PONSONBY, Hon. William (1772-1815), of the manor of Goldsmith's Hall, co. Londonderry.

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



1812 - 18 June 1815

Family and Education

b. 1772, 2nd s. of William Brabazon Ponsonby*, and bro. of Frederick Ponsonby*, George Ponsonby* and John Brabazon Ponsonby*. educ. ?Eton 1783-8; Trinity Coll. Camb. 24 Feb. 1791, aged 19. m. 20 Jan. 1807, Hon. Georgiana Fitzroy, da. of Charles Fitzroy, 1st Baron Southampton, 1s. 4da. KCB 2 Jan. 1815.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1796-1800.

Ensign, 6 Ft. 1790; lt. 109 Ft. 1793; capt. 83 Ft. 1794; maj. loyal Irish fencibles 1794, 5 Drag. Gds. 1798, lt.-col. 1800; col. 5 Drag. Gds. 1803; brevet col. 1810; brig.-gen. 1812; maj.-gen. 1813.


Ponsonby, ‘naturally diffident, well-bred and unassuming’, was the spearhead of his family’s attempt to win a seat for county Londonderry in 1806, with the support of the Grenville ministry and the Catholic interest. He was defeated, failed in his petition and, though he offered again in 1807, withdrew on 22 May without going to a poll. In 1811 he proceeded to the Peninsula and enhanced his military reputation. He was returned unopposed for the county in absentia in 1812. It does not appear that he was able to attend the House until February 1815, when (as Sir William) he voted with opposition, of which his uncle was leader, against the transfer of Genoa, 21 Feb., and against the maintenance of the militia in peacetime, 28 Feb. No speech is recorded.

He was slain at Waterloo, in command of the Union brigade, 18 June 1815, and was honoured with a monument in St. Paul’s. Wellington paid tribute to him as ‘an ornament to his profession’.

Sir J. Ponsonby, Ponsonby Fam. 83; Gent. Mag. (1815), i. 629, 644.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp