SHELLEY, Henry (1767-1811), of Lewes, Suss.

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



1802 - 31 Dec. 1811

Family and Education

bap. 12 Apr. 1767, 1st s. of Henry Shelley of Lewes by Philadelphia, da. of Sir Lynch Salusbury Cotton, 4th Bt., of Llyweni, Denb. educ. Westminster 1777; Christ Church, Oxf. 1783. unm. suc. fa. 1805.

Offices Held

Cornet, 1 Life Gds. 1790, lt. 1791, capt. 1794; halfpay 97 Ft. 1795; capt. 20 Ft. 1799, 85 Ft. 1802; halfpay 1803.


Shelley, son of a highly respected Lewes magistrate, contested the borough in 1790. He appears, from a letter of Thomas Steele, the Treasury secretary, to a local resident to have claimed the support of government, but this was denied him and he stood on an independent interest. He then took up a military career. As aide-de-camp to General Hulse in Holland he underwent hardships subsequently blamed as ‘the foundation of all his sufferings’.11

In 1802 Shelley again offered at Lewes and this time he ousted Thomas Kemp. He is not known to have opposed Addington’s ministry and was listed ‘doubtful etc.’ by Pitt’s friends in May 1804. After opposing Pitt’s additional force bill in June 1804 (he further voted for its repeal on 6 Mar. 1805) he was listed ‘Fox and Grenville’ in September 1804 and ‘Opposition’ in July 1805, having meanwhile appeared in both majorities against Melville. In May 1806 he promoted the Lewes paving bill in the House. He was unopposed at the election of 1806, supporting the Grenville ministry. He was among the ‘staunch friends’ of the abolition of the slave trade and on 9 Apr. 1807 voted his hostility to the Portland ministry, like his colleague Kemp. They were again unopposed at the ensuing election.

Shelley remained in opposition. On 6 July 1807 he supported Whitbread’s censure motion, on 14 Mar. 1808 opposed the mutiny bill, and on 4 Apr. the remodelling of the finance committee. He voted against the convention of Cintra, 21 Feb. 1809, and in three minorities against the Duke of York’s conduct, 15-17 Mar. He paired with James Du Pré in March 1810 on the Scheldt expedition, the Whigs confirming him then as one of their supporters. No further vote is known, but on 11 Jan. 1811 he took six weeks’ leave for ill health. He died 31 Dec. 1811, after a ‘very long and painful illness’.2 He was the last of the male line of the Shelleys of Patcham, cadets of the Michelgrove family.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: M. H. Port


  • 1. W. D. Cooper, Parl. Hist. Suss. 25; Suss. Weekly Advertiser, 6 Jan. 1812.
  • 2. Blair Adam mss, Loch to Adam, ?21 Mar. 1810; Suss. Weekly Advertiser, 6 Jan. 1812.