dorset

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



17 Feb. 1821 - 1826

Family and Education

b. 2 Apr. 1788,1 o. legit. s. of Archibald Paxton, wine merchant, of Buckingham Street and Watford Place and Harriet, da. of William Gill, alderman and ld. mayor of London, of Wraysbury House, Bucks. and Yeovany Hall, Mdx. educ. Harrow 1801; Merton, Oxf. 1805; L. Inn 1806. unm. suc. fa. 1817. d. 3 May 1850.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Dorset 1828-9.


Paxton was descended from a Berwickshire family with a tradition of service in the Presbyterian ministry. His grandfather John Paxton, a burgess of Edinburgh, was employed there for many years by Archibald Stewart†, a wealthy wine merchant and Member for the city, and later became a partner in the business which Stewart transferred to London in 1747. His father Archibald assumed sole control of the firm in the early 1780s and later formed a partnership with Stewart Marjoribanks*, a grandson of Archibald Stewart, who had married his illegitimate daughter Eleanor; he married the daughter of an ‘immensely rich’ partner in the London stationary business of Wright, Gill and Dalton of Abchurch Lane, purchased an estate at Watford and served as sheriff of Hertfordshire in 1799.2 One of Archibald’s brothers was Sir William Paxton†, who sat in the Commons as a Whig, 1803-7. William Gill Paxton and his father were briefly partners in the short-lived banking house of Paxton, Cockerell and Traill, which William opened in 1813. He was the residuary legatee of his father’s estate, which was sworn under £80,000,3 and continued the wine business, initially in partnership with Marjoribanks. In 1820 he added a Dorset estate to his holding of landed property.4 The following year he was returned on a vacancy for Plympton Erle on the Treby interest, presumably by purchase.

He was an occasional attender who gave general but silent support to Lord Liverpool’s ministry. He divided against Catholic claims, 28 Feb., repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., parliamentary reform, 9 May, and abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 23 May 1821. He voted against more extensive tax reductions, 11 Feb., abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., removal of Catholic peers’ disabilities, 30 Apr., and for the aliens bill, 19 July 1822. He divided for the Irish glebes grant, 11 Apr., and against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., and inquiries into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and delays in chancery, 5 June 1823. He voted for the Irish insurrection bill, 14 June 1824, and the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb., and against Catholic claims, 1 Mar., 21 Apr. 1825. He voted in the minority for the Leith docks bill, 20 May, but with government for the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 10 June 1825. He retired from Parliament at the dissolution in 1826. He served as sheriff of Dorset in 1828 but sold out of the county two years later.5 He remained at the head of the wine business until his death in May 1850 when, in accordance with the instructions in his will, it was sold to George Tanqueray and Company.6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Ex inf. A.J. Paxton, correcting Burke LG, which gives 1789. Other information kindly supplied by Mr. Paxton on the antecedents and immediate family of this Member has been incorporated in this biography.
  • 2. Add. 35510, f. 10; 47556, f. 73; PROB 11/1305/257; Gent. Mag. (1798), i. 264-5; Farington Diary, viii. 2893.
  • 3. PROB 8/210 (22 Nov. 1817); 11/1598/593. There was at least one illegitimate son, John William Paxton, who had a successful career with the East India Company in Bengal.
  • 4. J. Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 353.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. PROB 8/243 (3 June 1850); 11/2115/461.