JODRELL, Richard Paul (1745-1831), of Lewknor, Oxon.

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



1790 - 19 Mar. 1792
29 Jan. 1794 - 1796

Family and Education

b. 13 Nov. 1745, 1st s. of Paul Jodrell, and bro. of Henry Jodrell*. educ. Eton 1756; Hertford, Oxf. 1764; L. Inn 1764, called 1771. m. 19 May 1772, his cos. Vertue, da. and coh. of Edward Hase of Sall, Norf., 3s. 2da. suc. fa.1751.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Oxon. 1781-2.


Jodrell was bred to the bar, in the family tradition, but did not persevere with the law and made a name for himself as a classical scholar and dramatist. He was friendly with Samuel Johnson and became a founder member of the Essex Head Club in 1783. To the Lewknor property which he inherited from his father in 1751 he added the adjoining manor of Nethercote, purchased for £8,400 in 1777.1

Before the general election of 1790 he was listed by William Adam*, one of the Whig election managers, among ‘candidates unfixed’,2 but it was on the Treasury interest that he successfully contested Seaford. He had something to say on the war against Tipu Sultan, 2 Mar., and chaired the committees of the whole House on the clerks of assize regulation bill, 13 May, and the finance report, 6 and 7 June 1791. He was unseated on petition, 19 Mar. 1792, but regained the Seaford seat at a contested by-election in January 1794. His marriage had given him a stake in Norfolk and he was a spokesman for government at the county meeting on national defence, 12 Apr. 1794.3

Jodrell is not known to have voted against government on any major issue; was reckoned an opponent of the repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791, and was listed as ‘pro’ in the ministerial election survey for 1796, but a degree of truculence marked some of his pronouncements during his second spell in Parliament. He wished the House to record its disapproval of Sir Benjamin Hammet’s alleged abuse of the privilege of franking, 10 Apr., and was critical of the terms of the convention with Austria, 28 May 1795. He was a teller for the minority in favour of the Lord’s Day observance bill, 13 Apr., and voted for Foster Barham’s motion censuring the conduct of Grey and Jervis in Martinique, 2 June 1795. He welcomed the bill to clarify the law concerning the obstruction of the free passage of food within the country, 31 Oct., and Sinclair’s plan for the encouragement of the cultivation of waste lands, 11 Dec., but opposed higher bounties for imports of corn, 15 Dec. 1795, when he argued that ‘our chief resource was to be sought in the improvement of our own country, and the cultivation of our waste lands’. Jodrell had supported the unsuccessful bill to prevent body-snatching, 31 Mar. and 3 June 1795, and on 11 Mar. 1796 he attempted to revive it in the guise of a measure to extend anatomization to the bodies of persons executed for burglary and highway robbery, but the sense of the House was uniformly hostile to his proposal. He complained that the curates maintenance bill ought not, as a money bill, to have originated in the Lords, 28 Apr., was ‘astonished’ when the Speaker insisted that it was in order, 3 May 1796, and was accused by Pitt of creating captious opposition to the measure. He did not stand for Seaford in 1796 and was never again in the House.

After leaving the House, Jodrell evidently changed sides in politics, for he signed the Norfolk petition for the removal of ministers, 10 Apr., and chaired the subsequent county meeting, 25 Apr. 1797.4 He may have been the Mr Jodrell who, sponsored by Lord Stanley, was elected to Brooks’s, 13 Apr. 1800. In 1816, the Society of Lincoln’s Inn sued him for arrears on a bond, recovered part of the debt, but struck his name from their books when he refused to pay the balance. His defiant letter, in which he claimed to have been ‘injured’ and ‘superseded, with many other seniors of the Society, by the call of juniors to the bench’, would seem to hint at the insanity which overtook him during the last ten years of his life.5 He died 26 Jan. 1831.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Brian Murphy


  • 1. VCH Oxon. viii. 101, 103.
  • 2. Ginter, Whig Organization, 255.
  • 3. Norf. RO, Colman Lib. mss 37.
  • 4. Colman Lib. mss 27.
  • 5. Black Bks. L. Inn, iv. 135, 137, 139, 140-2.