RUSSELL, Matthew (1765-1822), of Brancepeth Castle, co. Dur. and 4 Park Street, Westminster, Mdx.

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



1802 - 19 Feb. 1807
26 Feb. 1808 - 8 May 1822

Family and Education

b. 24 Feb. 1765, o.s. of William Russell of Brancepeth and 1st w. Mary, da. and coh. of Robert Harrison, merchant, of Sunderland. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1781; L. Inn 1782. m. 23 Feb. 1798, Elizabeth, da. of George Tennyson† of Bayons Manor, Lincs. 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1817. d. 8 May 1822.

Offices Held

Capt. Dur. militia 1792, maj. 1800; capt. Workington regt. Cumb. militia 1811.


Russell, who in 1817 inherited landed estates and colliery leaseholds in county Durham from his merchant father (whose personalty was finally sworn under £160,000), was reputedly ‘the richest commoner in England’, able to spend over £120,000 on rebuilding Brancepeth Castle.1 His inheritance also included control of both seats at Bletchingley and one at Saltash, for which he had sat with one brief interruption since 1802; he was again returned there unopposed in 1820. There is no record of any votes or speeches by him and he may have carried out his threat of 1819 to withdraw support from Lord Liverpool’s ministry, which he believed had neglected him. He was granted a month’s leave for urgent private business, 23 June 1820, and again on account of illness, 13 Feb., 1 May 1821. He was presumably the Mr. Russell who presented a petition from Elsborough, Buckinghamshire, for relief from agricultural distress, 18 Feb. 1822.2 He died three months later and his estates passed to his only son William, who was also returned for Saltash; his personalty was sworn under £120,000.3

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Authors: Terry Jenkins / Robin Healey


  • 1. PROB 11/1594/386; IR26/720/608; H.C. Surtees, Castle of Brancepeth, 38-39.
  • 2. The Times, 19 Feb. 1822.
  • 3. PROB 11/1658/335; IR26/921/601.