BINGHAM, Hon. Richard (1764-1839), of St. James's Place, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 4 Dec. 1764,1 o.s. of Charles Bingham†, 1st Earl of Lucan [I], by Margaret, da. and coh. of James Smith† of Canons Leigh, Devon and St. Audries, Som. educ. Westminster 1777; Christ Church, Oxf. 1781; L. Inn 1784. m. 27 May 1794, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Henry Belasyse, 3rd Earl Fauconberg, div. w. of Bernard Edward Howard, afterwards 12th Duke of Norfolk, 2s. 4da. surv. Styled Lord Bingham 1795-9; suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Lucan [I] 29 Mar. 1799.
Rep. peer [I] 1801-d.
Maj. R. Spelthorne Legion 1803.
Bingham owed his seat in Parliament to his brother-in-law Earl Spencer, who gave him his interest at St. Albans, thanks to which he headed the poll in 1790 and in 1796. He silently followed Spencer’s political line and so voted on 12 Apr. 1791 for Grey’s motion on Oczakov, was listed that month among supporters of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland, and on 13 Dec. 1792 voted for Fox’s amendment to the address. Queried on the tentative list of Portland Whigs in that month, he was one of those listed for invitation to Windham’s house in February 1793 to be won over to administration. No further minority vote is known and he was reckoned a supporter of Pitt’s government, which his brother-in-law joined.
Bingham’s parliamentary career was interrupted in August 1793 when he ran away to Wales with Lady Elizabeth Howard, to whom his attachment had been ‘of long standing’, though their parents had refused to consent to their marriage: she had been ‘turned out of doors’ by her husband on his account. In the same month Lord Lucan settled £1,000 a year on him ‘for present maintenance’ and ‘a strict entail of all his property on Richard and his sons in order, as he may have them’, and in May 1794 Howard, though a Catholic, divorced his wife. She married Bingham, who then lived ‘in close retirement’ with her at Sir James Apreece’s place in Huntingdonshire until 1799.2 It is therefore unlikely that he was very active in his second Parliament, though he voted for Pitt’s assessed taxes, 4 Jan. 1798.
In 1799 Bingham succeeded to the Irish earldom and on 4 June 1800 Spencer wrote of him:
Lord Lucan is to be one of the peers elected for life after the Union, and of course will vacate his seat in the Commons. This will be known beforehand unless he should vacate before the end of this session, which I therefore wish him to do, that we may escape all caballing and intrigue at St. Albans.3
So he vacated his seat shortly afterwards. Lucan, who possessed a substantial estate and interest in county Mayo4 and favoured Catholic relief, died 1 July 1839.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. According to R. E. McCalmont, Mems. of the Binghams (1915), 112, though Gent. Mag. (1839), ii. 310 and Crisp’s Vis. of Ireland, v. 102 give 6 Dec. 1765.
- 2. Spencer mss, Spencer to his mother, 1, 15 Aug. 1793; Gent. Mag. (1839), ii. 310. They separated in 1804, Leveson Gower, i. 489.
- 3. Spencer mss, Spencer to his mother, 4 June 1800.
- 4. Ibid. Spencer to Elliot, 31 Dec. 1806.