SANDERSON, Richard (?1783-1857), of 52 Upper Harley Street, Mdx. and 23 Lombard Street , London

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



20 Apr. 1829 - 1830
1832 - 1847

Family and Education

bap. 4 Jan. 1784, yr. s. of Thomas Sanderson of Armthorpe, nr. Doncaster, Yorks. and Sarah, da. of John Cromack of Doncaster.1 m. 12 Feb. 1833, Charlotte Matilda, da. of Charles Manners Sutton*, at least 6s. 4da. d. 28 Oct. 1857.

Offices Held


Sanderson came from an old south Yorkshire family, but little is known of his antecedents. His father may have been the son of John and Margaret Sanderson who was baptized at Armthorpe on 16 Apr. 1751. His parents married at Doncaster on 27 June 1775 and his brother Thomas was baptized at Armthorpe on 13 June 1779.2 He may have had a Quaker upbringing, and as a young man he became a clerk in the London bill broking firm of Richardson, Overend and Company of 23 Lombard Street, in which the Norfolk Quaker Samuel Gurney was a partner.3 By 1827 Sanderson was operating on his own account as a bill broker at 32 Lombard Street, while Gurney’s business had become known as Overend, Gurney and Company. These two firms, together with those of the Alexanders and James Bruce, dominated the London bill broking market in the late 1820s.4

Sanderson, by now a very wealthy man, was taken up by the anti-Catholic and Tory corporation of Colchester in April 1829 to replace their member Sir George Smyth when he resigned his seat in disgust at the Wellington ministry’s concession of Catholic emancipation. He was returned after a token challenge had come to nothing, and declared that he wished to promote ‘the education of the poor’ and help to ‘put an end to the traffic in human blood’.5 He took his seat on 28 Apr. According to a Colchester newspaper, he voted against allowing Daniel O’Connell to take his seat for Clare without swearing the oath of supremacy, 18 May.6 At a Colchester dinner to celebrate his return, 17 July 1829, he said that although ‘nothing of great importance’ had so far ‘come under discussion’ in the House, he was ready when required to ‘stand forward in support of those principles which he had publicly avowed’.7 He divided with government against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., Lord Blandford’s parliamentary reform scheme, 18 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. 1830. He was erroneously reported to have voted in the minority for reduction of the salary of the assistant secretary to the treasury, 10 May.8 He is not known to have spoken in debate in this period, but on 11 May he presented Colchester and Harwich petitions against the sale of beer bill. As a businessman, he petitioned the Commons (14 May) for abolition of the death penalty for forgery; and he voted in that sense, 7 June 1830.

Sanderson offered for Colchester at the general election the following month but he had to withdraw at the last minute when one of his agents was detected in an act of bribery.9 At the 1831 general election he stood, with corporation backing, in an attempt to prevent the return of two uncompromising reformers. When he went to canvass Colchester out-voters at Harwich, an angry mob forced his carriage into a pond. On the hustings he professed to accept

the necessity of parliamentary reform ... Approving ... much of the [Grey ministry’s reform bill] ... I doubt the ... necessity of some of its provisions. Agreeing in the extension of the franchise to large and populous places, yet I cannot see the wisdom and justice of seizing on the property and charters of unoffending towns and depriving them of their rights.

While he polled very respectably, he finished third.10 At the general election of 1832 he had a resounding victory; and by dint of his wealth he sat for Colchester, as a Conservative who opposed the Maynooth grant and repeal of the corn laws, until his defeat at the 1847 general election.11 In 1833 he married the Speaker’s daughter, with whom he had a large family. By 1837 he had moved his business premises to 83 King William Street. The firm had to suspend payment in September 1847, but was able to resume trading early the following year.12 Sanderson died at Hazlewood, Hertfordshire, in October 1857. Two weeks later his business, known since 1850 as Sanderson, Sandeman and Company, failed irrevocably with liabilities of £5,299,006.13 By his brief will, dated 26 Sept. 1854, he left £3,000 to his wife, who lived until 1898, and divided the residue of his property equally among his children. His son Thomas Henry Sanderson (1841-1923) was a stalwart of the foreign office for 47 years and was created Lord Sanderson in 1905.14

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. IGI (Yorks.).
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Essex Rev. viii (1899), 238.
  • 4. Sir J. Clapham, Bank of England, ii. 142-3.
  • 5. Colchester Gazette, 11, 25 Apr. 1829.
  • 6. Ibid. 30 May 1829.
  • 7. Ibid. 18 July 1829.
  • 8. Ibid. 15 May; The Times, 17 May; Kent and Essex Mercury, 18 May 1830.
  • 9. Colchester Gazette, 10, 31 July 1830.
  • 10. Ibid. 30 Apr., 7 May; Gurney diary, 3 May; The Times, 6 May 1831.
  • 11. A.F.J. Brown, Colchester, 84, 87, 120; Add. 40406, f. 93.
  • 12. Clapham, ii. 204; The Times, 15, 16, 20, 21 Sept., 13 Oct., 11 Dec. 1847.
  • 13. Gent. Mag. (1857), ii. 687; Overstone Corresp. ii. 762-3, 779-80, 783-5, 787, 799, 810, 814, 819.
  • 14. Oxford DNB; The Times, 22 Mar. 1923.