NEALE (formerly BURRARD), Sir Harry, 2nd bt. (1765-1840), of Walhampton, nr. Lymington, Hants.

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



1790 - 1802
1806 - 1807
1812 - 24 Mar. 1823
1832 - 1834

Family and Education

b. 16 Sept. 1765, 1st s. of Col. William Burrard, gov. Yarmouth Castle, I.o.W., and 2nd w. Mary, da. of Dr. Joseph Pearce of Lymington. educ. Christchurch g.s. m. 15 Apr. 1795, Grace Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Robert Neale of Shaw House, Melksham, Wilts., taking name of Neale by sign manual 8 Apr. 1795, s.p. suc fa. 1780; uncle Sir Harry Burrard†, 1st bt., of Walhampton as 2nd bt. 12 Apr. 1791; KCB 2 Jan. 1815; GCB 14 Sept. 1822; GCMG 1824. d. 7 Feb. 1840.

Offices Held

Entered RN 1778, lt. 1787, cdr. 1790, capt. 1793, r.-adm. 1810, v.-adm. 1814; c.-in-c. Mediterranean 1823-6; adm. 1830.

Groom of bedchamber 1801-12, (Windsor) 1812-20; ld. of admiralty Jan.-Sept. 1804, Feb. 1806-Apr. 1807.

Lt.-col. Lymington vol. inf. 1803-5; riding forester, New Forest 1813-20; recorder, Lymington 1824.1


Neale enjoyed royal favour for his part in quelling the mutiny at the Nore in 1797 and his naval career always took precedence over Parliament.2 At the 1820 general election he was returned again for his local borough of Lymington, where his family’s influence had long been dominant. A lax and silent attender, for whom there is no trace of activity for 1820, when present he continued to give silent support to the Liverpool ministry. He voted against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr., and reduction of the grants for the adjutant general’s office, 11 Apr., and miscellaneous services, 9 May 1821. He divided against more extensive tax reductions, 11, 21 Feb., and abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822. Next year he relinquished his seat on his appointment as commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. In 1824 he presided over the blockade and subsequent bombardment of Algiers, imposed in response to an outrage committed on the British consulate. In the ensuing negotiation the Algerian dey agreed to abide by the terms of an 1816 treaty on consular rights and European slavery, but refused to accept the reinstatement of the British consul, Hugh McDonell, claiming that his personal safety could not be guaranteed.3 John Croker*, the admiralty secretary, was critical of Neale’s failure to insist on this, and the chilly response to Neale’s exculpatory dispatch led him to believe that others in authority shared this view.4 When William Shaler, the American consul in the city, referred in print to the ‘tameness exhibited by the British admiral in the negotiations’, Neale took up his pen to explain that McDonell was ‘personally objectionable to the dey, and not without sufficient reason’. With the benefit of hindsight, an obituarist was inclined to compare Neale’s command favourably with that of his more bellicose successor, Sir Edward Codrington.5

On Neale’s return from sea he was presented with a congratulatory address from 40 Lymington tradesmen, 11 May 1827.6 Judging from the votes of his nominees, it appears that he swallowed the Wellington ministry’s concession of Catholic emancipation in 1829. In a letter apparently written at the following year’s dissolution, Neale advised one of the Members that the ‘circumstance of the times’ dictated that he must resume his seat, ‘much against my inclination’. Nothing came of this, but he opposed the Grey ministry’s reform bill through his nominees and sought Peel’s recommendation for the return he made at the 1831 general election.7 That October he urged his friend Sir Thomas Byam Martin not to blight his chances of an honour by actively opposing the revised reform bill, which in a modified form it might be ‘desirable to pass’, but defended the role of the bishops in the rejection of the previous bill:

People in the violence of party spirit seem to forget that ... bishops ought also to exercise spiritual influence ... in order that they may be a wholesome check when a temporal preponderance is likely to overbalance and to endanger the church ... If they are to be debarred the exercise of all political influence, what power can they have in the state to stem the tide of levelling principles that would overturn the church?8

Although the enlargement of Lymington by the Boundary Act was far from detrimental to Neale’s interest, he could no longer simply nominate the Members, a consideration which seems to have led him to contest the borough as a Conservative at the 1832 general election. His local prestige was sufficient to guarantee his return, a point acknowledged by his opponents when they lampooned him as ‘his imperial majesty, the king of Lymington’.9 His return to Westminster, however, was considered an obstacle to his appointment to the command at Portsmouth, which he had been offered in August 1832 by Sir James Graham, the first lord of the admiralty, in recognition of his ‘distinguished services and high character in the profession’. After an angry correspondence Neale declined it rather than relinquish his seat, which he held until the next dissolution. The family historian postulates that the alleged conflict of interest was invented by Graham, and stemmed from the active support given by Neale to the victorious Conservative candidate at the 1832 South Hampshire election. According to Croker, William IV, at whose behest the original offer had been made, invited Neale to spend a week with him at Brighton, ‘to show the fellows and the world his real sentiments’. Neale, who had also enjoyed the friendship of the duke of York, acted as a pall bearer at the king’s funeral.10

Neale died at Brighton in February 1840, when the baronetcy and residue of his estate passed to his brother, the Rev. George Burrard (1769-1856), rector of Shalfleet, Isle of Wight. The only large bequest contained in his will was one of £2,000 to his widowed sister Marianne Rooke.11 Two hundred Lymington inhabitants spontaneously attended his funeral and, at a meeting shortly afterwards, a fund was started to raise a monument to him. The Queen Dowager Adelaide was among the subscribers, and the 76-feet-high obelisk, designed to serve as a navigational aid for sailors in the Solent, was completed two years later.12

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Authors: Howard Spencer / Philip Salmon


  • 1. Hants RO 27M74/DBC5.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. (1840), i. 540-2.
  • 3. R.L. Playfair, Scourge of Christendom, 288-305; S. Burrard, Annals of Walhampton, 131; Martin Letters (Navy Recs. Soc. xix), 78-82.
  • 4. Martin Letters, 85-91; Add. 41367, f. 234.
  • 5. W. Shaler, Sketches of Algiers (1826), 212; Neale, Reply to Erroneous Statements and Unwarranted Reflections (1826), passim; Gent. Mag. (1840), i. 541.
  • 6. Hants RO 27M74/F88.
  • 7. Ibid. F102, Neale to Boyd [?1830], to Peel [Apr. 1831].
  • 8. Add. 41368, f. 206.
  • 9. C.P. Jones, Hist. Lymington, 141-5.
  • 10. Burrard, 131-50; Croker Pprs. ii. 199-200
  • 11. PROB 11/1924/189; IR26/1557/159.
  • 12. Gent. Mag. (1840), i. 542; Burrard, 151-4.