EARDLEY (formerly GIDEON), Sampson, 1st Baron Eardley [I] (1745-1824), of Belvedere, Kent and Spalding, Lincs.
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Family and Education
b. 10 Oct. 1745, o.s. of Sampson Gideon, stockbroker, of Stepney, Mdx. by Jane, da. of Charles Ermell. educ. Tonbridge 1752-60; Eton 1761-3; Christ Church, Oxf. 1763; L. Inn 1762; Grand Tour 1767. m. 6 Dec. 1766, Maria Marrow, da. of Sir John Eardley Wilmot, c.j.c.p. 1766-71, 2s. d.v.p. 3da. suc. fa. 1762; took name of Eardley in lieu of Gideon 17 July 1789. cr. Bt. 21 May 1759; Baron Eardley [I] 24 Sept. 1789.
The subject of this article acquired an appetite for metamorphosis. He was the son of a prominent Sephardi financier by his Anglican wife. His father’s financial services to government led to the bestowal of a baronetcy on his 13-year-old Christian son. He used his wealth to buy his seats in Parliament. Too indolent for a county Member, he was practically out of the question for Cambridgeshire after his defeat in 1780, though the Yorke family were advised to consider him as a colleague in 1788 and were glad of his support in the fens.1 Having fought Pitt’s battle at Coventry in 1784, he acquired first the surname and then the Irish barony of Eardley in 1789. This put him in good humour to spend lavishly again at Coventry in 1790, when his partner was his brother-in-law John Wilmot*. Nevertheless, he was abused there as ‘the Jew naturalised’ and ‘the mum orator’ and betrayed by scores of those pledged to his support.2 In April 1791 he was listed hostile to the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland. When he applied indirectly to Pitt for an Irish earldom the prime minister replied, 8 Jan. 1792, that this would make two steps in the peerage, but he was prepared to recommend him for an Irish viscountcy. Nothing came of this, though there were rumours of his obtaining an English title in February 1797.3
Eardley gave up Coventry in 1796, thinking that his prospects there were marred.4 He bought a close borough seat from Sir Francis Sykes* instead. He retired in 1802, having made no mark in his last two Parliaments. Like his father a man of startling benevolence, he died 25 Dec. 1824.5
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. Add. 35654, f. 215; 35701, f. 309.
- 2. T. W. Whitley, Parl. Rep. Coventry, 202-6, 215; A correct copy of the poll (Piercy and Luckman, Coventry, 1790), 87.
- 3. PRO 30/8/195, f. 104; Morning Chron. 26 Feb. 1796.
- 4. Morning Chron. 20 May 1796.
- 5. Gent. Mag. (1825), i. 180; Wraxall Mems. ed. Wheatley, v. 121.