WILLES, John (?1721-84), of Astrop, Northants.

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



26 Nov. 1746 - 1754
1754 - 1761

Family and Education

b. ?1721, 1st surv. s. of Sir John Willes, l.c.j. of common pleas 1737-61, and bro. of Edward Willes. educ. Worcester, Oxf. 3 Mar. 1738, aged 16; L. Inn 1734. m. 15 July 1754, Frances, da. and h. of Thomas Freke, Bristol merchant, 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 1761.

Offices Held

Filazer for Mdx. in court of common pleas 1752-d.


Returned for Banbury by Francis, Lord North, Willes, a follower of the Prince of Wales, was classed as Opposition. At the opening of the Parliament, he spoke in favour of the re-election of Speaker Onslow. In 1748, on a bill for transferring the summer assizes from Aylesbury to Buckingham (see Willes, Edward), Horace Walpole reported to Mann, 11 Mar., that Pelham attacked Willes’s father, accusing him of ingratitude.

The eldest Willes [John] got up extremely moved, but with great propriety and cleverness told Mr. Pelham that his father had no obligation to any man now in the ministry; that he had been obliged to one of the greatest ministers that ever was [Walpole], who is now no more; that the person who accused his father of ingratitude was now leagued with the very men who had ruined that minister, to whom he (Mr. Pelham) owed his advancement, and without whom he would have been nothing.

The 2nd Lord Egmont wrote in September 1749: ‘Chief Justice Willes ... gave up his two sons to my direction in Parliament. Willes hopes his eldest son would have some place—dropped that he would prefer the board of Trade to the Admiralty for him’,1 and he was put down for the board of Trade in the next reign. He wrote to his friend, John Wilkes, 15 Mar. 1753:

I am involved in a very troublesome affair: I have the management of a turnpike bill in which the borough of Banbury is very nearly concerned, and I shall not get it through the House in less than a

fortnight, and am to oppose a bill for an enclosure; these two silly things keep me in hot water and prevent my going out of town.2

He died 24 Nov. 1784.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Add. 47073.
  • 2. Add. 30867, ff. 73-74.