TILSON, Christopher (1670-1742), of St. Margaret's, Westminster and Hampton Poyle, Oxon.

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



1727 - 1734

Family and Education

b. 24 Jan. 1670, s. of Nathaniel Tilson of London. educ. St. Paul’s. m. (1) bef. 1706, Mary (d. 30 Aug. 1737), da. of George Humble, sis. of Sir John Humble, 4th Bt.; (2) d. Sept. 1739, s.p.

Offices Held

Clerk of the Treasury Feb. 1685-d.; clerk of commrs. of appeal in the excise (£100 p.a.) Apr. 1693; receiver gen. of crown land revenues 1699.1


Tilson, who spent nearly 58 years at the Treasury, was the brother of George Tilson,2 under-secretary of state for the northern department 1710-38, and grandson of Henry Tilson, bishop of Elphin, in Ireland. Buying the manor of Hampton Poyle in 1723,3 he was returned for Cricklade in 1727, voting with the Administration, but did not stand again. He was chosen one of the directors of the Chelsea Waterworks in 1730 and deputy governor in 1733.4 Questioned on 30 June 1742 by the secret committee of the House of Commons as to the sums issued for secret service while Walpole was at the Treasury, he replied

that he looked on all these monies to be of the same nature, that they are all without account, except as to what related to the solicitor of the Treasury, nor is there any entry in the Treasury of the application of any of these sums of money.5

On his death, 25 Aug. 1742, Horace Walpole wrote that ‘old Tilson ... was so much tormented’ by the secret committee on Walpole that ‘it turned his brain and he is dead’.6

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: R. S. Lea


  • 1. M. I. at Hampton Poyle; HMC Lords n.s. vi. 398.
  • 2. PCC 259 Trenley.
  • 3. VCH Oxon. vi. 5, 162.
  • 4. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 90, 345.
  • 5. CJ, xxiv. 246.
  • 6. To Mann, 28 Aug. 1742.