THYNNE, Lord Henry Frederick (1797-1837), of 6 Grovesnor Square, Mdx.

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



4 Feb. 1824 - 1826
12 June 1828 - 1832

Family and Education

b. 24 May 1797, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Thynne†, 2nd mq. of Bath, and Hon. Isabella Elizabeth Byng, da. and coh. of George, 4th Visct. Torrington; bro. of Lord Edward Thynne*, Thomas Thynne II, Visct. Weymouth†, and Lord William Thynne*. educ. Eton bef. 1811. m. 19 Apr. 1830, Harriet, da. of Alexander Baring*, 2s. 1da. styled Visct. Weymouth Jan.-Mar. 1837; suc. fa. as 3rd mq. of Bath 27 Mar. 1837. d. 24 June 1837.

Offices Held

Entered RN 1810, lt. 1817, cdr. 1821, capt. 1822, transf. to signals 1828.


Thynne, the eventual heir of the 2nd marquess of Bath, was intended for the navy, and at the age of 13 he left Eton, which he attended with his brother John (1798-1881), the future dean and canon of Westminster, to go to sea as a supernumerary gentleman volunteer in the Royal William.1 Over the next six years he served as a volunteer and certificated midshipman in the Fortune, Tigre, Royal George, Blake, Malta, Impregnable, Royal Sovereign and Tennant. After passing as a lieutenant, 7 Aug. 1816, he joined the Ganymede, and was considered for the Active, Cambrian and Glasgow before being posted to the Mediterranean and the East Indies in the Tagus and the Alacrity, whose captain, Henry Stanhope, recommended him for promotion.2 He was made commander of the sloop Frolick, 9 June 1821, and soon afterwards volunteered for the Suspect, on the South American station, but he was passed over and sent back in the Superb in May 1822 to solicit further employment. Appointed to captain the Termagant, 30 July, he embarked in the Alligator, 22 Sept. 1822, to join her at Cochin in the East Indies.3 Hearing in Bombay that his ship had sailed for England, he took a passage home in the Dauntless, and was placed on half-pay on his arrival, 7 Sept. 1823. His service record, particularly his recent embarrassments, was singled out in the Commons by Joseph Hume when his father was made a knight of the garter in July 1823, as an example of ‘needless promotion’ by ‘interest and family connections’; and Bath’s placeman Member for Weobley Sir George Cockburn was called upon to justify Thynne’s naval promotion ‘over the heads of 3,588 lieutenants ... and 755 commanders’ despite his apparent failings and inexperience.4 He remained unplaced when he was brought in for the Weobley seat vacated by his cousin Lord Frederick Cavendish Bentinck in February 1824.5

Thynne was added to the select committee on foreign trade shortly after taking his seat, 22 Mar. 1824. No speeches by him were reported and he generally toed the political line set by his father and his uncle Lord John Thynne, with whom he was described in a radical publication of 1825 as a Member who ‘attended occasionally and voted with ministers’.6 He voted against condemning the indictment in Demerara of the Methodist missionary John Smith, 11 June 1824. He divided for the bill outlawing the Catholic Association, 25 Feb., but left the House before the division on Catholic relief, 1 Mar. 1825, declaring that ‘he would not vote with government and would have voted with ... [the Whigs] but for his father’.7 On 11 Mar. the admiralty authorized his appointment to captain the Ranger, a 28-gun frigate bound for South America, where she was deployed conveying diplomats and consular officials, on coastal patrols and in survey work. He joined her at Portsmouth, 2 Apr., and was on embarkation leave when he confirmed his differences with his family on the Catholic question by pairing for the relief bill, 10 May. He sailed, 10 July 1825, and was replaced at Weobley at the 1826 general election by his soldier brother William.8

Thynne and the Ranger, which had been deliberately ordered back from South America by the Wellington ministry in March, were off Spithead when Cockburn came in for Plymouth on the admiralty interest, 7 June 1828.9 He docked at Portsmouth on the 11th after a 60-day journey from Rio de Janeiro with a cargo of 1,200,000 dollars, 21 chests of gold and £16,000 worth of diamonds from Dom Pedro, and was returned for Weobley the next day.10 His personal log of the voyage contains no entries for 11 and 12 June.11 He applied to the admiralty for leave and half-pay, 26, 30 June, and was probably the Lord G. Thynne listed in the government majority against ordnance reductions, 4 July 1828, the day he took his seat. He transferred to the signal corps, 6 July, and did not serve at sea again.12 In October 1828 he attended the Bath corporation dinner with his family.13 Thynne was a declared opponent of the Wiltshire anti-Catholic petition and voted for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829.14 Estimating support in the Commons for a putative coalition in October, the Ultra leader Sir Richard Vyvyan* listed him with Members whose ‘sentiments are unknown’. He is unlikely to have been the ‘Lord Thynne’ who divided against Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr. 1830.15 His marriage that month to Harriet Baring, daughter of the financier and Member for Callington, pleased both families and brought him settlements worth £750 a year. According to Lady Holland, wags familiar with Thynne’s drinking habits and her vanity dubbed their union ‘bottle and glass’.16 He was returned for Weobley with William at the general election in August, and they attended the Bath corporation dinner in October 1830.17

Ministers counted the Thynnes among their ‘friends’ in the new Parliament, but Bath failed to give Wellington his proxy and Thynne, who cut a ‘magnificent’ figure at the theatre, 14 Nov., was absent from the division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, which brought them down.18 He received two weeks’ leave ‘because of the disturbed state of his neighbourhood’ during the ‘Swing’ riots, 2 Dec. 1830.19 He was named as a defaulter, 16 Mar. 1831, soon after the birth of his heir, divided against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, by which Weobley was to be disfranchised, 22 Mar., but ‘came into the House so dreadfully tipsy that they were obliged to carry him out’ before he could vote for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831.20 He was returned for Weobley with another brother, Edward, at the ensuing general election. The Thynnes voted against the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, against taking a Member from Chippenham, 27 July, and the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. 1831. Bath deliberately stayed away from the Lords in October, but the Thynnes signed the Wiltshire anti-reform declaration,21 and voted against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. Henry Hepburne Scott*, Thynne’s partisan and fellow guest at Charles Baring Wall’s* Hampshire estate in January 1832, considered him ‘nearly the best’ shot in England.22 He and his wife dined regularly in London with supporters of the Conservative opposition, and he divided with them on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July 1832.23

Left without a seat in 1832, Thynne, whose clubs were Boodles and the Travellers, pursued the life of a country gentleman. His eldest brother Thomas had long been estranged from their father, and his sudden death without issue in January 1837 left Thynne, whom Bath now made his sole executor, heir to the marquessate and land in county Monaghan, Shropshire, Somerset and Wiltshire, to which he succeeded in March. He died suddenly at Longleat in June 1837, ‘having only enjoyed his title a few months’, and was buried at Longbridge Deverill.24 As 3rd marquess of Bath, he had ordered the prompt payment of wages and annuities, but refused further assistance to his brother Edward, whose debts had already inconvenienced him as party to his marriage settlement.25 His will, dated 2 May 1835, failed to take account of his succession, and was proved under £25,000, 26 July 1837, five days before that of his father. By it, he left all household effects to his widow, assigns and executors, making the latter (his late father and Lord Ashburton) trustees of his real estate and all personal estate clear of debt. It was to be used to support his widow until remarriage or death, and his children until they married or came of age.26 Probate and division of the estate according to the 2nd marquess’s will, which Ashburton was also appointed to execute, could not be completed until after the death of Thynne’s widow, 2 Jan. 1892. Asked to account for the discrepancy between the 1837 valuation and the £59,175 on which legacy duty was now paid, his children, John Alexander, 4th marquess of Bath (1831-96), Henry Frederick Thynne (1832-1904), Conservative Member for Wiltshire South, 1859-85, and Lady Louisa Isabella Harriet Fielding, volunteered a further £315, and testified that his estate had ‘consisted almost entirely of the residuary estate of Thomas, [2nd] marquess of Bath, on which £10,704 2s. was charged in annuities which have all fallen in’.27

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. Longleat mun. 3rd mq. 120, 04/09/1810.
  • 2. Ibid. 06/08/1811, 25/08/1811, 19/10/1811, 27/12/1811, 06/01/1812, 12/01/1813, 13/02/1815, 04/03/1815, 13/03/1815, 22/07/1816, 07/08/1816, 20/07/1817, 28/09/1817, 29/09/1817, 27/11/1817, 21/02/1821; TNA ADM 1/1284/A.32; 1286/A.369, A.407; 1288/A.772; ADM 12/197.
  • 3. Longleat mun. 3rd mq. 120, 09/06/1821, 27/10/1821, 30/07/1822; ADM 1/2619/Cap.T.28 (1822); ADM 12/208.
  • 4. ADM 1/2619/Cap.T.37-38 (1823); ADM 12/214; ADM 51/3496; ADM 52/3690; Parl. Deb. (n.s.), ix. 1085-1101; Add. 38295, ff. 22-23.
  • 5. ADM 1/2619/Cap.T.38 (1823); Cap.T.2 (1824); ADM 12/221.
  • 6. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 487.
  • 7. Add. 75938, Lady to Lord Spencer, 4 Mar. 1825.
  • 8. ADM 1/2620/Cap.T.5, 11 (1825); Cap.T.18-19 (1826); Cap.T.2, 7, 22 (1827); ADM 3/207, 11 Mar. 1825; ADM 12/228, 236, 244; ADM 51/3402; Longleat mun. 3rd mq. 120, 15/03/1825; Von Neumann Diary, i. 152.
  • 9. Lansdowne mss, Spring Rice to Lansdowne, 17 Sept. 1827; ADM 3/216, 13 Mar. 1828; ADM 12/252; ADM 51/3402; Longleat mun. 3rd mq. 120, 10/02/1828; Woolmer’s Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 31 May, 7, 14 June 1828.
  • 10. Exeter Weekly Times, 21 June 1828.
  • 11. Longleat mun. 3rd mq. 120, 10/02/1828.
  • 12. ADM 12/252, 260, 268, 275, 283, 289, 297, 307, 319, 331.
  • 13. Bath Herald, 11 Oct.; Bath Chron. 16 Oct. 1828.
  • 14. Glos. RO, Sotherton Estcourt mss D/1571/X114, W. Long to Estcourt, 26 Jan. 1829.
  • 15. The Times, 24 Feb., 1 Mar. 1830.
  • 16. Howard Sisters, 127; Russell Letters, ii. 235-7; Bath Chron. 22 Apr. 1830; PROB 11/1881/521.
  • 17. Bath Chron. 30 Sept., 14 Oct. 1830.
  • 18. Howard Sisters, 165; Greville Mems. ii. 57.
  • 19. Add. 41315, f. 149.
  • 20. Wilts. RO, Pembroke mss 2057/F4/50.
  • 21. Add. 63010, ff. 3, 9; Devizes and Wilts Gazette, 11 Aug. 1831.
  • 22. NAS GD157/2411/21.
  • 23. NLW, Ormathwaite mss FG1/6, p. 40.
  • 24. Gent. Mag. (1837), i. 219, 537; ii. 204; Greville Mems. i. 294; PROB 11/1877/326; 11/1881/521; Longleat mun. 2nd mq. E7 box B1; 3rd mq. 195, 08/02/1868; Salisbury and Wilts. Herald, 24 June, 1 July; Salisbury and Winchester Jnl. 26 June 1837; Raikes Jnl. iii. 146, 220.
  • 25. Longleat mun. 3rd mq. 115, 08/07/1830; 130, 15/11/1834; 150, 27/03/37 (xi & xii).
  • 26. PROB 11/1881/519, 521; IR26/141/627.
  • 27. Longleat mun. 3rd Mq. 195, 26/07/1837, 10/03/1838, 01/12/1839, 13/05/1848, 26/04/1858, 08/02/1868, 16/06/1887, 04/11/1892.