LAMBTON, John (1710-94), of Lambton Hall, co. Dur.

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



11 May 1762 - Jan. 1787

Family and Education

b. 26 July 1710, 5th s. of Ralph Lambton, and bro. of Henry Lambton.  educ. Westminster 1725.  m. 5 Sept. 1763, Lady Susan Lyon, da. of Thomas, 8th Earl of Strathmore [S], 2s. 2da.  suc. bro. William 1774.

Offices Held

Ensign 2 Ft. Gds. 1732, lt. 1739, capt. and lt.-col. 1746; col. 1758; col. 68 Ft. 1758- d.; maj.-gen. 1761; lt.-gen. 1770; gen. 1782.


Standing for Durham City on the death of his brother Henry, Lambton met with very strong opposition from Ralph Gowland, the candidate of Lord Darlington and his party. By tampering with the city constitution and creating 215 new freemen, most of them unconnected with the city, they gained a majority, but Lambton was seated on petition, 11 May 1762, having deserved the gratitude of the real freemen by preserving their rights. In Bute’s parliamentary list Lambton is described as ‘connected with Mr. Ridley and Lord Ravensworth in election affairs’, and he is included in Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries. But he voted against Government in the division over Wilkes, 15 Nov. 1763; general warrants, 18 Feb. 1764; and the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767. He was classed by Charles Townshend in January 1767 as ‘doubtful’, and by Newcastle in March 1767 as ‘Administration’: he was independent and neither quite knew what to make of him.

He was absent from the divisions on Wilkes in 1769, but voted with the Opposition over the Middlesex election 25 Jan. 1770, and the Grenville Act, 25 Feb. 1774—after his own experience he was bound to stand up for fairness in elections. But he was not regularly in opposition, and before the general election of 1774, John Robinson classed him as ‘hopeful’. In the divisions on America, 1775-9, for which only minority lists are available, his name does not appear; but over the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, Robinson put him down as present and against the Government. The Public Ledger wrote about him in 1779: ‘He votes generally with the minister, but now and then gives an honest vote in opposition.’ In the divisions of February to April 1780, Lambton voted steadily with Opposition, and was therefore classed by Robinson at the general election of 1780 as an opponent. He continued voting steadily against the Government till the fall of the North Administration in March 1782. He voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; was absent from the divisions on Fox’s East India bill; but voted against Pitt in the divisions after the dismissal of the Coalition; and after the general election of 1784 is included among their friends in William Adam’s list. He did not vote again with Pitt on parliamentary reform 1785, and voted against Richmond’s fortifications plan, 27 Feb. 1786. There is no record of his having spoken in the House.

He died 22 Mar. 1794.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier