TUFNELL, Samuel (1682-1758), of Langleys, Essex.

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



20 May 1715 - 1722
1727 - 1734
1741 - 1747

Family and Education

b. 15 Sept. 1682, o.s. of John Tufnell, brewer, of St. Mary’s Undershaft, London, and Monken Hadley, Mdx. by Elizabeth, da. of John Jolliffe, M.P., merchant and alderman of London. educ. Merton, Oxf. 1698, M. Temple 1699, called 1703, bencher 1740; Grand Tour (Holland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland) 1703-5. m. 19 Dec. 1717 (with £10,000), Elizabeth, da. of George Cressener of Earl’s Colne, Essex, 3s. 2da. suc. fa. 1699; uncle, Sir William Jolliffe, to Pleshey, Essex 1750.

Offices Held

Capt. of troop of Essex militia 1715; commr. of the equivalent1 24 July 1717-18 Apr. 1719; commr. for settling commerce at Antwerp June 1732-Feb. 1742.


Tufnell was the grandson of Richard Tufnell, a prosperous brewer, M.P. Southwark 1640. At the age of 17 he succeeded to the family estate, subject to the trusteeship of his uncles, Sir William Jolliffe and Sir Edward Northey, till he came of age. He was called to the bar but, though he became a bencher, there is no evidence of his having practised.2 In 1710 he purchased the manor of Langleys, not far from Maldon, for which he stood as a Whig in 1715, jointly with Sir William Jolliffe, succeeding on petition. He made his first recorded speech in support of the septennial bill in 1716, sending a copy to the editor of the Political State,3 in which it is printed. At a meeting of M.P.s in March 1717, called to consider the introduction of a bill to repeal the laws against the Dissenters, he recommended that the matter should be postponed.4 In June 1717 he opposed the motion to postpone the trial of Lord Oxford, saying that he had originally supported the impeachment on a charge of high treason on the assurance of Walpole, as chairman of the secret committee set up to inquire into the late Tory Government, that there were just grounds for it. Walpole then

let drop an insinuation, as if many who followed his opinion in the business of the impeachments, did it rather out of compliment to his power, than to his person,

whereupon Tufnell,

resenting this innuendo, immediately repelled the dint of it, by appealing to that honourable Member ‘whether he ever made his court to him?’ ‘And whether he had not paid him more respect since he was out, than when he was in place?’

During the split in the Whig party he was given a temporary place which lapsed in April 1719, after which he spoke against the peerage bill. After the collapse of the South Sea bubble in 1720 he supported Walpole’s efforts to damp down the proceedings against its authors, speaking with him on behalf of Sir George Caswall on 10 Mar. 1721 and on 2 June seconding a motion for allowing one of the directors to retain a substantial part of his confiscated estate. A few days later the secret committee of the Commons on the South Sea affair presented a report containing the names of a number of Members, including Tufnell, who, while the South Sea bill was before the House, had allowed themselves to be put down by the Company for stock without paying for it on the understanding that if the bill went through and the stock consequently rose, they would be entitled to receive the difference.5 The amount allotted to Tufnell was £5,000 at 182, but it is not known what he made on the transaction, nor was the matter pursued by the Commons. In January 1722 he is reported as complaining of ‘a scandalous list that was handed about’, in which he was named as one of the Members ‘who received South Sea stock for giving their votes for the South Sea bill’, and as professing to be able to clear himself.6

Tufnell was out of Parliament till 1727 when he successfully contested Colchester as a Walpole Whig, voting for the excise bill and against the repeal of the Septennial Act. In 1732 he was appointed a commissioner, with an allowance of £4 a day, to treat with the commissioners of the Emperor and the States General on commercial and other matters arising out of the treaty of Vienna.7 The negotiations opened in 1737 at Antwerp, where Tufnell remained, with occasional visits to England, till they ended inconclusively on the outbreak of the war of the Austrian succession.8

Tufnell did not stand in 1734 but was returned on Walpole’s nomination for Great Marlow in 1741,9 continuing to vote regularly with the Government till he retired in 1747. He died 28 Dec. 1758.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. See BOTELER, John.
  • 2. F.W. Steer, Samuel Tufnell of Langleys, 17.
  • 3. Pol. State, xxxvii. p. vii.
  • 4. W. Michael, England under Geo. I, i. 50.
  • 5. CJ, xix. 569, 578.
  • 6. Hist. Reg. 1722, p. 53.
  • 7. Cal. Treas. Bks. and Pprs. 1731-4, p. 230.
  • 8. Steer, 62-73.
  • 9. Sir Wm. Clayton to Walpole, 4 Feb. 1740, Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss.