MONCKTON ARUNDELL, Robert, 4th Visct. Galway [I] (1752-1810).

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



1780 - Feb. 1783
17 Nov. 1783 - 1790
1796 - 1802

Family and Education

b. 4 July 1752, 2nd surv. s. of William Monckton (Arundell), 2nd Visct. Galway [I], by Elizabeth (formerly Sarah), da. of Joseph da Costa Villa Real of College Hill, London. educ. at Croydon by Mr Apthorpe; Grand Tour until 1775. m. (1) 4 Mar. 1779, Elizabeth (d. 19 Nov. 1801), da. of Daniel Mathew of Felix Hall, Essex, 5s. 4da.; (2) 24 May 1803, Mary Bridget, da. and h. of Pemberton Milnes of Bawtry Hall, Yorks., wid. of Peter Auriol Hay Drummond, s.p. suc. bro. as 4th Visct. 2 Mar. 1774; KB 20 Dec. 1786.

Offices Held

PC 16 Apr. 1784; comptroller of the Household 1784-7.

Capt. Alford vols. 1803; capt. commdt. Bawtry inf. 1803, maj. commdt. 1804.


Galway, supported by the Yorkshire Association in his successful contests of 1783 and 1784, announced his intention of retiring from York in November 1787 and drew from Lord John Cavendish the comment ‘I suppose he means to save himself all future expense’.1 A supporter of Pitt since 1784, on 12 Nov. 1788 he joined the Whig Club. He voted with them on the Regency 1788-9 and subscribed £300 to the Westminster election fund in 1788 when, according to Fox, he was ‘indefatigable in his labours to serve us’.2 In 1790 he was defeated at Pontefract, where the right of election was in dispute. Although he was a substantial burgage owner, he stood on the right of the inhabitant householders and after a committee had confirmed their right, published a handbill on 31 Mar. 1791 in which he declared himself to be ‘a very zealous advocate for promoting an equality in the parliamentary representation from principle’, and stated that he would contest the borough on the first vacancy.3 Yet he did not contest by-elections in 1791 and 1794, despite his deteriorating financial circumstances, which would have made a seat in the House welcome.

Auckland had reported to Grenville from The Hague on 26 May 1792:

Lord Galway has been here in a state of continued intoxication, which must soon put an end to him. His understanding (such as it was) is quite gone; he lives in the streets, and is incessantly in quarrels with the lower people. He came to me at two o’clock in the morning to desire protection against a Jew whom he had taken by the beard, and by whom in return he had been treated with an unchristian severity. His servants had requested me to have him by some means sent back to his friends in England; luckily the want of money (for he spent £150 here in two days) has forced him back.4

In August 1794 Galway himself told Portland that he had ‘unfortunately spent more money than I could well afford’ and applied for a place, mentioning a government in the West Indies or an office in Ireland which he could combine with taking his seat in the Irish house of lords. If neither was available he asked for a temporary seat in the Commons, ‘which in my present state is of more consequence to me’. On 18 Aug. his uncle Edward Monckton* informed Portland that Galway had recently stayed with him at Somerford ‘conducting himself better than he has done for many years back, never exceeding half a pint of wine a day’; but he had been unable to effect a permanent reconciliation between Galway and his wife and felt that ‘the strongest means the law will allow of must be taken with him ... and yet I am afraid that it is not in the power of the law to save his property against his own consent’. On 29 Aug. Galway again wrote to Portland, telling him that through the intervention of his uncle and his brother-in-law Sir Francis Sykes* his affairs were ‘likely soon to be arranged’, that a seat in Parliament was no longer a necessity, but that he was still desirous of office at home or abroad.5

Office he did not get, but in 1796 he was returned unopposed for Pontefract. He is not known to have spoken in this Parliament and only three votes with opposition are known: on the suspension of cash payments by the Bank, 28 Feb. and 1 Mar., and on the French attack on Ireland, 3 Mar. 1797. On 25 Feb. 1801 he took six weeks’ compassionate leave. He did not contest Pontefract in 1802 and for the remainder of his life the seat was filled by relations. On 17 Oct. 1806 he applied unsuccessfully through Earl Fitzwilliam for advancement in the peerage, saying that he was ‘certain had Mr Fox been alive he would have been friendly to me’.6 Galway died 23 July 1810.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: J. M. Collinge


  • 1. Fitzwilliam mss, X512/20.
  • 2. Wentworth Woodhouse mun.
  • 3. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Galway mss 12,250/94.
  • 4. HMC Fortescue, ii. 274-5.
  • 5. Portland mss PwF6856, 6853, 6857.
  • 6. Fitzwilliam mss.