LANGHAM, James (1776-1833), of Bedford Square, Mdx. and Cottesbrooke, Northants.

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



1802 - 1806

Family and Education

b. 21 Aug. 1776, 3rd s. of Sir James Langham, 7th Bt., of Cottesbrooke by Juliana, sis. and h. of Thomas Musgrave of Old Cleeve, Som. educ. Eton 1785-94; Christ Church, Oxf. 1794-8; L. Inn 1793, called 1802. m. 26 May 1800, Elizabeth, da. of Francis Burdett of Foremark, Derbys., sis. of (Sir) Francis Burdett*, 5th Bt., 7s. 4da. suc. his nephew as 10th Bt. 12 May 1812.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Northants. 1816-17.

Lt. Cottesbrooke vol. inf. 1803.


Langham was called to the bar in the year he entered Parliament. He appeared in the list of counsel for several years afterwards. He was returned on Lord Eliot’s interest as a friend of Addington’s administration and was named for the court of East India judicature on behalf of the House.1 He evidently took no part in debate until the advent of Pitt’s second ministry in 1804 when he was listed Addingtonian throughout. The only subject in which he showed a keen interest while in Parliament was defence, and Pitt’s additional force bill did not satisfy him: he said he opposed it on principle, 11 June 1804. This must have dashed the hopes of the Pittites that he was one of ‘Addington’s friends on whom some impression might be made’. On 6 Mar. 1805 he spoke in favour of Sheridan’s motion for the repeal of the Additional Force Act, but was careful to add that ‘in doing so he should not pledge himself to vote against the administration’ despite Whig hopes that the speech was a presage of Addingtonian support.2 On 2 May he said that no vote of thanks to the commissioners of naval inquiry was necessary: they had merely done their duty.

When his leader took office in 1806, Langham spoke in favour of Windham’s defence proposals, 3 Apr., and on 30 Apr. voted with the government majority for the repeal of the Additional Force Act. He successfully opposed the election treating bill, 9 June. His seat was no longer available after the dissolution and Langham was not again in Parliament. His brother Sir William, who unsuccessfully contested Northamptonshire (which their father had represented) in 1806 and aspired to a peerage, died in 1812 and his son and heir four days later, so James succeeded to the baronetcy. His name was mentioned as a candidate for the county in 1814, but according to Lord Althorp writing to his father, 31 Mar. 1815, about the borough of Northampton:

I think it ... doubtful whether Sir James Langham would like to stand and I am sure he would be a very unpopular candidate. He is quite out of the question as to the county, his having refused to be steward at the races next year is quite decisive.3

The decision was said to have disappointed many,4 but Langham kept to it. He died 14 Apr. 1833.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. J. Wilson, Biog. Index (1806), 328.
  • 2. Leveson Gower, ii. 36.
  • 3. Spencer mss.
  • 4. Ibid. Lady to Ld. Spencer, 22 Sept. 1814.