WYNNE PENDARVES, Edward William (1775-1853), of Pendarves, nr. Camborne, Cornw. and 36 Eaton Place, Belgrave Square, Mdx.

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



1826 - 1832
1832 - 26 June 1853

Family and Education

b. 6 Apr. 1775,1 2nd but o. surv. s. of John Stackhouse of Pendarves and Susanna, da. and h. of Edward Acton of Acton Scott, Salop. educ. Harrow 1790-3; Trinity, Oxf. 1793; fellow, All Souls 1796. m. 5 July 1804, Tryphena, da. and h. of Rev. Browse Twist of Bowden, Devon, s.p. suc. cos. Rev. Luttrell Wynne 1814; fa. 1819; took additional name of Wynne by royal sign manual 4 Jan. 1815 and Pendarves in lieu of Stackhouse 28 Feb. 1815. d. 26 June 1853.

Offices Held

Dep. warden of stannaries 1852.

Lt.-col. Cornw. yeomanry corps 1816.


Wynne Pendarves, who had taken the surname Wynne after inheriting the estates in Cornwall and elsewhere of his maternal cousin in 1814,2 apparently chose to adopt the name of the old Cornish family of Pendarves, whose estates in the west of the county had passed to his father through the female line and were duly inherited by him in 1819.3 However, his financial circumstances were ‘considerably narrowed’ in the early 1820s as a result of the failure of the North Cornwall Bank, and for a time he ‘discharged his servants, laid down his carriage, sold his horses and abridged the extent of his hospitalities’.4 Since 1809 he had taken a prominent part in the Cornish reform movement, attending the meeting of the friends of reform at the Freemasons’ Tavern, London, in June 1811, and chairing several county meetings, including those of November 1819 which called for inquiry into the Peterloo massacre, and of March 1821 which supported Queen Caroline and demanded retrenchment and parliamentary reform. The Tory lord lieutenant, Lord Mount Edgcumbe, expressed regret that ‘a man of such pleasing manners in society and otherwise so respectable should have taken such an unfortunate line in politics’.5 He declined to be nominated at the by-election for the county in January 1825, but he came forward as promised at the general election of 1826 as the champion of the independent yeomanry against aristocratic dictation. He declared that he had been ‘bred in Whig principles, which were confirmed by long habit’, and advocated an unspecified measure of parliamentary reform, retrenchment and tax reductions, and the gradual abolition of slavery with compensation to the owners. In the face of strong pressure he had modified his position on the Catholic question, emphasizing that he was a ‘Protestant by education, habit and conviction’ who would support no relief measure that did not provide ‘sufficient security for the established church’, and merely pledging to ‘sedulously attend to the arguments ... and give a conscientious vote’ when the issue was raised in Parliament. He believed that the corn laws operated in a detrimental way, resulting in price fluctuations, but he still favoured ‘an adequate protective duty’. He said he approved of much that had been done by Lord Liverpool’s government, and if it took up reform it would be ‘the least objectionable ministry the country had possessed for many years’. He was returned unopposed with the Tory Sir Richard Vyvyan, after the liberal Tory John Hearle Tremayne* retired from the contest.6 He joined Brooks’s Club, 12 May 1827.

According to Vyvyan’s account, after Sir Francis Burdett had given notice, 9 Feb. 1827, of a call of the House before the debate on Catholic relief, he ‘left ... followed by Pendarves’. Vyvyan was confident that ‘upon the Catholic question our friend must give a decided vote, and he will most probably overset himself on the corn laws’.7 He indeed divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He presented, without comment, a petition from owners and occupiers of land in Cornwall to maintain the corn laws, 12 Feb. 1827.8 He voted against the garrisons grant, 20 Feb., and condemned the ‘most indecent ... expenditure of ... public money’ on the Clarence grant, 16 Mar., arguing that ‘now ... the currency was restored to a proper standard’ the sums granted to members of the royal family went ‘much beyond, in actual value, what would have been voted’. He divided with Canning’s coalition ministry for the grant to improve water communications in Canada, 12 June. He was allowed a month’s leave on account of family illness, 19 Mar. In May he joined a deputation of Members from Cornwall and Devon to the president of the board of trade, Huskisson, to press the case for maintaining the export bounty on pilchards.9 He predicted that the free importation of copper ore from South America would have injurious consequences for the Cornish mines, 15 June 1827.10 He presented various Cornish petitions for repeal of the Test Acts, 21, 25 Feb., and voted accordingly, 26 Feb. 1828. In presenting a Redruth petition against the coastwise coal duty, 6 Mar., he observed that it ‘pressed very heavily on his constituents, as Cornwall did not afford fuel of any other description’. He divided for a 60s. rather than a 64s. pivot price in the corn law schedule, 22 Apr. He warned that ‘there are few lead mines in England which can stand against’ the free importation of lead ore, 15 July, and argued that ‘a really protecting duty’ was needed. He opposed the duke of Wellington’s ministry by voting to withdraw the grant to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels in the colonies, 6 June, reduce that for the Royal Cork Institution, 20 June, condemn the misapplication of public money for building work at Buckingham House, 23 June, abolish the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July, and omit the grant for North American fortifications, 7 July. He presented several petitions against the small notes bill, 20, 22 May, 3 June, when he informed the House that ‘this subject excited the most serious apprehensions in Cornwall’; he voted for inquiry, 5 June, and against the third reading, 27 June. He divided against extending East Retford’s franchise to Bassetlaw freeholders, 21 Mar., but presented and approved a Redruth petition to extend Penryn’s franchise to the hundreds of Penwith and Kerrier, 24 Mar., explaining that this was an ‘extremely populous’ area whose ‘peculiar interests ... connected with the fishery trade were not proportionally represented’ in the Commons. He voted to condemn delays in chancery, 24 Apr., and was against the additional churches bill, 30 June, and the corporate funds bill, 10 July. He presented several Cornish anti-slavery petitions in June 1828.

He contradicted Vyvyan’s assertion that anti-Catholic petitions from Cornwall were representative of public opinion, 24 Feb. 1829, and expressed his ‘firm conviction’ that ‘the intelligence and property of the county are directly in favour’ of relief. He criticized the way in which some of the meetings had been organized and signatures collected, and maintained that ‘if the people of Cornwall were not excited by fanatical preachers or by inflammatory books or pictures, they would be very well satisfied to leave the settlement of this question to Parliament’. He expressed ‘sincere thanks’ to the government for taking the initiative and was sure that emancipation was ‘the only thing that will quiet Ireland’; he later presented three pro-Catholic petitions. He duly divided for emancipation, 6, 30 Mar., and to allow Daniel O’Connell to take his seat without swearing the oath of supremacy, 18 May. He defended himself from the strictures made against him in the Upper House by Lord Falmouth and saw ‘no reason to believe’ that he had forfeited the confidence of his constituents, 11 Mar. He voted to transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May, and for Lord Blandford’s reform resolutions, 2 June. He presented Cornish petitions for the continuation of the export bounty on pilchards, 13 May, and confirmed that ‘great distress prevails’ in that industry, 2 June, when he reminded the House that ‘the coast of Cornwall ... furnishes a very good description of sailors to the navy’ and cautioned against ‘weakening our maritime power’. He voted against the additional grant for the sculpture of the marble arch, 25 May, and to reduce the hemp duty, 1 June 1829. However, he divided against Knatchbull’s amendment to the address on distress, 4 Feb. 1830. A few days later Lord Howick* consulted him about his forthcoming resolutions on the disfranchisement of East Retford.11 While he voted for Blandford’s reform plan, 18 Feb., he admitted that there was ‘much ... I condemn in the detail’ and said he would have preferred a ‘simple and efficient’ measure based on Burdett’s resolutions of 1809. He wanted ‘all who were subject to direct taxation’ to be enfranchised, counties divided, all elections held on the same day and parliaments ‘brought back to a constitutional duration’, preferably three years. He maintained that Cornwall received ‘no benefit’ from its ‘disproportionate’ representation, as only seven of its Members were Cornishmen, and pointed out that ‘the mines and the fisheries ... impose additional duties on its Members which can be only fully appreciated by Cornishmen’. He was ‘satisfied that the House must shortly yield to the wishes of the people’. He voted to enfranchise Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb., refer the Newark petition against the duke of Newcastle to a select committee, 1 Mar., and transfer East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5, 15 Mar. He divided for Russell’s reform motion, 28 May. He presented a Cornwall petition for relief from distress and reform, which derived from a meeting held in March but which ‘from some unaccountable delay ... did not reach me until this morning’, 14 June. In early March he was one of the three county Members who sought to revive the ‘old Whig opposition’ by asking Lord Althorp to assume the Commons leadership.12 Thereafter he took a regular part in the opposition campaign on all major issues, particularly retrenchment and tax reductions. He welcomed the government’s proposal to reduce the duty on coastwise coal, 16 Mar., but thought it ‘would not be asking a very great boon’ to have it repealed, as there was ‘no tax more oppressive or unequal’. He made suggestions for ‘saving ... no small amount’ in the naval estimates by making changes to the Falmouth packet service, 5 Apr. On the other hand, he feared that the withdrawal of fish bounties would ‘do great injury to a most deserving body’, 28 May. He paired for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., and divided for it, 17 May. He voted for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 24 May, 7 June. He seconded Sir Matthew White Ridley’s merchant seamen bill, 17 June 1830, in the belief that ‘a more suitable provision’ of hospitals was required. At the general election that summer he offered as ‘an enemy to all corrupt or unnecessary expenditure’ and ‘a friend to constitutional government and reform’. He claimed that he had given ‘constant and unremitted attention’ to parliamentary business, but had seldom been reported as he had no ‘peculiar talent for public speaking’. In a review of recent history, he thought it was ‘unfortunate for this country’ that Canning’s life had been cut short and argued that there had been ‘more danger ... from refusing than granting’ Catholic emancipation, although he admitted having felt ‘difficulties’ on this subject. He explained that he had opposed Knatchbull’s motion on distress because its ‘real object’ was the removal of Wellington’s government, when there was ‘no prospect’ of its being replaced by a better one, but he pointed out that he had subsequently supported Davenport’s motion for inquiry into the state of the nation. He praised the government’s Beer Act, which would ‘do more to discourage the pernicious and too prevalent practice of dram drinking than all the proclamations against vice’, and welcomed the repeal of certain taxes, although he wished this had been taken further. He rejoiced that the ‘atrocious attempt to overthrow the liberties of France’ had been defeated and looked forward to a ‘speedy and ... complete revolution’ there, leading to the creation of a liberal monarchy. After being returned unopposed with Vyvyan, he declared that he was ‘bound to no party’.13

In September ministers listed Wynne Pendarves among their ‘foes’, and he voted against them in the crucial civil list division, 15 Nov. 1830. He presented numerous Cornish anti-slavery petitions, particularly from Protestant Dissenters, in November 1830 and March 1831. He attended the county meeting on reform, 19 Jan. 1831, and declared that it testified to the ‘progress [of] liberal opinions’. He argued that ‘they had seen the deplorable consequences of a defective state of the representation in the increasing distress and discontent of the country’, and maintained that there was ‘scarcely a man of intelligence amongst the middle classes’ who did not now support reform. He recommended support for Lord Grey’s ‘enlightened and ... honest administration’ and presented the resulting petition, 14 Feb.14 He presented further petitions from parliamentary boroughs and unrepresented towns, 26 Feb., 19, 28 Mar. He gave his ‘unqualified approbation’ to the government’s reform bill, 21 Mar., and hoped ministers would not ‘sacrifice any part of the principle’, although ‘some slight alterations may be necessary in the details’. He felt that Cornwall’s representation had been ‘reduced a little too low, considering the population and wealth of the county and its various interests of mines and fisheries’, and ‘considering also the unrepresented towns of Falmouth and Penzance’, but he had ‘no hesitation in saying that its local interests are likely to be as well if not better protected by the ... allotted number of real representatives, as by the nominal representatives under the present system’. He rejected the argument that close corporations formed ‘a part of the settled institutions of the country’, pointing out that popular chartered rights had often been ‘usurped’ by the corporations which had ‘bartered their franchise for a valuable consideration’; he was confident that ‘men of superior talent will ... readily find their way’ into the House through a ‘more legitimate and independent channel’. He divided for the second reading, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he was involved in a major struggle between Whigs and Tories for control of Cornwall. He described himself as a ‘uniform and zealous supporter’ of the reform bill, which ‘united the principles of population and property, and secured all the interests of the state by conferring the franchise on the middle classes of society’, and would thus ‘prevent revolution’. He also advocated a ‘fair and equitable commutation’ of tithes and was ‘anxious’ for the abolition of the ‘monstrous evil’ of slavery. He was returned at the head of the poll, with another Whig, after a contest lasting five days.15

He divided for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July 1831, and steadily for its details. He saw no compelling reason for enfranchising Penzance ‘in preference to other places in ... Cornwall’, 6 Aug., and had ‘every reason to believe that ... the respectable portion of the inhabitants’ did not want it. He voted for the bill’s passage, 21 Sept., the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. Following the Lords’ rejection of the reform bill he attended a county meeting, 26 Oct., when he expressed confidence that ‘ministers would not propose a measure less efficacious than the last’ and that the peers would ‘see it right to concede to the wishes of the people’. He looked forward to a reformed Parliament in which ‘fewer pensions’ would be granted, ‘wars would be of shorter duration, if they would not occur more seldom’, and ‘less taxes’ would be required. At a subsequent dinner, he asserted that the agricultural interest would be ‘more adequately represented’ after the bill was carried and would obtain ‘a due share of protection’.16 He divided with the minority to print the Waterford petition for disarming the Irish yeomanry, 11 Aug. He voted to punish only those guilty of bribery at the Dublin election and against the censure motion on the Irish administration’s conduct, 23 Aug. He divided for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, steadily for its details and for the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832, after which he paired off until early May to attend the assizes and quarter sessions.17 On 9 May, following the resignation of Grey’s ministry, he attended a meeting at Brooks’s where he was one of the ‘country gentlemen’ who favoured allowing Wellington to form a government ‘without serious opposition’, thus leaving it to the country to decide who was ‘best entitled to public confidence’.18 He voted next day for the motion for an address asking the king to appoint only ministers committed to carrying an unimpaired measure. He paired for the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May,19 and voted against the Conservative amendment for increased Scottish county representation, 1 June. He divided with the minorities for the Vestry Act amendment bill, 23 Jan., information regarding military punishments, 16 Feb., the immediate abolition of slavery, 24 May, and reduction of the barracks grant, 2 July. He voted with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. After the debate on Irish tithes, 9 Mar., he reportedly told Althorp that it had been ‘a brilliant night’;20 he presented four Cornish petitions for commutation, 16 July 1832.

At the general election of 1832 Wynne Pendarves was returned unopposed for West Cornwall as an advocate of ‘Whig principles’ and supporter of ‘all ... measures of rational reform’.21 He sat until his death in June 1853, when he left all his estates in Cornwall, Herefordshire and Shropshire to his great-nephew, William Cole Wood (1841-1929), who assumed the name Pendarves.22

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Terry Jenkins


  • 1. Ex. inf. Stephen Lees.
  • 2. He was the residuary legatee of the personal estate, which was sworn under £30,000 (PROB 11/1563/685; IR26/630/783).
  • 3. The personalty was sworn under £10,000, but he was not the residuary legatee (PROB 11/1624/39; IR26/839/20).
  • 4. R. Cornw. Gazette, 18 Dec. 1824.
  • 5. E. Jaggard, Cornw. Politics in Age of Reform, 32-40; West Briton, 26 Nov. 1819, 9 Mar. 1821; Carew Pole mss CC/N/58, Mount Edgcumbe to Pole Carew, 20 Dec. 1824.
  • 6. West Briton, 28 Jan. 1825, 16, 23 June 1826.
  • 7. Carew Pole mss CC/N/60, Vyvyan to Pole Carew, 10 Feb. 1827.
  • 8. The Times, 13 Feb. 1827.
  • 9. West Briton, 1 June 1827.
  • 10. The Times, 16 June 1827.
  • 11. Grey mss, Howick jnl. 7 Feb. 1830.
  • 12. A. Mitchell, Whigs in Opposition, 226-7; Le Marchant, Althorp, 243-4.
  • 13. West Briton, 9 July, 13 Aug. 1830.
  • 14. Ibid. 21 Jan. 1831.
  • 15. Ibid. 29 Apr., 6, 13, 20 May 1831.
  • 16. Ibid. 28 Oct., 4 Nov. 1831.
  • 17. Ibid. 30 Mar., 4 May 1832.
  • 18. Three Diaries, 253.
  • 19. The Times, 29 May 1832.
  • 20. Three Diaries, 211.
  • 21. R. Cornw. Gazette, 25 Aug., 22 Dec. 1832; Dod’s Parl. Companion (1833), 149.
  • 22. PROB 11/2177/624; IR26/1976/681; Gent. Mag. (1853), ii. 417-18.