CLAVERING, Sir Thomas, 7th Bt. (1719-94), of Axwell, co. Durham

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



19 Jan. 1753 - 1754
1754 - Nov. 1760
1768 - 1790

Family and Education

bap. 19 June 1719, 1st surv. s. of Sir James Clavering, 6th Bt., by his 1st w. Catherine, da. of Thomas Yorke, M.P. of Richmond, Yorks. educ. C.C.C. Oxf. 1737. m. May 1746, Martha, da. of Joshua Douglas of Newcastle, s.p. suc. fa. 18 May 1748.

Offices Held


Clavering was of an old Durham family, settled at Axwell since the early 17th century. He was returned for Shaftesbury in 1754 on Lord Ilchester’s interest. His expenses came to £2330, of which Clavering paid £2000 and the remainder came from secret service funds.1 In December 1760 and at the general election of 1761 he unsuccessfully contested co. Durham. He was returned in 1768 and at every subsequent election unopposed.

In 1769 he voted against the court over Wilkes and the Middlesex election. But in March 1770, disgusted at the nonsense and bluster of the City of London, he turned away from the Opposition. On 15 Mar. he moved that the City remonstrance, which had been presented to the King the previous day, should be laid before the House; and on 19 Mar. proposed a resolution of censure against the remonstrance. In reply to Charles Wolfran Cornwall, who attacked him for changing his mind over the Middlesex election, he said:2

It is a matter very indifferent to me who are the Administration. Those who do the business best are those I will support. I probably was hardly known to the minister. I had never spoke to the noble Lord [North] ... The gentleman [Cornwall] has mentioned the acts of last year. I had the misfortune of voting in the minority. I think they [Administration] acted wrong, but when the majority of this House thought otherwise it was my duty to submit to it.

Henceforth he generally supported the court. On ‘popular’ measures—Grenville’s Election Act (1774), economical reform (1780), and Dunning’s motion (1780)—he went with the Opposition; but on motions of confidence or against the American war he voted with North to the end. On 25 Apr. 1782 he spoke against the bill disfranchising revenue officers.3 He did not vote on Shelburne’s peace preliminaries nor on Fox’s East India bill; and in Stockdale’s list of 19 Mar. 1784 is classed as absent. His name appears in no division list in the Parliament of 1784, and he did not stand in 1790.

He died 14 Oct. 1794.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Namier, Structure, 429.
  • 2. Cavendish’s ‘Debates’, Egerton 221, f. 261.
  • 3. Debrett, vii. 78.