ELLIS, Welbore (1713-1802), of Tylney Hall, Hants.

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



24 Dec. 1741 - 1747
1761 - 1768
1768 - 1774
29 Apr. 1791 - 13 Aug. 1794

Family and Education

b. 15 Dec. 1713, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Rt. Rev. Welbore Ellis, DD, bp. of Kildare and Meath, by Diana, da. of Sir John Briscoe of Boughton, Northants. and Amberley, Suss. educ. Westminster 1727-32; Christ Church, Oxf. 1732. m. (1) 18 Nov. 1747, Elizabeth (d. 1 Aug. 1761), da. and h. of Sir William Stanhope of Eythrope, Bucks., s.p.; (2) 20 July 1765, Anne, da. of George Stanley of Paultons, Hants, s.p. suc. fa. 1734; cr. Baron Mendip 13 Aug. 1794.

Offices Held

Ld. of Admiralty June 1747-Dec. 1755; jt. vice-treasurer [I] Dec. 1755-Dec 1762; PC 20 Mar. 1760; sec. at war Dec. 1762-July 1765; jt. vice-treasurer [I] Apr. 1770-June 1777; treasurer of navy June 1777-Feb. 1782; sec. of state for America Feb.-Mar. 1782.


Ellis’s official career ended with Lord North’s, without the accolade of the peerage he wished for. He went into opposition to Pitt with North. In 1790 he was unprovided with a seat following the change of patronage at Weymouth and was expected to retire.1 But he was prepared to purchase one and seized on an opening at Petersfield, on William Jolliffe’s interest, in April 1791, his sponsor being the Duke of Portland. Jolliffe preferred him to a nominee of the Prince of Wales.2 He voted with opposition on the Russian armament, 1 Mar. 1792, but was apparently silent in debate. In December 1792 he was listed a Portland Whig and in February 1793 thought of as a recruit for Windham’s ‘third party’. At any rate, he ceased to act with opposition and in the first few months of 1794 joined Portland’s group at Burlington House to concert measures.3 On 14 May he was named to the secret committee on sedition. When the duke went over to government that summer, he obtained Ellis a peerage. As Ellis ‘freely’ bestowed his seat on Portland’s nominee, he must have paid for it.4

A fund of anecdote and of classical knowledge, Mendip died 2 Feb. 1802, ‘almost the last of the respectable statesmen and politicians of the old school’, according to Lord Glenbervie, who added ‘I do not know of another alive who sat in Parliament with Sir Robert Walpole’.5 By special remainder his title passed to his great-nephew Henry Agar Ellis*, Viscount Clifden.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Cornwallis Corresp. ii. 42.
  • 2. Prince of Wales Corresp. ii. 576.
  • 3. Add. 33630, ff. 1, 11, 15; 33631, f. 4.
  • 4. Portland mss PwF3580.
  • 5. Glenbervie Diaries, i. 56, 206, 309.