PORCHER, Henry (1795-1857), of 57 Arlington Street, Mdx.

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



14 Aug. 1822 - 1826

Family and Education

bap. 9 Feb. 1795, at Fort St. George, Madras,1 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Josias Du Pre Porcher† (d. 1820), E.I. agent, of Hillingdon House, Mdx. and Winslade House, Devon and Charlotte, da. of Adm. Sir William Burnaby, 1st bt., of Broughton Hall, Oxon. educ. Winchester 1803; Corpus, Camb. 1811. m. 6 May 1822, Sarah, da. John Pearse*, s.p. d. 19 Nov. 1857.

Offices Held

Dir. Bank of England 1825-42.


Porcher was of Huguenot stock. His family had reached England by way of the Carolinas. The junior branch specialized in the Indian trade, and Henry and his brothers, Thomas, George and Charles, were born in Madras, where their father was employed in the East India Company’s civil service. Thomas served with the Company before joining the family’s East India agency, and with Charles (later of Clyffe, Dorset) and George (afterwards rector of Maiden Erleigh, Berkshire) intended for the law and the church, it was Henry who joined the family firm in London following Thomas’s death in 1812, becoming a partner on his father’s retirement in 1816. Edward Fletcher and James Alexander* joined them that year and they subsequently traded as Fletcher, Alexander and Company of Devonshire Square.2 His father, who ensured that Henry Porcher’s name was given to an East Indiaman, relinquished the representation of Old Sarum in 1818 and died in 1820 worth about £150,000, of which Porcher inherited £10,000.3 In May 1822 he married the daughter of a director and former governor of the Bank of England John Pearse*. Pearse’s negotiations with Lord Brownlow and Earl Howe that summer concerning the purchase of the latter’s Clitheroe tithes paved the way for Porcher’s return for the borough in August on the Brownlow interest.4

He is not known to have spoken in debate. He voted with the Liverpool ministry against parliamentary reform, 20 Feb., 1 June 1823. He divided against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 10 May 1825, and was correctly described in a radical publication that session as a Member who ‘attended occasionally, and voted with ministers’.5 He did so against repealing the assessed taxes, 10, 18 Mar., producing information on, 24 Mar., and inquiring into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and the currency, 12 June; but, like Alexander, he voted in the minority for investigating the duties on East and West Indian sugars with a view to their equalization, 22 May 1823. He divided against the usury laws repeal bill, 8 Apr., in defence of the indictment in Demerara of the Methodist missionary John Smith, 11 June 1824, and for the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 9 June 1825. He stood down at the 1826 dissolution.

The previous year he had become a director of the Bank, a position he held until 1843, when he also retired as one of the capital’s deputy lieutenants. Fletcher, Alexander and Company traded until at least 1861, but it remains unclear how long Porcher, who in 1843 took a 21-year lease on Park House, Heckfield (part of the duke of Wellington’s estate on the Berkshire-Hampshire border) remained a partner. He died near Heckfield in November 1857, following a fall from his horse. By his will, dated 17 May 1835 and proved 28 Jan. 1858, he left all his property to his wife.6

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Authors: Margaret Escott


  • 1. BL OIOC N2/2/227.
  • 2. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iii. 555-6; London Gazette, 13 Jan. 1816; Burke LG (1871), p. 1113.
  • 3. PROB 11/1630/305; IR26/835/157.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1822), ii. 272; Lancs. RO, Francis mss DDFr5/43.
  • 5. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 481.
  • 6. Museum of English Rural Life, Wellington Estate coll. 1371/2; BL OIOC, India Office Register IOR/L/L/2/1819; Morning Chron. 24 Nov. 1857; IR26/2143/42.