BRUEN, Henry (1789-1852), of Oak Park, co. Carlow.

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



1812 - 1831
1835 - 1837
5 Dec. 1840 - 5 Nov. 1852

Family and Education

b. 3 Oct. 1789, 1st s. of Henry Bruen, MP [I], of Oak Park by Henrietta Dorothea, da. of Francis Knox of Rappa Castle, co. Mayo. educ. Eton 1805; Christ Church, Oxf. 1808. m. 14 Sept. 1822, Anne Wandesforde, da. of Thomas Kavanagh, MP [I], of Borris House, co. Carlow, 1s. 3da. suc. fa. 1795.

Offices Held

Col. Carlow militia 1816; gov. co. Carlow 1816-31.


Bruen’s father, who came of a family settled in Ireland since the 17th century, made a fortune in the army commissariat in America, invested it in a county Carlow estate and was Member for the county.1 At the election of 1812, Bruen, ‘young, resident, very wealthy ... and lavish of his money’, contested the largely Catholic county as an opponent of Catholic relief and potential supporter of government, gaining the day with the help of a tactical blunder by Catholic voters.2

At Westminster he gave a steady support to government and expected due attention to his requests for patronage in return. Although Peel as chief secretary was usually able to comply with them and saw to it that he became a governor of the county and colonel of the militia in 1816, Bruen, who voted with ministers in May and June 1819, became dissatisfied, threatening in January 1821 to withdraw his support owing to ‘studied neglect’.3 This was denied and he was reconciled to government. No speech by him is known. After being reported as voting for the Catholic claims with the majority on 2 Mar. 1813 (though not in the chief secretary’s list), Bruen was subsequently in the hostile majority until he changed his mind in 1819. He died 5 Nov. 1852.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Procs. R. Irish Acad. lix., sec. C no. 1 (1957), 19; H. Macdougal, Sketches of Irish Political Character (1799), 300.
  • 2. Add. 51826, Skully to Holland, 19 Nov. 1812.
  • 3. Add. 40191, f. 167; 40280, f. 146; 40290, f. 154; 40297; Dublin SPO, 582/535/2.