CUST, Hon. William (1787-1845).

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



5 Oct. 1816 - 1818
1818 - July 1822

Family and Education

b. 23 Jan. 1787, 4th s. of Brownlow Cust, 1st Baron Brownlow, by 2nd w., and bro. of Hon. Edward Cust*, Hon. John Cust*, and Hon. Peregrine Francis Cust*. educ. Eton 1799; St. John’s, Camb. 1806; L. Inn 1808 (re-adm. 1819); I. Temple 1813, called 1814. m. 8 July 1819, Sophia, da. of Thomas Newnham of Southborough, Kent, 5s. 3da.

Offices Held

Commr. of customs 1825-d.

Capt. Lovedon militia 1808.


Cust, a fledgling barrister, was set up for Lincolnshire in 1816 by his brother John, Lord Brownlow, lord lieutenant of the county. The circumstances were embarrassing for him, as the deceased Member’s son Charles Chaplin II* had been regarded as his obvious successor, but demurred. The ministerial party feared Whig intervention and Brownlow’s haste on his brother’s behalf was remarked upon: ‘The increasing indignation at W. Cust being proposed, appeared to possess all parties ... [He] was elected with every possible mark of public disapprobation.’ There was even a token contest staged by Chaplin’s friends in his absence and without his consent. Cust had promised at his nomination to imitate Chaplin senior’s virtues and reminded the freeholders that his grandfather, Sir John Cust, had been Speaker of the House.1 Before the year was out, Chaplin junior decided to stand at the next election. On 19 Nov. 1817 the Hon. Frederick John Robinson assured the premier, ‘Brownlow ... is very unpopular, and many persons consider his brother, having no property in the county, as totally unfit to represent it’. Lord Liverpool agreed that Chaplin, a country gentleman, was fitter, but stipulated that Brownlow must be persuaded, not forced, to yield to Chaplin. This he did in December 1817.2

In the House, where Cust was silent, he supported ministers except on the reduction of the lords of the Admiralty, 25 Feb. 1817. This was after he had appeared in the majority on 7 and 17 Feb. He voted against Catholic relief, 9 May 1817. He voted for the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817, and in exoneration of government implementation of it, 10, 11 Feb., 5 Mar. 1818. After being rallied by Lord Liverpool, he voted for the ducal marriage grant, 15 Apr. 1818.

Cust relinquished Lincolnshire to Chaplin in 1818 and was compensated with a seat for Clitheroe on the family interest. He voted with ministers on the question of Wyndham Quin*, 29 Mar., against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819. He died 3 Mar. 1845.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: M. H. Port / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Heron, Notes (1851), 75; Lincs. AO, Brownlow mss 2 BNL/26/2, 8, 14, 120, 121.
  • 2. Add. 38269, ff. 135-6; 38458, f. 217; Fitzwilliam mss, X1607, Heron to Milton, 8 Dec. 1817.