WODEHOUSE, Edmond (1784-1855), of Sennowe Lodge, Norf.

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



24 May 1817 - 1830
1835 - 9 July 1855

Family and Education

b. 26 June 1784, 1st s. of Thomas Wodehouse, barrister and gent. of privy chamber, of Sennowe and Sarah, da. of Pryse Campbell† of Stackpole Court, Pemb. educ. Harrow 1796-1800; Corpus, Oxf. 1801. m. 26 June 1809, his cos. Lucy, da. of Rev. Philip Wodehouse of Hingham, Norf., 5s. 4da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1805. d. 21 Aug. 1855.2

Offices Held

Lt. E. Dereham yeoman cav. 1802; capt. E. Norf. militia 1803, maj. 1808; lt.-col commdt. 2 regt. W. Norf. militia 1808-13; capt. and lt.-col. W. Norf. yeoman cav. 1813.


Wodehouse was a nephew of the leading Norfolk high church Tory, the 1st Baron Wodehouse of Kimberley, whose family the Quaker Joseph John Gurney of Earlham deemed ‘remarkable for never keeping up the heat of party after a battle is over, and for never bearing malice’.3 First returned for the county on their interest at the severely contested by-election of 1817, when his twice defeated cousin John Wodehouse* declined to stand, he had proved to be a ‘frank, open [and] intrepid’ public speaker, defended Lord Liverpool’s administration at county meetings after Peterloo, but voted against them on matters which he considered contrary to the public interest such as charity abuse, the awards to the royal dukes and the malt tax.4 At the general election of 1820 the prospect of a Whig challenge to him evaporated and he came in unopposed with the veteran Foxite Thomas William Coke.5

As a busy and forthright representative of a large corn-growing county, Wodehouse’s parliamentary conduct was closely watched, and his wayward vote against the appointment of an additional Scottish baron of exchequer, 15 May 1820, attracted comment.6 He presented the Norfolk growers’ petition for higher tariffs on imported corn, 16 May. His observations when a select committee on agricultural distress was proposed ‘were inaudible in the gallery’, 30 May, but in a major speech when it was conceded, 31 May, he referred to the great regional variation in corn prices, warned of the frauds operating via Hamburg and called for government action to ‘suppress that dreadful system of gambling’ affecting corn.7 As chairman of the Grantham election committee, he moved the warrant for the detention of Sir William Manners† and others who had failed to testify before it, 5 July, and presented the report, 11 July.8 He opposed the adoption of a radical address supporting Queen Caroline at the Norfolk county meeting, 19 Aug.;9 but the patronage secretary Arbuthnot found him reluctant to declare his backing for government over her exclusion from the liturgy and informed Liverpool that Wodehouse was ‘always queerish’ and ‘I suppose does not choose to commit himself till he knows what others think’, 26 Dec. 1820.10 He criticized the queen’s partisans for assuming that all government supporters were their servile dependants and that freedom of speech was exclusive to opposition, 23 Jan., and divided against censuring ministers’ handling of her case, 6 Feb. 1821. He presented a hostile petition from the Norwich diocese and voted against Catholic relief, 28 Feb., but when their pro-Catholic petition was presented, 16 Mar., he expressed regret at use of the term ‘bigotry’ by both sides.11 He presented six Norfolk agricultural distress petitions, 1 Mar.12 On being named to the subsequent select committee, 7 Mar., he described himself as a sincere advocate of retrenchment and attributed his voted with government on the revenue, 6 Mar., to his wish to see relief applied equally to all classes of the community. He considered the additional duty on malt the ‘most objectionable of all ... in a moral and political point of view’, and presented petitions, 13 Mar., and divided for its repeal, 21 Mar.; but, ‘guarding himself ... against any implied censure of ... government’, he voted to defeat the proposal at their request, 3 Apr.13 He supported the inquiry into the currency proposed by the Whig banker Alexander Baring as an amendment to the bank cash payments bill, 9 Apr., and voted against the adjutant general’s grant, 11 Apr. He divided against parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821, 2 June 1823, and voted to make forgery a non-capital offence, 23 May 1821. He obtained leave to introduce a bill to amend the 1808 Lunatic Act, 24 May, but apparently failed to do so.14 On 9 June the Tory Norfolk Chronicle countered speculation that the party would replace Wodehouse during the shrievalty of the prospective Whig candidate Sir Jacob Astley† on account of his political lapses. He divided with government on public expenditure, 27 June 1821.

When the county met to petition for action against agricultural distress, 12 Jan. 1822, Wodehouse delivered what The Times termed a ‘kind of peccavi speech’ that irked both the Whigs and his Tory critics. In it he endorsed the call for lower taxes on malt, salt, leather, soap and candles, cautioned that the resolution for a £5,000,000 cut in taxation was ‘too violent to do any good’ and said he could not support reform. He attributed distress to ‘various factors, of which the alteration in the currency was the chief’, but he conceded that repeal of the 1819 Act that had brought it about was unlikely. He spoke against imposing higher duties on foreign corn and condemned the agriculture committee’s 1821 report drafted by the minister Huskisson, which he had voted against, for its ‘stupidity and absurdity, and for its chaotic confusion of ideas’.15 He expressed qualified support for the petition when Coke presented it and called for ‘an immediate reduction in the civil list’ and repeal of the malt tax as conciliatory measures, 7 Feb., but divided with government against more extensive tax reductions, 11 Feb. He presented and endorsed several moderate Norfolk petitions for relief, 12 Feb., and criticized the doctrines of George Webb Hall, apparent in the Lewes petition, 13 Feb.16 On being appointed to the agriculture select committee chaired by Lord Londonderry, 18 Feb., he said that he had no doubt that its proposals would be generally beneficial; but he also emphasized the agriculturists’ debt to the Whig Members Henry Brougham and Lord John Russell in opposition and warned against ‘rekindling the corn war’. To ministers’ relief, he divided with them on taxation, 21 Feb., and the salt duties, 28 Feb.;17 but he voted to abolish one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., 2 May 1822. Wodehouse disputed the home secretary Peel’s use of poor rate returns, 20 Feb., pointing out that they were ‘so incorporated with the labour of the poor, that they could not be detached’, and he was appointed to the select committee which considered them, 23 Apr. 1822, and annually subsequently.18 When Coke, as presenter of the radical petition from the hundred of Earsham, vented his spleen against Londonderry, 29 Apr., Wodehouse rallied to his defence, but he admitted that ministers had underestimated the scale of the distress, that the agriculture committee’s report was unsatisfactory and that protection for domestic corn growers was inadequate. To opposition cheers, he added that ‘the best and most effectual relief ... would be a reduction of the pressure of the public burdens’, and, conscious of his own inconsistency, he explained that he had voted to retain the sinking fund ‘as he did not know how the public credit might be injured by its abolition’, against repealing the salt duties, as government could not afford further concessions, and against reductions in the army, as he saw no point in sending men home to rot. He also maintained that distress and William Cobbett’s† visits had been factors in the recent unrest in Norfolk and Suffolk.19 He presented and endorsed petitions against Londonderry’s resolutions based on the agriculture committee’s report, 7 May.20 To cries of ‘salt, salt’, he vainly opposed the adoption of a petition for reform at the Norfolk distress meeting, 11 May.21 Huskisson now held Wodehouse and Sir Edward Knatchbull personally responsible for encouraging hostility to him within and without doors as author of the contentious 1821 agriculture committee report, and protested to Londonderry in writing, 12 May.22 In committee on the government’s corn bill, 3 June, Wodehouse proposed an amendment raising the pivot price from 70s. to 75s., which he withdrew directly Wolryche Whitmore’s attempt to lower it to 64s. failed.23 He cast wayward votes against the Irish constables bill and on the currency, 12 June, but divided with government against inquiry into the lord advocate’s dealings with the Scottish press, 25 June, and against retaining ‘the wretched remnant of a tax’ on salt, 28 June.24 He presented hostile petitions, 1, 15, 17 July, and received leave for a bill to amend the Excise Licenses Act, 2 July 1822, but, thwarted by John Maberly’s proposals and the ministerial measure, he opposed both, 28 May, 13 June 1823. Following Londonderry’s suicide, he paid tribute to him in a speech at the Norwich Pitt Club dinner, 17 Oct. 1822, but, reporting it, The Times, blamed him and his colleagues for failing to ‘force economy upon the ministers whom they panegyrize’:

Mr. W.’s private worth no one disputes, but we think he has woefully embarrassed himself in politics. He will adhere, as much as he can or dares, to the old corrupt, extravagant system, and yet, he cannot help feeling for the miseries which it has created, and which he now sees around him.25

At the riotous Norfolk meeting of 3 Jan. 1823, Wodehouse praised the government’s tax concessions, reiterated his views on the currency and criticized the ‘loose’ Whig petition and Cobbett’s violent one, which superseded it.26 In the House, he accused the chancellor Robinson of doing nothing in his budget to reduce the disproportionate tax burden which the county, highway and poor rates placed on the landed interest, 21 Feb., and criticized the currency change, 26 Feb. Later that day, in a speech peppered with statistics and citations from Sir Claude Scott and Jolly’s testimony to the 1814 select committee on corn, he opposed Whitmore’s proposals for a gradual reduction to 60s. in the pivot price, dismissed the import prices which he gave as ‘fallacious’ and accused his own detractors of misrepresenting him as a critic of Huskisson ‘solely’ on account of his vote against the 1821 agriculture committee’s report. He presented an anti-Catholic petition from the clergy of Norwich, 16 Feb., endorsed others against the malt duties, 18 Apr., and joined its presenter Coke in denouncing the county’s Cobbettite petition, 24 Apr.27 He voted to abolish punishment by whipping, 30 Apr., and backed the Limerick corporation bill introduced to remedy the abuses he had noted as chairman of the 1820 election committee, 6 May.28 He gave a cautious welcome to the chancellor’s conditional offer to repeal the duty on foreign wool, 4 June.29 Before voting for inquiry into the currency, 13 June 1823, he acknowledged that he was responsible for coining the phrase ‘equitable adjustment’, adding that he had first used it in a Pitt Club speech, when speculating how Pitt might have resolved the currency question. He surmised that Pitt would have retained part of the property tax, altered the monetary standard or done both, and he attributed the current distress to ministers’ failure to do either. Praising Peel, he dismissed the theories of Davis Ricardo* and the political economists as ‘utterly incomprehensible’, commended those of the philosophers David Hume and John Locke and cautioned against rejecting a silver standard ‘from a false regard to parliamentary consistency’. During the recess, he commanded yeomanry exercises at Bylaugh.30

Wodehouse presented petitions from Norfolk and elsewhere for repeal of the coastwise coal duties, 12, 18, 19, 23 Feb. 1824.31 He supported Peel’s juries bill, 19 Feb., and warned against carrying military reductions too far at the behest of Hume, 20 Feb. He postponed his intended motion for equalization of the duties on malt and beer and, clashing frequently with Maberly, against whose rival motion he was a majority teller, 15 Mar., he expressed qualified support for the government’s measure, 24 May. He presented a petition complaining of the prohibitive tax on salt-cake for cattle, 31 Mar., and astounded colleagues by ordering returns and announcing a motion against the anticipated expiry of the salt tax, 6 Apr. His argument that to do so would release funds for more pressing reductions carried little weight and the proposal, which The Times condemned as ‘a connivance to relieve the chancellor from his solemn obligation to end the tax’, was rejected, 13 May.32 He voted to postpone the Windsor Castle grant, 5 Apr., and in condemnation of the indictment in Demerara of the Methodist missionary John Smith, 11 June. He supported the Norfolk magistrates’ campaign to transfer the spring assizes from Thetford to Norwich but, deferring to ministers, he withdrew his motion for a select committee on the matter, 15 June 1824. He was a minority teller when government secured its rejection (by 72-21), 24 Feb. 1825.33 He supported the warehoused wheat bill, 17 May 1824.

Wodehouse engaged in financial dealings with his friends the Hoares and voted against repealing the usury laws, 17 Feb. 1825. As expected, he divided for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb., and his votes for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and endorsement of ‘the spirit of toleration’ in the Norwich archdeaconry’s favourable petition, 19 Apr., surprised its advocates, set him apart from his relations and incensed his erstwhile supporters.34 He backed the attendant Irish franchise bill, 22, 26 Apr. A contemporaneous radical publication correctly observed that he ‘attended frequently and appeared to vote sometimes with and sometimes against ministers’.35 He postponed his motion on corn averages, 22 Feb., presented protectionist petitions, 28 Feb., and called for the corn question to be discussed ‘with firmness but with temper’, 22 Apr. He dissented from the London petition for a fixed duty, 24 Apr., and, stating that he had ‘always supported the average system, from his conviction of its being the best’, he opposed major change, 28 Apr. However, he conceded that some revision was necessary and spoke of the ‘mischievous fallacy’ of using atypical Danzig prices.36 He spoke in favour of Ridley’s amendment to the ministerial bill, proposing a reduction from 10s. to 7s. in the tariff on corn imports, and stated ‘on behalf of the agriculturists’ that they had ‘no objection to the foreign corn being taken out of bond free of duty altogether’, 31 May. He sought further information through the foreign office with a view to improving the statistical base for the averages, 2 June.37 He spoke against repealing the beer duties, 5 May, and presented the French Brandy Company’s petition for changes in the laws affecting distilling, 14 June.38 He divided with government for the duke of Cumberland’s grant, 6, 10 June. He presented petitions for repeal of the coastwise coal duty, 24 Feb., and offered to support the Tyne and Weardale railway bill as a means of bypassing it, 4 Mar.39 Unlike his cousin, Member for Great Bedwyn, Wodehouse openly supported the campaign against colonial slavery, but he criticized the vehemence of the 3rd Baron Suffield and Thomas Fowell Buxton’s* abolitionist speeches at the Norfolk county meeting, 20 Oct. 1825, and ensured that the resulting petition expressed concurrence with Canning’s resolutions of 1823.40 He voted against condemning the Jamaican slave trials, 2 Mar., was named to the select committee on slave trading in Mauritius, 9 May. 1826, and subsequently endorsed Buxton’s claim that it was not too late to press charges against the island’s governor, Sir Robert Townsend Farquhar*, 3 June 1829.

Warning of local currency shortages resulting from the 1825-6 banking crisis, Wodehouse voted in a minority of seven for retaining Bank of England small notes, 13 Feb. 1826. He opposed the usury laws repeal bill as ‘badly timed’ and ‘because he thought it impossible to calculate the effect which it would have on the landed interest’, 15 Feb. His bill, introduced on 22 Feb., permitting the sale and disposal of prisons, received royal assent, 10 Apr.41 He secured returns on foreign corn imports, 3 Mar., and poor rates, 14 Mar., when, using statistics for Norfolk, where 31,451 families employed in agriculture contributed £224,977, and 23,084 families employed in trade £41,295 towards parochial relief, he reiterated his complaint that ‘the great burden of parochial relief rested upon the landed interest’ and called for further inquiry. He helped to defeat Whitmore’s corn bill, 18 Apr., and acquiesced in the ministerial measure, 1, 11 May, notwithstanding his condemnation of William Jacob’s† ‘biased’ Report on the Trade in Corn and on the Agriculture of the North of Europe as its statistical base, 2 May, which he said he hoped to improve by using statistics from embassies and consuls abroad, 18 May.42 He voted against Russell’s resolutions denouncing electoral bribery, 26 May 1826. He came in unopposed but with reduced support at the general election in June, backed by his relations (partly because of the reluctance of John Wodehouse’s son Henry to stand), tolerated by the Whigs, criticized for opposing the Norwich and Lowestoft navigation bill and vilified and physically attacked by the anti-Catholic mob.43

He approved the ministry’s decision to implement the Corn Importation Acts by order in council, 24 Nov., but his dissatisfaction with Jacob’s statistics persisted and he pressed for further returns, 28 Nov., 2, 4, 5 Dec. 1826.44 He presented protectionist petitions, 8, 29 Mar., 2 Apr., and opposed the government’s corn bill, 8 Mar., 2 Apr., having failed to secure concessions on oats, 12 Mar., or rye, peas and beans, 19 Mar. 1827.45 He endorsed the Norfolk clergy’s pro-Catholic petition, 5 Mar., and voted for relief, 6 Mar. He presented and endorsed a petition that day against the double land tax charged to Catholics, and carried a remedial bill, 23 May, 29 June 1827, which was lost in the Lords; he was named to the committee of inquiry, 1 Mar. 1828.46 He had written privately to Huskisson, 6 May 1827, suggesting that the new Canning ministry should test support generally and opinion on the Catholic question in particular by means of a debate on the state of the nation; and, conscious of the damage caused to his reputation by the letter’s disclosure, he retaliated, from the opposition benches, by reading out Huskisson’s ‘private’ reply, 11 May.47 He belatedly declined to support Gascoyne’s motion for inquiry into the depressed shipping industry, 8 May.48 He presented petitions for increases in coroners’ fees, 4 May, changes in the game laws, 4 May, and the malt duties, 20 June, for Test Act repeal, 6 June, and action to combat distress, 18 June.49 His bill limiting constables’ presentments received royal assent, 21 June 1827.50 Following his appointment to the select committee on the licensing laws, 14 May, he assisted the maltsters in their campaign against the 1827 Act, and he engaged in an acrimonious public correspondence with the vice-president of the board of trade, Frankland Lewis, when their representations were rejected.51 He presented petitions for the Act’s repeal, 15 Feb. 1828.

With the London bankers Sir Peter Pole and Company, Hoares, Everett Walker and Company and others, Wodehouse had stood surety in 1822 for the discredited Middlesex county treasurer George Boulton Mainwaring’s† debts, and he was almost bankrupted in 1828 when the magistrates redeemed his personal bond.52 He abandoned his parochial accounts bill, announced on 25 Apr., directly a committee of inquiry was conceded, 15 May, voted for Catholic relief, 12 May, and became increasingly preoccupied with the Wellington administration’s corn bill, to which he gave qualified support. Considering ‘the question of wheat ... satisfactorily settled’, he opposed Benett’s counter resolutions, 25 Apr., and sought ministerial backing for his own amendments to include returns from Irish and Scottish towns in the averages and to afford further protection for oat and barley growers.53 Peel and Frankland Lewis ensured that his proposals were rejected, 28 Apr., 20 May. Urging the Sussex Member Curteis to withdraw his amendment governing warehousing, he added, 23 May:

I never knew a measure to have been more fairly discussed or considered, but I entertain very serious apprehensions that any good which might be expected from the measure will be destroyed by the proceeding which government has in contemplation for the contraction of the currency.

He voted against their small notes bill, 5, 16, 27 June, but divided with them against ordnance reductions, 4 July. He presented anti-slavery petitions, 13 June, 24 July. At the opening of the new Norwich corn exchange, 28 Nov., he praised the 1828 Corn Importation Act as the best that could have been passed for the good of agriculture.54

As expected, Wodehouse divided ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He endorsed the Norfolk clergy’s favourable petition, 12 Mar., but conceded the continued strength of the Norfolk anti-Catholics, whose petitions he silently presented the same day. He brought up a second pro-emancipation petition from the Norfolk clergy and drew attention to the unauthorized use of the dean of Hereford’s signature in the hostile Hereford one, 24 Mar. He voted to permit Daniel O’Connell to sit without taking the oaths of allegiance, 18 May. He obtained returns, 17 Feb., 27 Mar., 11 May, but failed to persuade the chief excise officers to discuss the failings of the 1827 Act with the maltsters’ delegation, 21 May. On the 15th he joined the Norfolk growers, whose hostile petition he presented, 6 May, in opposing the abortive Smithfield market bill. Utilizing information available to him as a member of the 1825 and 1827 select committees, he spoke against the friendly societies bill and the labourers’ wages bill, 15 May, describing the latter as a ‘hazardous experiment’ whose impact on the poor laws could not be predicted. He ordered further corn returns with a view to replacing Jacob’s statistics, 27 Mar., and criticized the currency change, the averages, the use of statistics for the atypical war years and the doctrines of free trade in his speech against the fixed duty proposed by Hume, whom he challenged, as a fellow Norfolk landowner, to put his arguments with him to the weavers of Norwich, 19 May. He proudly persisted in speaking out against the currency change as ‘a public duty’, 1, 4 June. The sudden death on 21 June 1829 of his wife, with whom he had 14 children, affected him deeply, and soon afterwards he let his mansion at Sennowe, which his brother Thomas later occupied, and rented another at Thorpe, near Norwich.55

Addressing the county meeting requisitioned by the yeomanry to petition for the repeal of the malt duties to alleviate distress, 16 Jan. 1830, Wodehouse maintained that the time for pleading ‘parliamentary consistency’ was over. He stated that he was prepared to disagree openly with the government and proposed an amendment adding reductions in the taxes on tea, sugar, coal and candles, commodities ‘equally applicable to the poorer and industrious classes’, to the petition’s demands, together with resolutions attributing distress to the currency change and high taxes; his proposals were rejected outright in favour of the single tax petition.56 He divided with opposition in protest at the omission of distress from the king’s speech, 4 Feb., and for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 11 Feb. He presented but dissented from distress petitions advocating corn law repeal, 12 Feb., and abolition of the malt tax, 15 Mar. He had read Baring’s testimony of 26 Apr. 1828 to the privy council on a silver currency, and after vainly urging ministers to produce it, 9, 10 Feb., 10 Mar., he obtained information from the mint and parliamentary committees in lieu, 5 Mar., 8 Apr., with a view to raising the issue himself. He announced the postponement of Davenport’s state of the nation motion, in a speech that also pleaded for fewer restraints on banking when the Bank Charter Acts expired, 15 Feb., and stated afterwards in committee of supply:

Is it not delusion, and worse than delusion, to talk of a gold standard existing for ten years? Those years have been years of grinding oppression, and that oppression has been caused by the Act of this House. You may send me to Newgate for speaking thus boldly; but for that I care not. I know the House has absolute power, and that it also pretends absolute wisdom. The reduction of taxation is all that is left for us; it is here my confidence rests, for my confidence in ... ministers is gone, utterly gone. All the great names, every great authority that has been or can be referred to on this subject, differ from ... [Peel] and his colleagues.

Liaising with Suffield, who was to assist him in the Lords, and Robert Slaney, he obtained returns, 11, 17 Feb., 5 Mar., 7 Apr., and sought to legislate to transfer poor rate liability from the occupiers to the owners of cottages rated at or below £5, but nothing came of it.57 He presented and endorsed petitions for abolition of the coastwise coal duty, 16, 17, 18 Feb., 17 Mar., 28 May, 30 June, but postponed his repeal motion, 14 May, after the Irish bill, which he also supported, failed, 13 May. He requested returns on corn averages, 11 Mar., and import prices, 22 Mar., but he now acknowledged that he had undervalued Jacob’s work and explained:

I believe the representations of Mr. Jacob on foreign corn to have been made the organ of mischievous falsehood; while, at the same time, I must add that he is the author of various pamphlets on this subject, and I must believe that his intentions are of the best kind.

Attending to local concerns, he steered the Sekforde’s Almshouse bill successfully through the Commons and was a majority teller with the Suffolk Member Gooch for the contentious Southwood Haven bill, by which Gooch’s son Edward stood to profit, 3 May.58 He suggested that the West India interest would benefit by a reduced tariff on sugar, 7 Apr., and presented and endorsed Norfolk petitions for equalization of the duties on corn spirits and rum, 28 May, 3 June. He presented petitions against the sale of beer bill, 13 May, and opposed its provisions for on-consumption from a conviction that government had acted shortsightedly and that the change would do great harm, 21 June, 1 July. He voted for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May, and to abolish the death penalty for forgery, 1 June 1830.

Wodehouse announced his candidature at the general election, 8 July 1830, knowing that that his pro-emancipation votes and criticisms of government had cost him the backing of most high church Tories. He canvassed assiduously and sought support from Suffield, one of the few who had condoned his 16 Jan. speech.59 Whigs anxious to avoid the expense of a contest and sympathetic to his ‘liberal’ views were prepared to acquiesce in his return, but the yeomen refused to forgive his inconsistencies and his stance on malt and put forward the Whig Sir William Browne Ffolkes. Coke condoned their conduct, 3 Aug., and Wodehouse stood down the following day on his cousin’s advice.60 The Whig 4th earl of Albemarle interpreted his defeat as a ‘warning to any Tory who might henceforward be disposed to liberal principles’.61 Countering a favourable review of Wodehouse’s parliamentary career by ‘Norfolkiensis’, who had reached a similar conclusion, a correspondent informed The Times:

It is perfectly true that all parties give Mr. Wodehouse credit for most assiduous regard to the private parliamentary interests of his constituents, and for absolute integrity in his public conduct; but as this conduct appears the result only of incipient dissatisfaction with his original opinions, it wants the stability and decision of confirmed principle, and leaves all parties utterly incapable of divining, by the laws of consistency, what course, in the exercise of his judgement, he would on any future occasion pursue.62

Wodehouse kept a low profile during the reform era, but he remained an active magistrate and lobbied for ‘any measure for the employment and relief of the poor’.63 He declined to stand for Norfolk East or Norfolk West in 1832, but contested Norfolk East successfully as a Conservative in 1835 and remained its Member for twenty years, loyal to Peel on all issues which did not compromise his protectionist principles. He retired on health grounds shortly before he died in August 1855, and was recalled as a handsome, bold and conscientious ‘politician of conviction, rather than eminence’, and for personal generosity beyond his means.64 Limited administration of his personal estate and effects, worth under £50, was granted in London to Sir Samuel Bignold on behalf of his insurers the Norwich Union Life Insurance Society, 9 July 1858, 11 Nov. 1867. A further grant, under £20, was awarded to his cousin Admiral George Wodehouse (1811-1900), 23 Nov. 1870. His eldest son, Sir Philip Edmond Wodehouse (1811-87), was governor of British Guiana, 1854-8.65

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Margaret Escott


  • 1. CJ, cx. 364.
  • 2. Not 1853, as stated in HP Commons, 1790-1820, v. 640.
  • 3. Brougham mss, Buxton to Brougham with enclosure from Gurney, 24 Dec. 1832.
  • 4. HP Commons, 1790-1820, v. 639-40; The Times, 25, 29 Oct., 2, 26 Nov. 1819.
  • 5. Hants RO, Calthorpe mss 26M62/F/C219; Essex RO, Barrett Lennard mss D/DL C60, G. Keppel to Barrett Lennard, 14 Mar.; Norf. Chron. 5, 12, 26 Feb., 11, 18 Mar.; Bury and Norwich Post, 15 Mar. 1820.
  • 6. Bury and Norwich Post, 24 May 1820.
  • 7. The Times, 31 May, 1 June 1820; B. Hilton, Corn, Cash, Commerce, 103.
  • 8. CJ, lxxv. 338, 383; The Times, 6 July 1820.
  • 9. The Times, 21 Aug.; Bury and Norwich Post, 23 Aug. 1820.
  • 10. Add. 38574, f. 232.
  • 11. The Times, 1, 17 Mar. 1821.
  • 12. Ibid. 2 Mar. 1821.
  • 13. Ibid. 4 Apr. 1821.
  • 14. Ibid. 25 May 1821.
  • 15. Ibid. 14, 15 Jan.; County Herald, 19 Jan. 1822; R.M. Bacon, Mems. Baron Suffield, 161.
  • 16. The Times, 13, 14 Feb. 1822.
  • 17. Gurney diary, 28 Feb. 1822.
  • 18. The Times, 21 Feb. 1822.
  • 19. Ibid. 30 Apr. 1822.
  • 20. Ibid. 8 May 1822.
  • 21. Ibid. 15 May; Norf. Chron. 18 May 1822.
  • 22. Add. 38743, f. 148.
  • 23. The Times, 4 June 1822.
  • 24. Ibid. 29 June 1822.
  • 25. Norf. Chron. 19 Oct.; The Times, 22 Oct. 1822.
  • 26. Norf. Chron. 4, 11 Jan.; The Times, 6 Jan. 1823.
  • 27. The Times, 17, 18, 25 Apr. 1823.
  • 28. Ibid. 7 May 1823; CJ, lxxv. 393, 435.
  • 29. The Times, 5 June 1823.
  • 30. J.R. Harvey, Recs. Norf. Yeoman Cav. 217.
  • 31. The Times, 13, 19, 20, 24 Feb. 1824.
  • 32. Ibid. 1, 7 Apr., 6, 14 May 1824.
  • 33. Ibid. 12, 16 June 1824.
  • 34. Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, ii. 217; TNA 30/29/6/3/93; Gurney diary, 1 Mar.; The Times, 20 Apr.; Norf. Chron. 23 Apr. 1825.
  • 35. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 491.
  • 36. The Times, 23 Feb., 1 Mar., 26, 29 Apr. 1825.
  • 37. Ibid. 3 June 1825.
  • 38. Ibid. 15 June 1825.
  • 39. Ibid. 25 Feb., 5 Mar. 1825.
  • 40. Norwich Mercury, 15, 22, 29 Oct.; The Times, 24 Oct. 1825; Bacon, 229-38.
  • 41. The Times, 23, 24 Feb. 1826; CJ, lxxxi. 92, 97, 116, 121, 126, 137, 227.
  • 42. The Times, 4, 15 Mar., 29 Apr., 19 May 1826.
  • 43. Wilts. RO, Ailesbury mss 9/34/30; Norwich Mercury, 6 May; The Times, 25 May; Norf. Chron. 10, 24 June, 1 July 1826.
  • 44. The Times, 29 Nov., 3, 5, 6 Dec. 1826.
  • 45. Ibid. 9, 30 Mar., 3 Apr. 1827.
  • 46. Ibid. 6, 7 Mar.; Norf. Chron. 17 Mar. 1827; CJ, lxxxii. 487, 607.
  • 47. The Times, 12 May 1827.
  • 48. St. Deiniol’s Lib. Glynne-Gladstone mss 123, Gascoyne to J. Gladstone, 9 May 1827.
  • 49. The Times, 5 May, 7, 19, 21 June 1827.
  • 50. CJ, lxxxii. 465, 487, 535, 553, 587.
  • 51. The Times, 21 June; Morning Chron. 24 Oct. 1827.
  • 52. The Times, 18 Jan., 29 Feb. 18 Apr. 1828.
  • 53. Wellington mss WP1/929/7; 931/11.
  • 54. Bury and Norwich Post, 3 Dec. 1828.
  • 55. Ibid. 24 June; Gent. Mag. (1829), ii. 648.
  • 56. Norwich Mercury, 16, 23 Jan.; The Times, 19 Jan. 1830; Bacon, 291.
  • 57. Norf. RO, Gunton mss 1/31, Wodehouse to Suffield, 5 Mar. 1830; Bacon, 293-301.
  • 58. CJ, lxxxv. 343, 356; Suff. Chron. 7 Aug. 1830.
  • 59. Gunton mss 1/23, Wodehouse to Suffield, 8 July; Norwich Mercury, 10 July; Bury and Norwich Post, 7 Aug. 1830.
  • 60. Staffs. RO, Stafford Jerningham mss D641/3/P/3/14/57; Norf. RO, Hamond of Westacre mss HMN 5/121/3; Gunton mss 31/2, Wodehouse to Suffield, 28 July; Norf. RO NRS 8741; The Times, 5, 9 Aug.; Norwich Mercury, 7, 14 Aug. 1830.
  • 61. Gunton mss 1/31, Albemarle to Suffield, 12 Aug. 1830.
  • 62. The Times, 17, 20 Aug. 1830.
  • 63. Ibid. 26 Dec. 1831; Brougham mss, Wodehouse to Brougham [1832].
  • 64. The Times, 27 Aug. 1832; 16 July 1844, 19 Jan., 2 Feb. 1846, 22 Aug.; East Anglian, 7 July; Norf. Chron. 25 Aug.; Gent. Mag. (1855), ii. 435-6.
  • 65. Oxford DNB sub Sir Philip Edmond Wodehouse.