WILLOUGHBY, Henry (1780-1849), of Birdsall and Settrington, nr. Malton, Yorks.

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



8 Feb. 1805 - 29 Jan. 1831

Family and Education

b. 15 Dec. 1780, 3rd but o. surv. s. of Rev. James Willoughby, rect. of Guiseley, and Eleanor, da. and coh. of James Hobson of Kirby Moorside. educ. Rugby 1795; Christ’s, Camb. 1799; L. Inn 1802, called 1808. m. 20 June 1815, Charlotte, da. of the Ven. John Eyre, adn. of Nottingham, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1816. d. 20 Nov. 1849.

Offices Held

Capt. York vol. inf. 1803; capt.-lt. N. regt. W. Riding yeoman cav. 1810, capt. 1814; capt. commdt. Wollaton vols. 1817; lt.-col. S. Notts. yeoman cav. 1826-35.


Willoughby’s re-election for Newark on the interest of his cousin the 6th Baron Middleton in 1820 was uncontested. He continued to support the Liverpool ministry when present, but he was a very lax attender.1 He was given leave of absence on account of ill health, 23 June 1820 and 18 Feb. 1825. He divided against more extensive tax reductions, 11, 21 Feb., and abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822. He voted against relieving Catholic peers of their disabilities, 30 Apr. 1822, and against Catholic claims, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He chaired the Nottingham Pitt Club dinner in May 1822.2 He voted against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr.,3 and inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. 1823. He presented Newark corporation’s anti-slavery petition, 27 Feb. 1826. He topped the poll there at the general election in June. He presented a constituency petition against Catholic relief, 5 Mar. 1827, and voted thus the following day. He took three weeks’ leave on account of a family illness, 23 Mar., and was again granted leave, having served on an election committee, 14 May 1827. He voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and Catholic relief, 12 May 1828. In the debate on corruption at East Retford, 6 Mar., he endorsed the petition of Jonathan Fox, who had been committed to Newgate for withholding evidence at the bar of the House, and called for his release. Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, was ‘doubtful’ as to how he would vote on Catholic emancipation in February 1829, but in the event he proved to be one of its diehard opponents in the lobbies. He presented hostile petitions from Nottinghamshire, 17 Mar. He voted against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May 1829. At the Newark dinner to celebrate the return of the anti-Catholic Sadler, 24 July 1829, Willoughby justified his hostility to emancipation on the ground that Catholicism was ‘diametrically opposed to the British constitution’, argued that education and a resident gentry were the only reliable means of dispelling ‘the mists of ignorance, error and superstition’ in Ireland and denounced the liberal economic policies of Huskisson.4 In October 1829 Sir Richard Vyvyan*, the Ultra leader, listed him as one of the ‘Tories strongly opposed to the present government’. He voted with them against the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., but divided to cut military expenditure, 19 Feb. 1830. He presented a Newark petition against the sale of beer bill, 5 Apr., and voted against its second reading, 4 May 1830. Criticized at the general election that summer for neglecting his parliamentary duties, he admitted to ‘a temporary absence’ on account of family bereavement and appealed to the finer feelings of his constituents. He was returned with Sadler after a contest.5 Ministers classed him as one of the ‘moderate Ultras’, and he voted against them in the division on the civil list which brought them down, 15 Nov. 1830. Early the following year he retired from Parliament on the pretext of ‘particular circumstances connected with my family’.6

Willoughby, who was heir presumptive to the 7th Baron Middleton, died at Apsley Hall, Nottinghamshire in November 1849.7 By his will, dated 1 Dec. 1837, he provided for his youngest children and devised his estates to his eldest son Henry Willoughby (1817-77), who succeeded as 8th Baron Middleton in 1856. His personalty was sworn under £5,000, with residue of £1,718.8

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Simon Harratt


  • 1. Black Bk. (1823), 203; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 491.
  • 2. Nottingham Jnl. 1 June 1822.
  • 3. The Times, 21 Apr. 1823.
  • 4. Full Report of Newark Dinner, 24 July 1829, pp. 4-5.
  • 5. Nottingham Jnl. 7, 14 Aug. 1830.
  • 6. Lincoln and Newark Times, 9 Feb. 1831.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. (1850), i. 541.
  • 8. PROB 11/2109/180; IR26/1885/147.