EARLE, William Rawlinson (1702-74), of Eastcourt House, Crudwell, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1727 - 1747
1747 - 1761
7 Apr. 1762 - 1768

Family and Education

b. 7 Apr. 1702, 1st s. of Giles Earle, M.P., by Elizabeth da. of Sir William Rawlinson of Hendon House, Mdx., wid. of John Lowther of Lowther, Westmld. m. 4 Jan. 1731, Susanna, da. and h. of William White of Somerford, Wilts., 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 20 Aug. 1758.

Offices Held

Clerk of deliveries to the Ordnance 1732-40; clerk of the Ordnance 1740-72.


In 1727 William Rawlinson Earle joined at Malmesbury his father Giles Earle who had sat for it since 1722, and they held the borough until their defeat in 1747. William Rawlinson Earle then contested Cricklade, where he fought contests in 1747, 1754, and 1761.

Newcastle described his defeat in 1761 as ‘very severe usage ... after having expended near five thousand pounds’.1 Earle had to be found a seat: Newcastle first thought of Fowey, then, on a vacancy at Newport, recommended him to Lord Holmes as ‘a very deserving man and a very good friend’.2 Holmes objected, 17 Mar. 1762:3

You assured me it should be some person in high station that would be agreeable to the electors ... How a person with a little place in the Ordnance will go down, I don’t know, but must beg the favour your Grace will excuse me from having anything to do with it.

Newcastle, surprised and concerned, replied, 20 Mar. 1762:4

The gentleman I recommend is of an unexceptionable character; has indeed the honour to serve the King in the Board of Ordnance in the very next office of rank to the Marquess of Granby.

Bute also supported Earle, and Holmes somewhat reluctantly acquiesced.

Earle appears in Henry Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries (Walpole’s statement5 that he voted against the preliminaries and was then dismissed is incorrect), and voted with Grenville’s Administration over general warrants, 6 Feb. 1764. Classed ‘pro’ by Rockingham in July 1765, he did not vote against the repeal of the Stamp Act. In November 1766 Rockingham classed him as ‘Bute’, and Newcastle in March 1767 as ‘Administration’: he voted with the Government over the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767 and nullum tempus, 17 Feb. 1768. He did not stand at the general election of 1768, and died 10 Aug. 1774.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: J. A. Cannon


  • 1. To Ld. Holmes, 20 Mar. 1762, Add. 32935, f. 497.
  • 2. 15 Mar. 1762, ibid. f. 400.
  • 3. Ibid. f. 435.
  • 4. Ibid. ff. 497-8.
  • 5. Mems. Geo. III, i. 185.