BEARCROFT, Edward (1737-96), of Holland House, Kensington, Mdx. and Mere Hall, Worcs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1784 - 1790
1790 - 20 Nov. 1796

Family and Education

b. 30 Apr. 1737, 2nd s. of Rev. Philip Bearcroft, DD, master of the Charterhouse, by 1st w. Elizabeth née Lovegrove. educ. Charterhouse until 1752; Peterhouse, Camb. 1752; I. Temple 1754, called 1758. m. (1) 31 Oct. 1758, Sarah Maria (d. 28 Aug. 1759), da. of Hon. Walter Molesworth, 1s.; (2) Elizabeth (d. 13 Oct. 1774), da. and coh. of Edward Rogers of Ockle Clifford, Glos., 1s. 1da.; (3) Dec. 1778, Clare St. George, da. of Edmond Wilson of Mortlake, Surr., 2s. 3da.

Offices Held

Counsel and steward of cts. to govs. of Charterhouse 1765; KC 24 July 1772; bencher I. Temple 1772, reader 1780-1, treasurer 1781-2 c.j. Chester circuit 1788-d.


Bearcroft, who had a respectable and lucrative practice at the bar until he became a judge in 1788, suffered in later years from increasing deafness.1 In 1790 his parliamentary patron, William Beckford* transferred him from Hindon to his other seat at Saltash. Bearcroft was duly grateful: ‘so humble a being as myself will ever rejoice in an opportunity of serving a person in your situation of life’, he had written, 27 Oct. 1788.2 He continued to support Pitt’s administration, when he was not going the Chester circuit.3 He spoke against John Horne Tooke’s* Westminster election petition, 9 Dec. 1790, was listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in April 1791, attempted to define the function of juries in libel cases, 31 May 1791, opposed the Farnham Hop bill as an attack on private property, 7 June 1793, and on 3 Mar. 1794 defended the petition of Christopher Atkinson*. In October 1794 he was among the counsel for the crown in the treason trials.

On 28 July 1795 Bearcroft wrote to Pitt asking that his son Philip Rogers Bearcroft be appointed deputy commissary of accounts to the staff of St. Domingo; this request was granted.4 Bearcroft was re-elected in 1796, but died 20 Nov. 1796, on his way to London. His widow wrote to Pitt, 30 Jan. 1797:5

At the time of my husband’s death at Northampton I imagined he had left me above £40,000 but to my great astonishment I find upon investigation I shall not have I believe a single guinea left after I have parted with all property whatsoever.

Mr Bearcroft’s landed estates devolved to his second son (Mr Philip Rogers Bearcroft) by a former wife. His eldest son Mr Edward Bearcroft by his first wife at the age of 21 received from his father his fortune. I am left with five children ... My own fortune which was in money has all gone or I should not, Sir, solicit you to give me a small pension.

On 9 Mar. 1800 she was awarded a pension of £200 p.a.6

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


As tenant during the minority of Lord Holland.

  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1796), ii. 972.
  • 2. Beckford mss; Boyd Alexander, England’s Wealthiest Son, 217.
  • 3. Public Advertiser, 10 Mar. 1792; CJ, xlviii. 300.
  • 4. PRO 30/8/122, ff. 113, 117.
  • 5. Ibid. f. 115.
  • 6. Debrett (ser. 3), xv. 773.