MARSHALL, William (1796-1872), of Patterdale Hall, Westmld.

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



1826 - 1830
1830 - 1831
1831 - 1832
1835 - 1847
1847 - 1868

Family and Education

b. 26 May 1796, 1st s. of John Marshall* and Jane, da. of William Pollard of Halifax, Yorks.; bro. of James Garth Marshall† and John Marshall†. educ. privately by Dr. Thomas Whitaker of Holme, Lancs.; St. John’s, Camb. 1814; L. Inn 1819, I. Temple 1824, called 1824. m. 16 June 1828, Georgiana Cristiana, da. of George Hibbert†, W.I. merchant, of Munden, Herts., 4s. 4da. suc. fa. 1845. d. 16 May 1872.

Offices Held


Marshall had no direct involvement in his family’s Leeds flax-spinning and linen business, but he reaped the rewards of its success. On his 28th birthday in 1824 his father gave him the estate of Patterdale, on the southern tip of Ullswater, in the shadow of Helvellyn, which was worth £13,000. He may briefly have gone the northern circuit after his call to the bar that year, but mostly he lived in style in London, drawing £700 a year in pin money from his father. In 1830 he was given £5,000, and he received £20,000 of Louisiana stock in 1832 and by 1839 had been furnished with other property valued at £15,000.1 At the general election of 1826 his father, having unexpectedly secured the nomination as the second Whig candidate for Yorkshire, gave William the seat for Petersfield on the Jolliffe interest which he had bought for himself the previous year.

Marshall shared his father’s politics (though he was not admitted to Brooks’s Club until 1846) and interest in Utililitarian doctrine. He was not the most assiduous of attenders in the 1826 Parliament. He was in the minority of 24 for Hume’s amendment to the address, 21 Nov. 1826, and voted against the duke of Clarence’s grant, 16 Feb. 1827. He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He voted in small minorities for relaxation of the corn laws, 9, 12, 27 Mar. 1827, and again, 22, 29 Apr. 1828. He divided for information on the Lisburn Orange procession, 29 Mar. 1827, but not for the opposition motion to withhold supply next day, when he was named as a defaulter. He was in the minorities for inquiry into the Irish estimates and information on chancery delays, 5 Apr. He spoke and voted for the Penryn disfranchisement bill, 28 May 1827. He was one of Hume’s minority of eight for reductions in the navy estimates, 12 Feb. 1828. That day and on 15 and 21 Feb. he presented petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, for which he voted, 26 Feb. He divided against the Wellington ministry on chancery delays, 24 Apr., and crown proceedings for the recovery of excise penalties, 1 May 1828. He divided for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He was in the minorities for transferring East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May, and allowing O’Connell to take his seat without swearing the oath of supremacy, 18 May 1829. Next day he spoke and was a minority teller for Hume’s motion for a fixed duty on corn imports. He was one of the Whigs who voted with government against the amendment to the address, 4 Feb., but he sided against them for tax reductions, 15 Feb., and cuts in the army estimates, 19, 22, 23 Feb. 1830. He again divided to give East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., 5, 15 Mar., when he was in O’Connell’s minority to adopt the ballot there. He voted for Lord Blandford’s parliamentary reform scheme, 18 Feb., to enfranchise Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., and to investigate the Newark petition complaining of the duke of Newcastle’s electoral interference, 1 Mar. He was appointed to the select committee on the East India Company, 6 Feb. 1830 (and again, 28 June 1831, 27 Jan. 1832). He voted to ban Members from voting in committee on bills in which they had a personal stake, 26 Feb.; against the appointment of a treasurer of the navy, 12 Mar.; to reduce the ordnance estimates, 29 Mar., the army estimates, 30 Apr., and the public buildings grant, 3 May; to condemn the government’s involvement in the Terceira episode, 28 Apr.; to cut the salary of the assistant treasury secretary, 10 May; to consider abolition of the Irish lord lieutenancy, 11 May, and to repeal the Irish coal duties, 13 May. He voted for Jewish emancipation, 17 May 1830.

At the general election that summer he was returned for the venal borough of Leominster after a token contest. Ministers listed him among their ‘foes’, and he voted to bring them down on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He was in the minority of 39 for reducing the duty on wheat imported to the West Indies, 12 Nov. He presented a constituency petition for the abolition of slavery, 17 Nov. 1830. On 7 Mar. 1831 he secured a return of stamp duties on bills of exchange. He divided for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he stood as a reformer for the venal borough of Beverley with the backing of the retiring Member Daniel Sykes. On the hustings, he asked:

What kept up all the monopolies? The interest which Members of the House of Commons had in them. Why were expensive colonies maintained? Because they promoted the interests of a small body who had parliamentary influence. ... Do away with the East India monopoly, and they would be allowed to trade with 30 millions of fellow subjects. Would that be brought about by reform? To be sure it would.

He overcame the initial hostility of the out-voters, who were to be disfranchised by the reform bill, and was returned at the head of the poll.2

Marshall voted for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, at least twice against the adjournment, 12 July 1831, and steadily for the details of the measure, though he was in the minority for the total disfranchisement of Saltash, 26 July. On 14 July he presented the petition of resident householders of the Beverley out-parish of St. John asking to be admitted to the borough franchise. He divided for the passage of the bill, 21 Sept., and for the motion of confidence in the ministry, 10 Oct. He was in the minority for printing the Waterford petition for disarming the Irish yeomanry, 11 Aug. He voted for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831. He again generally supported its details in the lobbies, but he was in the minority of 32 who voted to expunge the clause enfranchising £50 tenants in the counties, 3 Feb. 1832. He divided for the third reading, 22 Mar., for the address asking the king to appoint only ministers who would carry undiluted reform, 10 May, for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May, and against a Conservative amendment to the Scottish measure, 1 July. He was in the minority for Hobhouse’s vestry reform bill, 23 Jan. He divided with government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 20 July, relations with Portugal, 9 Feb., and the navy civil departments bill, 6 Apr., but against them to reduce the barracks grant, 2 July 1832.

Marshall did not seek re-election in 1832, but sat as ‘a radical reformer’ from 1835 until his defeat in 1868, at the age of 72.3 He profited handsomely from his father’s death in 1845 and died a wealthy man in May 1872.4

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Martin Casey


  • 1. W.G. Rimmer, Marshalls of Leeds, 114.
  • 2. Hull Packet, 3 May 1831.
  • 3. Dod’s Parl. Companion.
  • 4. The Times, 20 May 1872.