SIMPSON, Hon. John (1763-1850), of Babworth Hall, Notts.

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



1784 - July 1785
9 Sept. 1794 - 1820

Family and Education

b. 13 May 1763, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Henry Bridgeman*, 5th Bt., and brother of Orlando Bridgeman*. m. (1) 23 June 1784,1 Henrietta Frances (d. 2 Aug. 1791), da. of Sir Thomas Worsley, 6th Bt., of Appuldurcombe, I.o.W., 1s. d.v.p., 1da. surv.; (2) 27 Nov. 1793, Grace, da. of Samuel Estwick I*, 7s. 6da. suc. uncle Lindley Simpson of Babworth and took name of Simpson May 1785; cos. Charlotte, da. and h. of Joseph Addison to Bilton, Warws. estate 1797.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Notts. 1794-5.

Cornet, Notts. yeomanry 1796; lt.-col. Derbys. militia 1797.


Having previously served as a seat-warmer for George Forester, Simpson was again returned for Wenlock when his father was raised to the peerage. In his first Parliament he had followed his father in opposing Pitt. He joined the Whig Club, 3 Apr. 1786, and Brooks’s Club, 15 Dec. 1792. On his return to Westminster he was expected to support Pitt’s administration with the Portland Whigs: but he was negligent. He was never opposed at Wenlock, but his was the more vulnerable of the two seats and his return depended on the regular endorsement of the independent interest there. Temperament and circumstance thus combined to make him an unpredictable independent, though his obituary classed him one ‘of the old Whig school’.2 Only one speech of his is known, 5 Dec. 1797, when he objected to the framework (not the principle) of Lord Belgrave’s election treating bill and said he might substitute another: but nothing came of it.

Simpson appears to have voted with opposition for Grey’s amendment to the address, 2 Feb. 1801, unless it was his namesake, the Member for Mitchell. He was listed a supporter of Pitt’s second administration, but voted for the censure of Melville, 8 Apr. 1805. He was expected to support the Portland administration. In March 1810 the Whigs listed him ‘hopeful’, but he did not raise their hopes until late that year when he was described as having deserted government on the adjournment, 29 Nov.3 He further joined opposition on the Regency, 1 and 21 Jan. 1811, on Turton’s censure motion, 27 Feb. 1812, and on the orders in council, 3 Mar. 1812. On 24 Apr. 1812 he voted for Catholic relief: but not subsequently. (His constituents produced an anti-Catholic petition in December 1812, which his agent assured him was favoured by the influential burgesses.4 He absented himself on the issue in 1813, though regarded as favourable.) He opposed the leather tax, 1 July 1812.

Simpson was not on the list of Treasury supporters after the election of 1812. There is little evidence of his attendance during that Parliament. He paired with opposition for inquiry into the Regent’s expenditure, 31 May 1815. A year later he contemplated retiring in favour of his nephew Lord Newport when a dissolution was rumoured. He did not do so, but in the next Parliament only one vote is known, in favour of Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May 1819. After this bold gesture, Simpson retired in 1820, though his nephew declined to offer as his successor. He died 5 June 1850, best known as an agricultural improver in Nottinghamshire.5

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: M. H. Port / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1784), i. 475; Collins’s Peerage has 3 June.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. (1850), ii. 90.
  • 3. Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 5 Dec. [1810].
  • 4. Salop RO, Forester mss 1224/337, Simpson to Pritchard, 26 Dec., reply 30 Dec. 1812.
  • 5. Bradford mss, Bradford to Weld Forester, 19 Nov. 1816; Forester mss 1224/337, Simpson to Weld Forester, 16 Feb., to Pritchard, 25 Feb. 1820; Throsby, Notts. iii. 449.