MANGLES, James (1762-1838), of Woodbridge, nr. Guildford, Surr.

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



1831 - 1837

Family and Education

b. 26 July 1762,1 2nd or 3rd s. of Robert Mangles (d. 1788), ship chandler and oilman, of Wapping, Mdx. and Wanstead, Essex and w. Ann. m. 22 July 1791, Mary, da. of John Hughes of Guildford, 6s. (2 d.v.p.) 6da. (3 d.v.p.). d. 25 Sept. 1838.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Surr. 1808-9.


Mangles’s father may have been the Robert Mangles who was baptized at Tynemouth in March 1733; he certainly had property in the north-east of England, although he was for many years engaged in trade at Wapping.2 Mangles and his brother John were partners in their father’s chandlery business, which was bequeathed to them in 1788, but they were not relieved of their debts to him at that time.3 Trade directories indicate that their business (which another brother, Robert, had joined by 1805) subsequently expanded across the Thames to Rotherhithe, where they were listed as shipwrights in 1817 and as Mangles and Company, wharfingers, in 1820. Mangles signed the London merchants’ loyal declaration in 1795, when he was apparently resident in Hackney, but he had established himself as a landed proprietor at Woodbridge, Surrey, by 1803.4 While he maintained an interest in the mercantile concern at Rotherhithe, he was last named in the Wapping partnership in 1821. That year he was appointed deputy chairman of the Wey-Arun Junction Canal Company, and he assumed responsibility for the day-to-day running of this concern during its most profitable period, becoming chairman the year before his death.5 By the marriage of his daughter Caroline to the Rev. Arthur Onslow in 1815, Mangles became connected to a family with an established electoral interest at Guildford. He reportedly declined several invitations to contest the borough, but at the general election of 1831 he came forward as a supporter of the Grey ministry’s reform bill and was returned at the head of the poll, supplanting George Holme Sumner, an anti-reformer and spokesman for the agricultural interest (to whom he had given a plumper at the 1826 county election). He subsequently recorded his sense of ‘obligation’ at his election and said he would ‘feel bound to give up all his time and exertions for the service of the town and every individual in it’.6

He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and generally for its details, although he voted for the complete disfranchisement of Saltash, on which ministers failed to provide a clear lead, 26 July, and against the partial disfranchisement of Guildford, 29 July 1831. On the latter occasion he read extracts from his constituents’ petition to support his argument that a town ‘largely increasing both in population and in wealth’ should be permitted to retain both its Members. He voted for the bill’s third reading, 19 Sept., its passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He divided in the minorities for O’Connell’s motion to swear in the 11 members of the Dublin election committee, 29 July, and to postpone the issue of a new writ, 8 Aug., but voted to prosecute only those guilty of bribery and against the motion censuring the Irish administration for use of undue influence, 23 Aug. He supported a petition calling for the regulation of steam vessels, 3 Sept., and was in the minority for protection of the West Indian sugar trade, 12 Sept. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, which afforded Guildford a total reprieve, 17 Dec. 1831, and later gave an ‘elegant entertainment’ to members of the borough’s corporation.7 He voted steadily for the bill’s details, but was absent from the division on the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He voted for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure, 10 May, the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May, and against the Conservative amendment to increase Scotland’s county representation, 1 June. He divided against Hobhouse’s Vestry Act amendment bill, 23 Jan., and with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, relations with Portugal, 9 Feb., and military punishments, 16 Feb. He voted to make coroners’ inquests public, 20 July 1832.

Mangles was returned for Guildford at the general election of 1832 and sat as a Liberal until his defeat in 1837. He died in September 1838. It appears that he had acquired more real estate in Surrey, which he left to his wife with provision for his sons to exercise a right of purchase. Ross Donnelly Mangles (1801-77), Liberal Member for Guildford, 1841-58, and chairman of the East India Company, 1857-8, took up the option on the Woodbridge property, while Charles Edward Mangles (1798-1873), Liberal Member for Newport, 1857-9, took on the Poyle Park estate near Farnham. Mangles’s personal estate was sworn under £25,000.8

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Howard Spencer


  • 1. Ex. inf. Stephen Lees.
  • 2. Ibid.; IGI (Northumb.).
  • 3. PROB 11/1172/550.
  • 4. IGI (Mdx., Surr.).
  • 5. P.A.L. Vine, London’s Lost Route to the Sea, 91, 94, 114, 154, 253, 258.
  • 6. Gent. Mag. (1815), i. 641; Brighton Herald, 7 May, 22 Oct. 1831.
  • 7. Brighton Herald, 14 Jan. 1832.
  • 8. PROB 11/1902/655; IR26/1491/697; VCH Surr. iii. 20.