BRAMSTON, Thomas Berney (1733-1813), of Skreens, Essex.

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



11 May 1779 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 7 Dec. 1733, o.s. of Thomas Bramston of Skreens by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Richard Berney, recorder of Norwich, Norf. educ. Felsted; New Coll. Oxf. 1751; M. Temple 1752, called 1757. m. 10 Jan. 1764, Mary, da. and h. of Stephen Gardiner of Norwich, 3s. 1da. surv. suc. fa. 1765.

Offices Held

Bencher, M. Temple 1783, reader 1791, treasurer 1795.


Bramston sat for Essex unopposed on the ‘old Tory interest’. Since 1784 he had been a supporter of Pitt, though silent and a reluctant attender. He was regarded as a representative of the agricultural interest and chaired the committee on the corn bill in March and April 1791. He was at that time listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. On 25 Aug. he wrote to Pitt, suggesting a veto on wheat importation on account of the good harvest at home. On 23 Nov. he wrote to his friend the Speaker, this time to urge Pitt to do something for his sons Edward and William. He opposed lowering the Greenland whale bounties, 24 Feb., and criticized the wine licence bill, 24 Apr. 1792. On 4 Jan. 1793 he assured Pitt that there was no need to circularize him for his attendance, though he would be briefly delayed in the country. In January 1796 his protégé, Francis Smythies, recorder of Colchester, offered to bring Bramston’s son in for Harwich, but nothing came of it.1

On 3 Aug. 1796 Bramston informed the Speaker that he was ‘somewhat impatient for a little sunshine in politics as well as for our harvest’. He was concerned at the price of meat, the shortage of specie, the savagery of the French revolutionaries and the war weariness of the militia.2 That year he was a member of the committees on abeyant legislation and on the promulgation of statutes. On 3 Mar. 1797 he brought up the report of the committee of inquiry into the Bank of England’s stoppage of cash payments, and on 7 Mar. a supplement to it. He voted for Pitt’s assessed taxes, 4 Jan. 1798, and on 9 Jan. 1799 wrote to congratulate him on his income tax bill, though ‘want of health’ had prevented his attendance on it. In October 1800 Pitt was interested to have Bramston’s views on current affairs through the Speaker.3 On the latter’s becoming premier, he was appointed to the East India judicature committee, 9 Dec. 1801.

In 1802 Bramston retired and was unanimously thanked by the county for his services: he gave his blessing to the candidature of his successor Eliab Harvey. On 13 June 1803 he wrote to Addington deploring Pitt’s rift with him.4 In 1810 his son-in-law became county Member. He died 12 Mar. 1813.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. PRO 30/8/107, f. 140; 116, ff. 22, 24; 179, f. 213.
  • 2. Sidmouth mss.
  • 3. PRO 30/8/116, f. 28; Sidmouth mss, Pitt to Addington, 8 Oct. 1800.
  • 4. Sidmouth mss.