LYON, David (?1794-1872), of 34 Grosvenor Square, Mdx.

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



11 Jan. 1831 - 1832

Family and Education

b. ? 1794, 3rd s. of David Lyon (d. 1827), W.I. merchant, of Mincing Lane, London and Isabella, da. of John Read of Cairney, Forfar; bro. of William Lyon*. educ. Harrow 1809. m. 1848, Blanche, da. of Rev. Edward John Bury, rect. of Lichfield, Hants, s.p. d. 8 Apr. 1872.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Suss. 1851-2


Lyon was a descendant of Sir Thomas Lyon of Auldbar, Forfarshire, the master of Glamis and lord high treasurer of Scotland, who died in 1608. His grandfather John Lyon lived at Castle Lyon, Perthshire and Kinnaird, Forfarshire, and married Jane Ochterlony of Pitforthy, Forfarshire, the aunt of General Sir David Ochterlony (1758-1825), the conqueror of Nepal. His father was in business in London as a West India merchant, with interests and property in Jamaica. Lyon seems to have been the only one of five brothers to have participated in the family business, and he was listed in the directories as a merchant at 5 Lime Street Square until 1831. He was appointed to the standing committee of the London West India merchants and planters in 1822, but played little part in their proceedings.1 He was named as the residuary legatee of his father’s estate in 1827, and apparently benefited to the tune of about £171,000.2 His subsequent political conduct suggests that he was not the David Lyon who joined Brooks’s Club, 23 May 1829. In January 1831 he was returned in absentia on a vacancy for Bere Alston on Lord Beverley’s controlling interest, after an attempt to open the borough by extending the franchise beyond the burgage holders had been thwarted.3

He took his seat, 10 Feb. 1831, but is not known to have spoken in debate during his brief parliamentary career. He divided against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and paired for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he came in again for Bere Alston with Beverley’s son, after a token contest organized on behalf of two members of the government.4 He divided against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July 1831. He voted for an adjournment motion, 12 July, to use the 1831 census for the purpose of determining the disfranchisement schedules, 19 July, and to postpone consideration of Chippenham’s inclusion in schedule B, 27 July. However, he voted with government to include St. Germans in schedule A, 26 July. He divided against the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. He presented a local landowners’ petition against the Llanelli tithes bill, 18 July 1831. His only other recorded votes were against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, and the third reading of the revised reform bill, 22 Mar. 1832. He took a pair for a week in May 1832.5

Bere Alston was disfranchised by the Reform Act and Lyon was never again in the House. On the eve of the general election of 1835 he reported the prospects of Conservative success at Arundel to Francis Bonham*, the election manager, with whom he was on friendly enough terms to feel able to advise him that William Holmes*, the whip, appeared to be ‘excessively angry’ with him.6 Not long after retiring from Parliament he purchased the estate and castle at Goring, near Worthing, Sussex,7 and he also bought Balintore Castle in Forfarshire, not far from Glamis. In 1848 he married the daughter of the novelist Lady Charlotte Bury (née Campbell) and her second husband. He died in Nice ‘aged 77’, in April 1872, and left Goring and Balintore to his only surviving brother William, and other property in Sussex to his nephew Arthur James Fremantle.8

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Inst. of Commonwealth Stud. M915/4/1/10.
  • 2. The personalty was sworn under £600,000 (PROB 11/1728/438; IR26/1135/590).
  • 3. R. Devonport Telegraph, 15 Jan. 1831.
  • 4. Ibid. 30 Apr., 7 May 1831.
  • 5. The Times, 14 May 1832.
  • 6. Add. 40405, f. 98; 40617, f. 11.
  • 7. Suss. Arch. Coll. xvi. (1864), 187.
  • 8. The Times, 13 Apr., 6 July 1872.