RASHLEIGH, William (1777-1855), of Menabilly, Cornw.

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



1812 - 1818

Family and Education

b. 11 Jan. 1777, s. of Rev. Jonathan Rashleigh of Silverton, Devon, 3rd s. of Jonathan Rashleigh and bro. of Philip Rashleigh*, by 1st w. Catherine, da. of Rev. William Stackhouse, DD, of Trehane, Cornw. m. (1) 29 Dec. 1807, Rachel (d. 2 Sept. 1813), da. of William Stack-house of Trehane, 2da. d.v.p.; (2) 23 July 1816, Caroline, da. of Henry Hinxman of Ivychurch, Wilts., 2s. 4da. suc. fa. 1795; uncle Philip Rashleigh to Menabilly 1811.

Offices Held

Mayor, Lostwithiel 1802, 1808; sheriff, Cornw. 1820-1.

Capt. R. Stannary artillery 1803.


Rashleigh inherited the Menabilly estate in 1811 and with it a parliamentary interest in a seat at Fowey, on the strength of which he returned himself in 1812. His late uncle had retired from Parliament in 1802 and Rashleigh displaced Reginald Pole Carew to become the eighth member of his family to represent Fowey. His conduct in Parliament was thoroughly independent, and although he was listed a supporter by the Treasury no vote of his with them is known. No speech is known either, but he voted in favour of Catholic relief throughout the Parliament and divided frequently with opposition from 1814 onwards. Thus he was not in favour of expelling Lord Cochrane, 5 July 1814; supported Althorp’s motion against the expenses of the Prince Regent, 31 May 1815, and was also unfavourable to the grant to the Duke of Cumberland, 29 June, 3 July 1815, and to the Duke of Clarence, 15 Apr. 1818. He voted for retrenchment, 8 Mar., 25 Apr., 6, 24 May 1816, and with the majority opposed the continuation of the property tax, 18 Mar., and the public revenue bill, 17 June. He voted for a committee on the Bank, 19 Jan. 1817. He supported Burdett’s motion on parliamentary reform, 20 May 1817, and twice opposed the lottery bill that session.

Rashleigh did not seek re-election in 1818, having in February 1817 sold his interest at Fowey which he wished to be ‘perfectly rid of’. The family had grown weary of the problems of managing Fowey, and Rashleigh’s quarrel with his uncle Charles over them exacerbated matters.1 Yet after he had disposed of the property, Rashleigh did what he could to support the Lucy interest and remained on the corporation to that end until July 1820.2 He died 14 May 1855.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Pole Carew mss CC/L/49, Rashleigh to Pole Carew, 7 Sept. 1816.
  • 2. Cornw. RO, Rashleigh mss DDR 5492.