CLAUGHTON, Thomas (?1774-1842), of Haydock Lodge, nr. Warrington, Lancs.
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Family and Education
Capt. 3 batt. Lancs supp. militia 1797, lt.-col. commdt. Newton vols. 1803; lt.-col. Wigan regt. Lancs. militia 1808.
Claughton lost his father before he went to Rugby and was probably brought up by his uncle William Maire, a Warrington attorney, whose profession he himself took up. He was a trustee of Thomas Legh* of Lyme during his minority, married his sister and lived at the Legh property of Haydock Lodge.3 In 1818 Legh returned him as his colleague for his pocket borough. He is not known to have spoken in the House before 1820 and his only recorded vote in his first Parliament was with government against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819.
Claughton appears to have retired from legal practice by 1820 and to have gone into business and land speculation. He was described in 1824 as a ‘salt-manufacturer, dealer and chapman’ and he was for a time a partner in the Orrell and Wigan Coal Company.4 In 1814 he bought the reversion of the Hafod estate in Cardiganshire from Thomas Johnes*, paying a large sum down, with the balance to be paid after Johnes’s death. This occurred in 1816, but it seems that Claughton never completed the payment. In December 1819, Thomas Legh wrote to Liverpool with a proposal from Claughton to purchase certain royal manors in Cardiganshire, adjoining the Hafod estate, for which he was prepared to pay £3,000 or ‘such a sum as shall be fixed by two surveyors as chosen by each party’. Legh claimed that before Claughton had entered the House, he had applied on his behalf for the stewardship of the manors and been given hope by the commissioners of woods and forests of a purchase of the property, though nothing had come of it. Liverpool mistakenly assumed that Claughton was seeking the stewardship and informed his brother-in-law that the commissioners were of opinion that the planned sale of the manors would be encumbered by any previous grant of stewardship. Legh explained that Claughton was now interested not in the stewardship, which would have vacated his seat, but in the property, and demanded ‘the preference at a full and fair value, to which the voluntary proposal of the commissioners has given us, if not a right, certainly a well founded expectation’; but Liverpool insisted that no partiality could be shown in the sale of the manors by auction or tender which was to take place after a fresh valuation. A testy correspondence ensued. Claughton did manage to buy several manors in the Warrington area, had control of a number of local charity funds and in about 1821 contracted for the purchase of the Bolesworth Castle estate in Cheshire.5
Eventually, he overreached himself. Disputes arising out of his financial dealings were before the courts in 1823 and and on 5 Mar. 1824 he was declared bankrupt. He resigned his seat the following year and his affairs were in the hands of the bankruptcy commissioners until his death. Hafod was in Chancery until 1832 and there was a lawsuit against Legh, ‘one of the most vexatious’ ever known, and an unsuccessful attempt by Claughton to prevent the sale of his property for the benefit of his creditors. He was issued with a renewed fiat of bankruptcy, 24 Oct. 1838.6
Claughton, two of whose sons became bishops and found a place in the DNB, died 8 Mar. 1842 ‘in his 68th year’.7
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. Rugby School Reg. (1933), i. 114.
- 2. Earwaker, E. Cheshire, ii. 306.
- 3. VCH Lancs. iv. 131.
- 4. London Gazette, 27 Mar., 26 Oct. 1824.
- 5. E. Inglis-Jones, Peacocks in Paradise, 230-1, 240; Add. 38281, ff. 240, 362; 38282, ff. 84, 192, 229, 280, 360; VCH Lancs. iii. 316; iv. 131, 168, 170; London Gazette, 18 Jan. 1825.
- 6. The Times, 20, 21 Jan., 27 Feb., 29 Mar. 1824, 10 May, 13 June 1827; VCH Lancs. iii. 316; iv. 131, 170; London Gazette, 18 Jan., 26 July, 13 Aug., 29 Nov. 1825, 4 Feb. 1826, 2 Jan., 10 July, 16 Oct. 1827, 5 Feb., 13 May, 28 Oct. 1828, 30 June, 13 Oct., 13 Nov. 1829, 2 July 1830, 17 May 1831, 30 June 1835, 3 June 1836, 23 Nov. 1838, 21 May 1841, 27 Sept. 1842.
- 7. Gent. Mag. (1842), i. 452.