LUMLEY, Hon. James (c.1706-66).

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



31 Jan. 1729 - 1734
1741 - 1747

Family and Education

b. c.1706, 7th s. of Richard Lumley, 1st Earl of Scarbrough; bro. of Hon. Charles, John and Thomas Lumley. educ. Eton 1718; King’s, Camb. 1723. unm.

Offices Held

Groom of the bedchamber to Prince of Wales 1728-34; commr. for office of master of the horse 1734-5; avener and clerk-marshal to the King 1735-41.


Jemmy Lumley, as he was known, was the reverse of his eldest brother, Lord Scarbrough, who was said to have all the gallantry of the camp and the politeness of the court. Uncouth and illiterate, on giving a party ‘he would write all the cards himself and every one of them was to desire he’s company and she’s company, with other curious pieces of orthography’—a story borne out by his surviving letters. Late in life he made himself a public laughing-stock by prosecuting a lady who had horsewhipped him for refusing to pay a sum which she had won from him at whist.1

Appointed to the household formed by Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1728, Lumley was brought in for Chichester on his family’s interest in succession to his elder brother, Charles, voting consistently with the Government. He did not stand at the next general election, giving up his post to his brother, John, to become a commissioner for the office of master of the horse on Lord Scarbrough’s resignation of that post in 1734 till it was filled by the Duke of Richmond in 1735, when he was appointed avener and clerk-marshal.

In 1739 the death of John Lumley gave James the whole income of the sinecure bequeathed by his father to his three younger sons.2 Next year Lord Scarbrough died, leaving him the Lumley estates, worth £6,000 a year, with an important electoral influence in Arundel and the county.3 At the general election of 1741 he stood for Arundel, where he came into collision with Newcastle’s brother-in-law, Sir John Shelley. Suspecting Newcastle of intriguing against him, he threatened to declare for the opposition candidate in the county.4 With some difficulty he was pacified, but shortly before the election the Duke of Richmond reported to Newcastle that Lumley had

insisted upon giving up his place ... and then says he very ingeniously, I shall be at liberty when I have no place to vote as I please ... He said that he did not give it up upon any pique, and would let all his acquaintance in Sussex know that he continued firm in the true Whig interest there.

Richmond advised Newcastle to see Lumley:

For you may depend upon it, it will hurt our affairs in Sussex. Let the fool say what he will, they will insist upon it he is disobliged and his people will not be so staunch as I could wish, and ten to one (if this thing should happen) he may openly turn against us himself. ’Tis a strange cur, you have more influence over him, but I am sure I have none.5

A month later Lumley sent a message to Sir Robert Walpole by Sir John Shelley, saying that ‘he desired to be made an English peer, or to have his name added to the patent of the place he now enjoys in the Customs House’; i.e. that he should be given it for his own life, instead of for that of his only surviving elder brother, Thomas.

If Sir Robert Walpole did this immediately before the election he will be entirely attached to him, and be directed by Sir John Shelley in relation to the elections at Arundel, and will concert measures with him to throw out Mr. Orme. If neither of these things are done before the election, he says he will be Sir Robert’s bitter enemy, and never forgive him.6

A few days later, the ‘lying inconstant creature’, as Lady Shelley called him, denied sending any such message. Returned for Arundel, he supported Walpole till his fall, after which he deserted him on Lord Limerick’s motion for an enquiry into his conduct.7 He then went into opposition till he retired in 1747. He died 14 Mar. 1766, heavily in debt,8 leaving his Durham estates to his nephew, the 4th Earl of Scarbrough, and his Sussex estates to another nephew, the 2nd Earl of Halifax.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Romney R. Sedgwick


  • 1. Walpole to Montagu, 25 June 1745, 14 May 1761.
  • 2. See LUMLEY, Charles.
  • 3. HMC Egmont Diary, iii. 107; Add. 32697, f. 78.
  • 4. Add. 32695, ff. 294, 298, 334, 336, 343.
  • 5. 3 Mar. 1741, Add. 32696, f. 178.
  • 6. Add. 32690, ff. 280-2.
  • 7. Newcastle to the Duchess, 23 Jan. 1741, Add. 33073, f. 205; Coxe, Walpole, iii. 596.
  • 8. Montagu to Walpole, 7 Mar. 1766.