PALK, Sir Lawrence Vaughan, 3rd bt. (1793-1860), of Haldon House, nr. Exeter, Devon

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



1818 - 1831

Family and Education

b. 24 Apr. 1793, 1st s. of Lawrence Palk of Haldon† and 2nd w. Lady Dorothy Elizabeth Vaughan, da. of Wilmot Vaughan, 1st earl of Lisburne [I]†. educ. Eton 1808; Christ Church, Oxf. 1812. m. (1) 9 Dec. 1815, his cos. Anna Eleanora (d. 25 Jan. 1846), da. of Sir Bourchier Wrey, 7th bt., of Tawstock, Devon, wid. of Edward Hartopp of Little Dalby, Melton Mowbray, Leics., 3s. 2da.; (2) c. 1848,1 Phillipine Anne Victoire, 1da.2 suc. fa. as 3rd bt. 20 June 1813. d. 16 May 1860.

Offices Held

Capt. 2 Devon militia 1813; ensign E. Devon militia 1835.


Palk inherited his father’s property in Ashburton and Torquay and the residue of his personal estate, which was sworn under £70,000 in 1813. He carried on his father’s urban development project in Torquay, although the Ashburton estate had to be heavily mortgaged to provide the capital and he was left with ‘scarcely enough ready cash to provide ... a suitable income’.3 In 1818 he returned himself for Ashburton, where he was the joint lord of the manor, and he was unopposed at the next three general elections. He was an occasional attender who continued to give silent support to Lord Liverpool’s ministry.4 He was granted three weeks’ leave on account of family illness, 14 June 1820. He voted in defence of ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821. He divided against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, and the removal of Catholic peers’ disabilities, 30 Apr. 1822. He voted against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821, more extensive tax reductions, 11 Feb. 1822, and Scottish parliamentary reform, 2 June 1823. He divided against Catholic claims, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and the Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr. 1825. He voted for the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 6, 10 June 1825. At the general election of 1826 he nominated the Tory Member for Devon, Edmund Pollexfen Bastard.5 He was granted three weeks’ leave, having served on an election committee, 21 Mar. 1827. He divided against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He attended the Devon county meeting, 16 Jan. 1829, when he sat with the supporters of the Protestant cause.6 The following month Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, predicted that he would side ‘with government’ for emancipation, but he voted steadily against it, 6, 18, 23, 27, 30 Mar. He divided for Lord Duncannon’s registration amendment to the Irish freeholders bill, 20 Mar. 1829, and against Lord Blandford’s parliamentary reform motion, 18 Feb. 1830.

After the 1830 general election Palk was listed among the ‘moderate Ultras’, but with the additional note that he was a ‘sincere friend’ of ministers; he indeed voted with them in the crucial civil list division, 15 Nov. 1830. He divided against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he was challenged by the independent interest at Ashburton, and though he ‘admitted some reform to be necessary’ his refusal to pledge support for the bill ‘cost him his seat’; he came bottom of the poll after a contest lasting six days.7 In September he put his Ashburton estate on the market, but legal complications delayed its sale until 1845. Meantime, he continued to develop his Torquay property, from which his family ‘made a second great fortune’.8 He resided latterly at Versailles. He died in May 1860 and was succeeded by his eldest son Lawrence Palk (1818-83), Conservative Member for South Devon, 1854-68, and East Devon, 1868-80, who was created Baron Haldon in 1880.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Terry Jenkins


  • 1. IGI (pedigree resource files).
  • 2. According to Dod’s Baronetage (1860). Burke PB names 2da. with his 1st w., but his will refers to three.
  • 3. PROB 11/1546/378; IR26/589/558; H. Hanham, ‘Ashburton as a Parliamentary Borough, 1640-1868’, Trans. Devon Assoc. xcviii (1966), 231, 240.
  • 4. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 479.
  • 5. Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, 15 June 1826.
  • 6. Western Times, 17 Jan. 1829.
  • 7. Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post, 5, 12 May 1831.
  • 8. Hanham, 240-1; W. Hoskins, Devon, 500-2.