CRUTCHLEY, Jeremiah (1745-1805), of Sunninghill Park, Ascot, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1784 - 1790
1790 - 1796
28 Oct. 1796 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 20 Dec. 1745, 1st and o. surv. s. of Jeremiah Crutchley of Sunninghill Park1 by w. Alice née Jackson. unm. suc. fa. 1752.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Berks. 1773-4.



Crutchley, who had purchased a seat in 1784 and supported Pitt’s administration, did the same in 1790 and 1796, when he sat for Cornish boroughs on the interests of Lord Eliot and (after his defeat at Grampound in 1796) the Marquess of Buckingham. The Treasury listed him in 1796 as willing to pay £3,000 for a seat. He was believed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791, and continued to support Pitt silently, subscribing £2,000 to the loyalty loan for 1797. One minority vote is known, for Sturt’s motion demanding inquiry into the Ferrol expedition, 19 Feb. 1801. He twice wrote to Pitt, on behalf of his sister and brother-in-law, whom he described on both occasions as having ‘a very large family’; he asked for an ensigncy in the foot guards for their eldest son and for the receivership of hackney coach duties for his brother-in-law. He applied too late, but was promised consideration.2

Crutchley, who died unmarried 28 Dec. 1805, lives for ever in the pages of Fanny Burney’s diary as one of ‘these rich men’ who ‘think themselves the constant prey of all portionless girls and are always upon their guard, and suspicious of some design to take them in’. She noted that he was ‘indeed a singular character: good, upright, generous yet rough, unpolished, whimsical and fastidious: believing all women at his service for the sake of his estates and disbelieving any would accept him for any other reason. [He was, according to Mrs Thrale ‘ugly and awkward’.] He wrongs both them and himself by this conclusion.’ Once the Streatham circle to which he was devoted had broken up, Miss Burney saw him only at Warren Hastings’s trial and at the races. He called Burke ‘captain general of iniquity’ within Burke’s son’s hearing, which Miss Burney found typical of ‘his ready talent of defiance and disposition to contempt’, but she noted approvingly that he was ‘entirely for Mr Hastings and had voted for him—a very independent man and a man of real good character and with all his oddity of real understanding’.3 Mrs Thrale was less charitable: ‘warm and generous in some of his motives, frigid and suspicious however for 18 hours at least out of the 24; likely to be duped, though always expecting fraud, and easily disappointed in realities, though seldom flattered by fancy’.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. For the story that he was the natural son of Henry Thrale, see Hester (Thrale) Piozzi, Autobiog. (1861), i. 143.
  • 2. PRO 30/8/127, ff. 174-6; 197, f. 98.
  • 3. Diary of Madame d’Arblay ed. Dobson (1904), i. 477; iii. 437, 449.
  • 4. Autobiog. i. 143-4.