MYTTON, John (1796-1834), of Halston, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. 30 Sept. 1796, o.s. of John Mytton of Halston by Harriet, da. of William (Mostyn) Owen* of Woodhouse. educ. by Rev. W. W. Owen at home; Westminster 1807-11; Harrow 1812-13.1 m. (1) 21 May 1818, Harriet Emma (d. 2 July 1820), da. of (Sir) Thomas (Tyrwhitt) Jones*, 1st Bt., 1da.; (2) 29 Oct. 1821, Caroline Mallett, (who separated from him 3 Nov. 1828) da. of Thomas Giffard of Chillington, Staffs., 4s. 1da. suc. fa. 1798.
Sheriff, Merion. 1821-2, Salop 1823-4; mayor, Oswestry 1824.
Capt. Oswestry yeoman cav. 1812; cornet, 7 Hussars 1816, ret. 1817; maj. N. Salop yeoman cav. 1822.
Mytton, the scion of an ancient Shropshire family, or as ‘Nimrod’ his friend and biographer put it, ‘quite thoroughbred’, succeeded before he was two to a border estate worth nearly £10,000 p.a. and to about £60,000 in cash when he came of age. Brought up with ‘little restraint on his conduct’,2 he squandered it all, but gave people something to talk about: he spent it on hounds and horses, gambling, reckless generosity and insensate conviviality, as well as on the satisfaction of the most outlandish whims and endless practical jokes, which earned him his place among the English eccentrics.
This madcap squire was returned for Shrewsbury at a by-election in 1819 at the reputed expense of £10,000, against an opponent whose principles were no different from his own, both avowing independence. Six Myttons had represented the borough before 1710; his grandfather had unsuccessfully contested it in 1734 and Mytton was married to the daughter of a recent Member, Sir Thomas Jones, and nephew to Lord Berwick. In his address he stated that he feared the follies of his youth would be held against him, but hoped to remedy this by future good conduct. On being chaired through the town he is said to have thrown himself through the window of the Lion inn, where a reception was being held, to deliver his speech of thanks. In June he paid one visit to Westminster, but is said to have left after half-an-hour from boredom and restlessness (he never stayed anywhere for long), possibly too because his deafness prevented him from hearing what was going on. He nevertheless appeared in the majority for the foreign enlistment bill on 10 June. He declined a contest in 1820, ‘finding that a proper and punctual attendance to his parliamentary duties was incompatible with his present pursuits’.3 On the verge of bankruptcy, he contested the county in 1831, as a reformer, but failed hopelessly and fled to Calais. He died in King’s Bench prison, 29 Mar. 1834, of ‘delirium tremens’, spouting to the end, with surprising accuracy, Greek and Latin verse that had a bearing on his fate.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
Based on ‘Nimrod’, Life of John Mytton, R. Darwall Madcap’s Progress and E. Sitwell, English Eccentrics.
- 1. He was expelled from both and assaulted a private tutor in Berkshire to whom he was susequently sent; entered at both universities, he matriculated at neither, though he sent 339 gallons of port to Cambridge to await his arrival.
- 2. Gent. Mag. (1834), i. 657.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. (ser. 4), xii. 250.