PATTEN (afterwards PATTEN BOLD), (1764-1819), of Bank Hall, Warrington and Bold Hall, Prescot, Lancs.

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



13 Dec. 1797 - 1806
1807 - 1812
2 Jan. 1813 - 1818

Family and Education

b. 1764, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Thomas Patten of Bank by Dorothea, da. of Peter Bold of Bold; bro. of Thomas Wilson I.* educ. Clitheroe g.s. (Rev. Thomas Wilson);1 Corpus, Oxf. 23 Oct. 1783, aged 19. m. 22 May 1790,2 Mary, da. of Rev. John Parker of Astle, Cheshire and Breightmet, Lancs. 4da. suc. fa. 1806; aunt Anna Maria Bold to Bold estate 1813, and took additional name of Bold.

Offices Held

Capt. Loyal Cheshire vols. 1797, maj. 1797; lt.-col. Lancs. vol. cav. 1797; col. 4 R. Lancs. militia 1798-9; brevet col. 1798; col. 1 R. Lancs. militia 1817-d.


Patten’s ancestors, originally from Essex, had been settled at Warrington since the 1530s. In 1792, one of the Lancashire Members recommended his inclusion in the commission of the peace as ‘a gentleman of very considerable fortune’ in the county.3 On the death in 1797 of Thomas Peter Legh, Member for and patron of Newton, Patten, who was a cousin of the surviving Member and distantly related to the Leghs, stood for the borough with the support of the Legh trustees. He was defeated at the poll by Thomas Langford Brooke, but was seated on petition three months later. He spoke in support of the income tax and with it the ‘just and necessary war’, 31 Dec. 1798, but was a teller for the minority of nine against secret returns to the assessors, 14 Mar. 1799, and voted for inquiry into the failure of the Dutch expedition, 10 Feb. 1800. He was a teller for the majority against Lord Belgrave’s bill to suppress Sunday newspapers, 11 June 1799.

Patten voted in support of the Prince of Wales’s financial claims, 31 Mar. 1802 and 4 Mar. 1803. His critical attitude towards the Addington ministry’s dealings with Buonaparte attracted comment as early as October 1802 when Canning was angling for his support, and on 7 Apr. 1803 when Addington moved the adjournment until the 19th, he gave notice that if no alteration had taken place in the situation vis à vis France when the House reconvened, he would move for inquiry into the state of the nation. French Laurence told Earl Fitzwilliam, 13 Apr., that Patten had originally planned to oppose the adjournment to provoke a debate, ‘had been there three successive days watching an opportunity’, but had changed his tactics ‘after he had come to the House, in consequence of being told that an arrangement for a new ministry had been settled that morning’. The Times, a ministerial organ, sneered that ‘the New Opposition Party’ had ‘met with so many clogs, that it is little wonder that they should make a trial of a Patten’. Placing himself entirely in the hands of Canning, he successively postponed his motion until after the resumption of hostilities, and on 3 June 1803, having been put up to it by Canning two weeks earlier, moved, not for inquiry into the state of the nation, but five resolutions of censure on ministers for their conduct of the negotiations with France. ‘I belong to no party’ and ‘cannot be accused of having for my object the gratification of personal or selfish feelings’, he declared, and denied charges that he was a tool of the Grenvilles. Pitt’s attempt to shelve the issue was defeated by 333 votes to 56, the Foxites left the House and Patten’s own motion went down by 275 votes to 34, the minority being largely composed of Grenvillites and Canning’s cronies.4

Patten was listed under ‘Pitt’ in March 1804, but did not vote against Addington in the divisions which brought him down. Pitt’s second ministry initially classed him as a follower of Lord Grenville, but counted him as one of their supporters in September 1804. He voted with them against the censure of Melville, 8 Apr. 1805, but after sitting on the select committee on the 11th naval report (27 May), voted for his criminal prosecution, 12 June. He was listed under ‘Pitt’ in July. On 8 Apr. 1806 Canning, planning a division against the second reading of the Grenville ministry’s bill to repeal Pitt’s Additional Force Act, asked Edward Bootle Wilbraham, ‘Do you know anything of Patten’s disposition, and could you write to him?’. On Wilbraham’s suggestion, he wrote to Robert Holt Leigh, Member for Wigan, ‘to obtain his intercession with Patten’, but the approach was apparently unsuccessful.5

Patten did not stand for Newton at the general election of 1806, but towards the end of the year he began to canvass Lancaster in the belief that John Fenton Cawthorne would shortly be expelled the House. He was backed by the Duke of Hamilton and Lord George Cavendish, and Lord Maynard obtained Lord Lowther’s interest for him. If he got in, Patten was expected to oppose the ‘Talents’, but Cawthorne was still in occupation when Parliament was dissolved in 1807. Patten joined forces with the Canningite John Dent to defeat him. There was a late move, originating in the Warrington area, to nominate him for the county against John Blackburne, whose vote against the Portland ministry’s pledge on Catholic relief had provoked hostility, but Patten himself discouraged it and appeared on the hustings in Blackburne’s favour. There was a triumphal procession on his return to Bank Hall.6

His only recorded vote during the Portland ministry was in support of charges of electoral corruption against Castlereagh, 25 Apr. 1809. He disapproved of Dent’s binding himself to Canning after the latter’s resignation later in the year, and made it known that he would ‘go into the House without pledge or engagement to anyone’. The Whigs listed him as ‘doubtful’ in March 1810 and he voted against the Perceval ministry in all five divisions on the Scheldt inquiry on the 30th.7 His only other known votes in the 1807 Parliament were against parliamentary reform, 21 May 1810, and against government on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. He sat on the committee of inquiry into the cotton industry, 5 June 1811.

Patten canvassed Lancaster at the general election of 1812, but declined to go to a poll. Joseph Pitt* provided him with a seat for Malmesbury a few months later. Canning visited him in Lancashire at the end of 1813, and the following year, when negotiating with the Liverpool ministry for the Lisbon embassy, placed him third in a list of five friends for whom he proposed to ask for two baronetcies between them, but his connexion with Canning was of the loosest.8 Ministers had added his name to a list of their supporters after his return and he voted with them on the Regent’s expenditure, 31 May 1815, the civil list, 6 May 1816 and the renewed suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817, and paired in favour of the Irish window tax, 21 Apr. 1818. His only known hostile vote was against the property tax, 18 Mar. 1816. He voted against Catholic relief, 2 Mar. 1813.

Patten, who did not seek re-election in 1818, was buried on 17 Oct. 1819.9

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: M. H. Port / David R. Fisher


  • 1. Wilson Miscellanies (Chetham Soc. xlv), p. lxxiv.
  • 2. Earwaker, East Cheshire , ii. 364.
  • 3. Add. 38447, f. 173.
  • 4. Canning and his Friends, i. 197; Fitzwilliam mss, box 62; The Times, 9 Apr.; Harewood mss, Canning to his wife, 26 Apr., 20, 21 May 1803; Add. 41856, f. 100.
  • 5. Canning and his Friends, i. 231; Add. 46841, f. 29.
  • 6. Grey mss, Fremantle to Howick, 29 Dec. 1806; Fortescue mss, Lowther to Grenville, 2 Jan. 1807; Lancaster Recs. 33; Blackburne mss (Prof. A. Aspinall’s transcripts), Gwillym to Blackburne [11 May], T. to J. Blackburne, 21 May 1807.
  • 7. Lonsdale mss, Ward to Lonsdale, 24 Nov. 1809, 31 Mar. [1810].
  • 8. Canning and his Friends, i. 405; Harewood mss, Canning to his wife, 14 July 1814.
  • 9. According to most sources; but Gent. Mag. (1819), ii. 474 gives this as the date of his death.