SHAFTO, Robert Eden Duncombe (1776-1848), of Whitworth Park, co. Dur.

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



5 Mar. 1804 - 1806

Family and Education

b. 23 Mar. 1776, 2nd s. of Robert Shafto of Whitworth by Anne, da. and h. of Thomas Duncombe of Duncombe Park, Yorks. and Barford Park, Wilts. m. 25 Oct. 1803,1 his cos. Catherine, da. of Sir John Eden, 4th Bt., of Windlestone, co. Dur., 6s. 2da. suc. bro. John 1802.

Offices Held


Shafto became ‘a young man of affluent fortune’2 when he succeeded his elder brother to the family estates, about seven miles from Durham, in 1802. The following year he married the daughter of his second cousin Sir John Eden, a former Whig Member for the county. When the election for Durham of Richard Wharton was declared void in 1804, the corporation and a group of freemen, resenting Wharton’s attempt to foist a Northumbrian on them, invited Shafto, whose grandfather and great uncle had represented the city, 1712-13 and 1729-42, to come forward. After declining at first, he complied, and was returned after a contest.3

Shafto, who did not take his seat until 9 May 1804, opposed Pitt’s additional force bill in June, was listed under ‘Fox and Grenville’ in September and voted against government on the Melville scandal, 8 Apr. and 12 June 1805. He joined Brooks’s on 5 June and was classed as ‘Opposition’ in July. He supported his Whig friends in power and voted for the repeal of the Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806.

He is not known to have spoken in the House. He offered again for Durham at the general election but, overawed by the prospect of an expensive contest with Wharton who, as a Pittite, had secured the financial backing of Lord Lowther, he withdrew with a bad grace.4 He died 17 Jan. 1848.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Winifred Stokes


  • 1. Lambeth Palace Lib. mss 2886, p. 20.
  • 2. J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1806), 479.
  • 3. The Times, 2 Mar. 1804.
  • 4. Newcastle Chron. 25 Oct., 1 Nov. 1806.