CURWEN, Henry (1728-78), of Workington, Cumb.

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



1761 - 1768
1768 - 1774

Family and Education

bap. 25 Nov. 1728, o.s. of Eldred Curwen, M.P., of Workington by his w. Julian Clenmoe. educ. Eton 1745; St. John’s, Camb. 1746. m. Isabella, da. of William Gale of Whitehaven, 1 da., who m. John Christian. suc. fa. 1745.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Cumb. 1753-4.


Curwen was a considerable coal proprietor at Workington: at his death his collieries were valued at about £5,000 a year.

He contested Carlisle in 1761 at the request of a group of independent freemen in opposition to Sir James Lowther’s interest. He was not sent Newcastle’s whip in 1761, and was noted by Bute as ‘Tory’ and ‘contra’. Probably neither knew much about him and found him difficult to classify. He does not appear in Henry Fox’s list of Members favourable to the peace preliminaries, but did not vote against them.

He was active in opposing the Lowther interest in Cumberland and became connected with the Duke of Portland. He voted against Administration on Wilkes, 15 Nov. 1763, and general warrants, 6, 15 and 18 Feb. 1764, and was classed by Rockingham in July 1765 as ‘pro’. Both Rockingham in November 1766 and Newcastle in March 1767 counted him as a friend, and henceforth he voted with the Rockingham party. There is no record of his having spoken in Parliament.

He stood for Cumberland in 1768 on a joint interest with Henry Fletcher, Portland’s candidate, against Lowther and Humphrey Senhouse. Curwen was returned head of the poll with 2139 votes—162 ahead of Lowther, who was returned with him. In November 1770 he told Portland that because of bad health, which had prevented him from attending Parliament regularly, he would retire at the next general election.1

He died 23 June 1778.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Curwen to Portland, 19 Nov. 1770, Portland mss.