TUFTON, Hon. Henry (1775-1849).

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



1796 - 1802
1826 - 20 Apr. 1832

Family and Education

b. 2 Jan. 1775, 4th s. of Sackville, 8th earl of Thanet (d. 1786), and Mary, da. of Lord John Philip Sackville†; bro. of Hon John Tufton†. educ. Westminster 1786; Angers mil. acad. unm. 1s. 1da.1 d.v.p. suc. bro. Charles as 11th earl of Thanet 20 Apr. 1832. d. 12 June 1849.

Offices Held

Ensign 26 Ft. 1790; capt. ind. co. Ft. 1793, half-pay 1793-1826.

Hered. sheriff, Westmld. 1832-d.; ld. lt. Kent 1841-6.


Tufton, a French-trained soldier, espoused the Whiggism and pro-Catholic sympathies of his father and brothers, the 8th, 9th and 10th earls of Thanet, on whose interest he had successfully contested Rochester in 1796. ‘A fierce Buonapartist and Jacobin’, he returned to France soon after the Peace of Amiens in 1802, and he remained there as one of Buonaparte’s detenus until 1813, and afterwards by choice.2 He inherited part of the Kent estate of Hothfield Place on the death of his eldest brother Sackville in January 1825; but his brother Charles, as 10th earl, refused him an annuity on account of their parlous finances and would not hear of his standing for Westmorland, preferring to return him for Appleby, which he controlled jointly with the Tory Lord Lonsdale, at the general election of 1826.3

Tufton, who is not known to have spoken in debate, voted against the award to the duke of Clarence, 16 Feb., to separate bankruptcy jurisdiction from chancery, 11 May, and for the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May 1827. He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He divided for Catholic emancipation 6, 30 Mar., and to permit Daniel O’Connell to sit without swearing the oath of supremacy, 18 May 1829. He voted to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May, and to lower the hemp duties, 1 June 1829. Returning late for the 1830 session, he divided steadily with the revived Whig opposition, 3 May-14 June, including for Jewish emancipation, 17 May, parliamentary reform, 28 May, revision of the divorce laws, 3 June, and abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June. Under the ‘Westmorland Treaty’ agreed in July between his brother, James Brougham* and Lonsdale, he was initially expected to come in for Cockermouth at the general election of 1830, but a compromise with Lord Radnor made Appleby again available to him.4

The Wellington ministry naturally listed Tufton among their ‘foes’ and he divided against them on the civil list when they were brought down, 15 Nov. 1830. He voted for the Grey ministry’s reform bill, which proposed Appleby’s disfranchisement, at its second reading, 22 Mar., and paired against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he came in for Appleby as previously.5 He divided for the reintroduced reform bill at its second reading, 6 July, against adjournment, 12 July, and generally voted or paired for its details. He is not known to have voted on the disfranchisement of Appleby, 19 July, for which the division lists are incomplete, but according to Lonsdale’s heir Lord Lowther* ‘he took an active part’ against it.6 He was absent from the division on the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. He divided for the revised reform bill at its second reading, 17 Dec. 1831, and voted for its committal, 20 Jan., the schedule B disfranchisements, 23 Jan., the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He divided with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan. 1832. Elevated to the Lords and made hereditary sheriff of Westmorland by the death of his brother, 20 Apr., he was portrayed to Lord Holland by Lord Brougham as a ‘very stout politician’ who would ‘be as he has been in the Commons, a most regular attender’.7 He returned his nephew Charles Barham as his replacement and sought advice on the likely impact of Appleby’s disfranchisement on the county constituency before directing his agents to support Barham’s elder brother John in Westmorland at the 1832 general election.8

Thanet, who sustained his own household in Paris, was well placed to scotch reports circulating in 1832 that his brother Sackville had fathered an illegitimate daughter there.9 He acknowledged his own children with Julie Durieux and died after a long illness in June 1849. By his will, dated 21 Dec. 1848, he devised the shrievalty of Westmorland and some 40,000 of the 60,000-acre family estates in Kent, Westmorland and Yorkshire, which he had freed from encumbrances, to his French-born son Richard Tufton (1813-71), the residuary legatee. Charles Barham, Durieux and his London housekeeper Sarah Fuller were the other main beneficiaries.10 The Thanet peerage lapsed and Tufton, whose naturalization was effected by an Act of 1 Aug. 1849, was created a baronet, 16 Jan. 1851. His son Henry James (1844-1926) was raised to the peerage as Baron Hothfield, 11 Oct. 1881. The hereditary shrievalty, which Barham also coveted, was abolished by the 1849 and 1850 Acts.11

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. Brougham mss, Miss Elizabeth Tufton to Brougham, 11 Aug. [1838], records his sudden departure for Paris ‘on account of the illness of a daughter not expected to be alive on his arrival’.
  • 2. Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth ed. A.G. Hill (1979), v (pt. i), 369-70.
  • 3. Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 27 Jan., 31 Mar., 12 July, 14 Sept., [W.D.] to same, 7 Feb., Lonsdale to Lowther, 16, 24 Sept.; Brougham mss, Lonsdale to Brougham, 10 July 1825, J. Brougham to Atkinson, Aug. 1826; Heron, Notes, 252; The Times, 15 June; Westmld. Advertiser, 17 June 1826.
  • 4. Lonsdale mss, bdle. on 1830 election; Wilts. RO, Radnor mss 490/1374; Westmld. Gazette, 7 Aug. 1830.
  • 5. Westmld. Advertiser, 7 May 1831.
  • 6. Lonsdale mss, Lowther to Lonsdale, 22 July 1831.
  • 7. Add. 51564, Brougham to Holland [26 Apr.]; 51590, Dover to Lady Holland, 26 Apr. 1832.
  • 8. Westmld. Advertiser, 28 Apr., 19 May, 16 June; Brougham mss, J. Heelis the elder to J. Brougham, 28, 29 May, 4 Aug. 1832.
  • 9. Add. 51837, Stuart de Rothesay to Holland, 16 Aug., Thanet to same, 10 Dec. 1832.
  • 10. PROB 11/2102/805; IR26/1853/837; The Times, 10, 11 July 1849.
  • 11. Ann. Reg. (1849), Chron. p. 73.; LJ, lxxxi. 371, 439, 602.; Kendal Mercury, 15, 30 June, 21 July; Brougham mss, R. Tufton to Brougham, 22 Aug., 12 Sept. 1849, 12 Aug., 19 Sept. 1850.