BURRELL, Sir Peter, 2nd Bt. (1754-1820), of Langley Park, Beckenham, Kent.

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



4 Nov. 1776 - 1780
23 Mar. 1782 - 1796

Family and Education

b. 16 July 1754, o.s. of Peter Burrell of Langley Park by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of John Lewis of Hackney, Mdx. educ. Eton 1761-70; St. John’s, Camb. 1771; L. Inn 1774. m. 23 Feb. 1779, Lady Priscilla Barbara Elizabeth Bertie, da. of Peregrine, 3rd Duke of Ancaster, 3s. 1da. suc. fa. 1775. His w. suc. to a great part of the Ancaster estates 1779, to the barony of Willoughby de Eresby and to the hered. office of ld. gt. chamberlain 18 Mar. 1780; Burrell was appointed her dep. Aug. 1781. Kntd. 6 July 1781; Sir Merrick Burrell as 2nd Bt. 6 Apr. 1787; cr. Baron Gwydir 16 June 1796.

Offices Held

Master of the horse to Prince of Wales 1796; PC 7 June 1820.

Col. N. Lincs. supp. militia 1797, Lincs. vol. cav. 1798; maj. Mdx. yeomanry 1803.


Burrell continued to sit for Boston on his wife’s family interest. Thanks to her he was worth about £18,000 a year and kept the best table in town, though he was said to be still ‘dissatisfied’. In her right, he was also lord chamberlain and, as such, officiated at the trial of Warren Hastings, in which he created an impression by his ‘handsome person, graceful address and affable manners’. Less charitable observers found him ‘affected’.1 Before 1790, when present, he had acted with opposition in the House. On 4 Apr. 1791 he opposed a clause in the corn bill and on 12 Apr. voted in the minority on the Oczakov resolutions; the same month he was listed a supporter of repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. In December 1792 he was listed a Portland Whig. During the debate on the aliens bill, 31 Dec., he stated that he differed from ‘those with whom he had been accustomed to act’ and felt bound to make a candid avowal of it in public, as he had not privately informed Fox of it; and that his hostility to French principles made the bill highly necessary in his eyes: ‘the measures, not the men, demanded his concurrence, the question appeared to him, not whether we ought to support government, but whether we should have any government at all’. Fox did not reproach him; Windham could not draw him into his ‘third party’; and Burrell transferred his allegiance to Pitt, who described him in 1793 as his ‘neighbour and friend’.2

On 21 Jan. 1794 Burrell seconded the address, supporting the war with France. He further spoke on the manning of the navy, 5 Mar. 1795, and the seditious meetings bill, 27 Nov., and secured a motion for extending the bounty on corn to that being stored in warehouses, 16 Dec. 1795. He sat on the loan committee that session.3 At the dissolution of 1796, he received a peerage, and Lord Jersey’s place in the Prince of Wales’s household. He continued to support Pitt in the Lords, describing him after his death as ‘a blessing to mankind and an ornament to the civilized world’. At his son’s request, he supported the Grenville administration in 1806. By then his health was, he thought, precarious. After prolonged insomnia, he had obtained leave for his son Peter to deputize for him as lord chamberlain: but residence at Sidmouth improved matters. He remained attached to Lord Grenville and survived until 29 June 1820, the gout from which he had so long suffered ‘flying to his stomach’.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Farington, i. 71; Minto, i. 188; Parl. Portraits (1795), ii. 39; Glenbervie Jnls. 126.
  • 2. Add. 34446, f. 386; Camden mss C 255/1, Pitt to Bayham, 23 Dec. 1793.
  • 3. Colchester, i. 20.
  • 4. HMC Fortescue, viii. 27, 182; Fortescue mss, Burrell to Auckland, Mon. [17 Mar. 1806]; PRO 30/8/140, f. 372; Gent. Mag. (1820), i. 637.