KINNERSLEY, William Shepherd (1780-1823), of High Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs. and Clough Hall, nr. Lawton, Cheshire

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1818 - 8 July 1823

Family and Education

b. 19 Nov. 1780, 1st s. of Thomas Kinnersley, banker, of Clough Hall and Mary, da. of Edward Shepherd of Sheffield, Yorks. unm. suc. fa. 1819. d. 8 July 1823.

Offices Held

Distributor of stamps, S. Staffs. 1807.

Mayor, Newcastle-under-Lyme 1810-11.

2nd lt. Newcastle vols. 1798, 1st lt. 1798, capt. 1803, (yeoman cav.) 1817-d.


Kinnersley’s father, ‘for many years an eminent banker’ in Newcastle-under-Lyme, was a leading local corporator and businessman, closely connected with the Trentham interest of Lord Stafford. In 1790 he erected the Partridge Nest ironworks at nearby Chesterton and on his death, 3 Nov. 1819, devised land, buildings, and mining interests worth £35,041 19s. 4d. to Kinnersley, leaving him ‘in most affluent circumstances’.1 Like his father, Kinnersley, who assumed control of the family’s banking concerns, was closely involved with the Fenton brothers, Thomas and Robert, who dominated Newcastle corporation. Their creation of 202 honorary freemen helped to ensure his return there in 1818, at a cost of ‘more’ than £6,000, when he was said to be ‘the most popular man in and of the town’.2

At the 1820 general election Kinnersley, who had organized ‘extensive’ improvements to the local public roads, offered again with the backing of the corporation and was returned at the top of the poll with a much increased majority.3 A poor attender, who is not known to have spoken in debate, when present he continued to give general support to the Liverpool ministry.4 He was granted three weeks’ leave on account of ill health, 26 June 1820. He divided against Catholic claims, 28 Feb. 1821, 30 Apr. 1822. He voted against parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821. On 21 Nov. 1821 Littleton, the county Member, noted in his diary how Kinnersley, ‘the banker at Newcastle, and Member for that borough’, was ‘quite overwhelmed today at the duke’s [Wellington] asking him to drink a glass of wine’.5 In his last known vote, he divided against more extensive tax reductions, 11 Feb. 1822.

Kinnersley died at Clough Hall in July 1823, ‘in the prime of life and the midst of usefulness’, following a ‘fall from his horse’ and a ‘violent haemorrhage’.6 By his will, dated 15 Feb. 1820 and proved under £70,000, he left an annuity of £500 to his mother Mary (1757-1825), £1,000 to each of his sisters in a trust administered by Thomas Fenton and his brother-in-law George Attwood, and £15,000 to his youngest brother, Edward (1788-1868). On the death of his sister Mary Attwood her legacy, under a codicil of 22 Apr. 1823, was to be transferred to her daughter Georgina. The residue, including the Clough Hall estate, passed to his brother Thomas (1782-1855), later co-founder of the Staffordshire Conservative Club, who added Kinnersley’s ‘large property’ to ‘a larger property immediately inherited from his father’, but despite many solicitations declined to come forward for the vacancy.7

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1819), ii. 568; The Potteries ed. A. Phillips (1993), 90; Staffs. Advertiser, 12 July 1823; IR26/870/159.
  • 2. S.M. Hardy and R.C. Baily, ‘Downfall of Gower Interest in Staffs. Boroughs’, Colls. Hist. Staffs. (1950-1), 276-78; Language, Print and Electoral Politics ed. H. Barker and D. Vincent, 160, 164; Derbys. RO, Catton ms D3155/WH/2932, Wilmot to Goderich, 18 Oct. 1827.
  • 3. Staffs. Advertiser, 19 Feb., 11 Mar. 1820.
  • 4. Black Bk. (1823), 168.
  • 5. Hatherton diary.
  • 6. Staffs. Advertiser, 12 July 1823.
  • 7. PROB 11/1681/90; IR26/1007/190; Dyott’s Diary, ii. 193; Add. 40369, f. 64; Staffs. Advertiser, 19 July 1823.