SCOURFIELD, William Henry (1776-1843), of Robeston Hall, Robeston West and New Moat, Pemb.
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Family and Education
b. 1776, o.s. of Henry Scourfield of New Moat and Robeston Hall by Elizabeth, da. of Rt. Rev. John Ewer, DD, bp. of Bangor. educ. New College, Oxf. 3 July 1793, aged 17. m. (1) 27 Oct. 1804, Maria (d. 20 Aug. 1835), da. of Lt.-Col. Edward Goate of Brent Eleigh Hall, Suff., 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 28 Dec. 1837, Louisa Sarah, da. of Richard Bowen of Manorowen, Pemb., s.p.s. suc. fa. 1810.
Sheriff, Pemb. 1812-13.
Capt. Pemb. militia 1795, maj. 1798, lt.-col. 1798; capt. commdt. Haverfordwest fus. 1803.
Scourfield, the first of his family to sit in Parliament, was the son of a country gentleman who transferred the family seat from upland Pembrokeshire to Robeston Hall, near Milford Haven, purchased from the pioneer industrialist Thomas Kymer. He owned 12,000 acres in the county with a rental of £3,000 p.a. and proceeded to rebuild his upland home of New Moat.1 In politics he was a Blue and supported Lords Milford and Kensington in their elections and Lord Cawdor’s son in the county election of 1812. In 1816 Milford and Kensington fell out as a result of the surprise coalition between Cawdor and their joint enemy (Sir) John Owen* of Orielton, and Kensington, who sat for Haverfordwest with Milford’s support, was obliged to give it up. Scourfield, earmarked for the purpose by Milford as early as 1805, and approved by Kensington in 1816, replaced him as the Blue candidate for Haverfordwest.2 He was returned unopposed without any reference to politics in 1818 and 1820 and resigned in 1826 when Milford’s heir was of age and desired the seat.
Milford, writing to Lord Liverpool, 20 June 1820, claimed that Scourfield, ‘who votes with the administration’, owed his seat to him; William Holmes, writing to Peel, 9 Dec. 1823, thought Scourfield held the seat in opposition to Milford’s interest.3 The latter was exaggerating: Scourfield was basically an independent man acceptable to the prevailing interest and with strong local ties which commended him to his constituents. No speech in Parliament and no minority vote is known before 1820. He was an absentee ordered to attend the House on 2 Mar. 1819 and voted against Tierney’s censure motion of 18 May. His opposition to Catholic relief and parliamentary reform led to his being described later as ‘a rank and uncompromising Tory’.4 The last of the male line of Scourfield, he died 31 Jan. 1843.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: R. G. Thorne
- 1. R. D. Rees, ‘Parl. Rep. S. Wales 1790-1830’ (Reading Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1962), ii. 482; R. Fenton, Tour, 195; Y Cymmrodor, xxxviii. 73.
- 2. Bodl. Clarendon dep. C. 431, bdle. 5, Foster Barham to Kensington, draft n.d. [May 1807], Cawdor to Foster Barham, 25 May; Carm. Jnl. 30 Aug. 1816.
- 3. Add. 38285, f. 282; 40359, f. 186.
- 4. Carm. Jnl. 26 Dec. 1834.