HEATHCOTE, John II (1767-1838), of Conington Castle, Hunts.
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Family and Education
b. 14 Nov. 1767, o.s. of John Heathcote I*. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1785-9. m. 5 Nov. 1799, Mary Anne, da. of George Thornhill of Diddington, Hunts., 3s. 2da. suc. fa. 1795.
Sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 1809-10.
Lt.-col. Hunts. vols. 1803, militia 1808.
A country gentleman who restored Conington Castle, Heathcote entered Parliament a year after his father’s death when his cousin Sir Gilbert Heathcote*, after purchasing a seat for Gatton, was chosen for Lincolnshire and substituted him.1 On the death of Lord Headley in April 1798, Heathcote was brought in for Ripon. (Curiously, the new writ for Gatton was not issued until nearly a year later).2 He retained this seat until 1806 when it was required for a relative of the patron.
Heathcote was less prone to opposition in the House than his cousin Sir Gilbert, but occasionally divided with the minority. On 19 June 1798, with his cousin, he supported Bankes’s amendment on the sending of the militia to Ireland. He voted his disappointment at the refusal to negotiate with France, 3 Feb. 1800. His only known speech, 11 Dec. 1800, was against the introduction of substitutes for parish relief. He and Sir Gilbert both took three weeks’ leave on 28 Mar. 1803. On 24 May he joined opposition to the resumption of hostilities. He opposed Pitt’s additional force bill in June 1804 and his loyalty posed a problem for the Treasury calculators in September 1804 when he was listed first ‘Addington’, then ‘Addington’s friends on whom some impression might be made’ and finally ‘doubtful Addington’. On 12 Feb. 1805, however, after Addington had joined the government, he voted against war with Spain and on 12 June he joined the majority for the criminal prosecution of Melville. Not surprisingly he was listed ‘Opposition’ in July. He was not in the minorities against the Grenville ministry, but did not vote either way on the repeal of Pitt’s Additional Force Act, 30 Apr. 1806.
There is no evidence that Heathcote sought to return to Parliament, but in the autumn of 1816 he was mentioned in Huntingdonshire as ‘the man most likely to be acceptable to both parties’ at the next election. Edward Maltby, for the Whigs, commended his former conduct in Parliament and the sentiments he expressed in conversation, but added that he was ‘timid and indecisive in regard to interfering in the elections of other people’. His approbation was echoed by others, yet his fears were confirmed: Heathcote did not come forward.3 He died 3 May 1838.