BRANDLING, Charles (1733-1802), of Gosforth House, Northumb.

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



1784 - Dec. 1797

Family and Education

bap. 5 July 1733, 2nd s. of Ralph Brandling of Felling, co. Dur. by Eleanor, da. of Robert Ogle of Eglingham, Northumb. m. 3 Sept. 1756, Elizabeth, da. and h. of John Thompson of Shotton, co. Dur., 5s. 8da. suc. bro. 1751.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Northumb. 1781-2.


In 1787 Brandling was the only Member from Northumberland or Durham who supported Pitt’s administration. In 1790, when he was again returned unopposed, this isolation ceased: his son-in-law Rowland Burdon* came in for Durham. Meanwhile government had been ‘giving all the places on the Tyne to Mr Brandling’, whose family played a significant role in the commercial expansion of Tyneside. He and his heir exploited the mineral resources on their estates. Though not himself a banker, in 1793 (for the second time) he came to the rescue of a Newcastle bank in difficulties: one of his sons and two of his sons-in-law were bankers there. Thomas Creevey*, who married one of Brandling’s widowed daughters, regarded the family as ‘inveterate Pittites’.1

Brandling was listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in April 1791. He urged the House on 7 Mar. 1792 not to take into consideration the Duke of York’s Hanoverian revenues in assessing his marriage grant. He spoke in favour of the proclamation against sedition, 25 May 1792, hoping the nation would count its blessings and not risk its heritage for the sake of ‘speculative opinions’. On 9 May 1793 he described as ‘a little exaggerated’ Charles Grey’s allegations about the unruly behaviour of a press gang at Shields. On 29 Jan. 1794 he defended government against the charge of neglecting protection for the mercantile marine, and on 18 Feb. assailed the basis of Grey’s allegations on the subject by reference to divided opinion among northern shipowners. He concluded with ‘a very high eulogium upon the present administration and expressing a hope that God Almighty would continue to this country her happy Constitution to the end of time’. On behalf of his constituents, he criticized the additional paper bill, 20, 21 Mar. He admitted that, like his colleague Ridley, he had been fooled by a report of French vessels marauding on the Northumbrian coast, 25 Mar. On 30 Dec. he criticized Sir John Mitford for his insinuations against juries apropos of the recent treason trials. The same day he opposed Wilberforce’s peace motion, though his speech was scarcely reported. At this point, moreover, he became somewhat more critical. On 7 Jan. 1795 he conceded that trading vessels could do with more protection and called for an increase in the navy. He applauded Pitt for setting about it and deprecated continental military ventures, believing that the war should be offensive only at sea, 22 Jan. Denying that his constituents wished for peace, he called for better remuneration for sailors, 2 Feb. On 5 Feb. he spoke and voted against the imperial loan, preferring expenditure on the navy. He justified the seditious meetings prevention bill, 12 Nov., provided it was carefully scrutinized. He thought the House had better things to do than debate John Reeves’s libel against it, 23 Nov. He maintained that his constituents were in favour of barracks, 4 Dec. 1795.

Brandling had taken leave of absence for ‘severe indisposition’, 2 June 1795, but he was again returned unopposed in 1796. He opposed inquiry into the underlying causes of the Bank stoppage, 28 Feb. 1797. He was in the minority that favoured a veto on the export of barley, 3, 7 Apr. On 19 May he gave his ‘decided negative’ to Combe’s motion calling for the dismissal of the government: the war against French ‘inhumanity, cruelty and tyranny’ was not of their seeking. He approved the bill to penalize seduction of the armed forces, suggesting rewards for informers, 2 June. On 5 June, alarmed by the naval mutiny, he suggested that subjects might arm themselves to assist the executive, but the notion met with ministerial deprecation. Soon afterwards he had ‘a paralytic stroke whilst shooting on the moors’. He survived it, but retired from the House in favour of his eldest son in December 1797.2 He died 29 June 1802.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: Richard Brown / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Northumb. RO, Blackett mss ZBL 232, Trevelyan to Blackett, 19 Feb., 1 Mar. 1787; Add. 42774A, f. 51; New Hist. Northumb. xiii. 352; M. Phillips, Banks, Bankers and Banking in Northumb. 123; R. Welford, Men of Mark ’twixt Tyne and Tweed, i. 380; Fitzwilliam mss, box 76, Creevey to Milton, 24 Oct. 1809.
  • 2. Whitbread mss W1/863; Morning Chron. 27 Dec. 1797.