LIDDELL, Sir Henry, 4th Bt. (1708-84), of Ravensworth Castle, co. Dur.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1734 - 1747

Family and Education

bap. 1 Aug. 1708, 1st s. of Thomas Liddell by Jane, da. of James Clavering of Greencroft, co. Dur.; gd.-s. of Sir Henry Liddell, 3rd Bt., M.P., and nephew of George Liddell. educ. Peterhouse, Camb. 1725; Grand Tour c.1730. m. 27 Apr. 1735, Anne, da. of Sir Peter Delmé, ld. mayor of London, 1da. who m. (1) Augustus Henry Fitzroy, M.P., 3rd Duke of Grafton, from whom she was div.; (2) John Fitzpatrick, M.P., 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory. suc. gd.-fa. as 4th Bt. 1 Sept. 1723; cr. Baron Ravensworth 29 June 1747.

Offices Held

Mayor, Hartlepool 1739.


One of the chief north country coal-owners, Liddell was returned in 1734 for Morpeth, where he established an interest by offering £10 a man.1 Next year it was reported that two cooks had been imported from Paris at 100 a year, one for the Duke of Newcastle and the other for Liddell, who was living at great expense.2 A government supporter, he spoke for the Spanish convention in 17393 and was one of the five members of the court list elected to the secret committee set up to inquire into Walpole’s Administration in 1742.4 He voted against the Government on the Address and abstained from the division on the Hanoverians in December of that year, but spoke for them in January 1744, declaring that he had come to the House undetermined and had been convinced by the debate. Next month he opposed Pelham’s proposal to increase the duty on sugar. In 1745 he was so incensed by Pitt’s statement that the British and Hanoverian troops could not act together that he threatened to put the question to the vote, but was appeased by a conciliatory reply from Pitt.5 He again spoke for the Hanoverians in 1746. His elevation to the peerage in 1747 did not go down well with the old corps of Whigs, who thought that he had been ‘but a wavering friend’.6 In 1753 he brought charges of Jacobitism against Andrew Stone and William Murray on evidence so unsubstantial that the most charitable explanation of his conduct was ‘honest wrong-headed Whig zeal’.7 He died 30 Jan. 1784, the father of Horace Walpole’s correspondent, Lady Ossory.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. J. M. Fewster, 'Pol. and Admin. of Morpeth in the later 18th Cent.' (Durham Univ. Ph.D. thesis), 83.
  • 2. HMC Carlisle, 159.
  • 3. Coxe, Walpole, iii. 517.
  • 4. Walpole to Mann, 1 Apr. 1742.
  • 5. Owen, Pelhams, 208, 217, 254-5.
  • 6. Duke of Richmond to Newcastle, 7 June 1747, Add. 32711, f. 254.
  • 7. Chesterfield Letters, 2014.