STOPFORD, James, 2nd Earl of Courtown [I] (1731-1810).

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



1774 - Dec. 1774
1780 - June 1793

Family and Education

b. 28 May 1731, 1st s. of James, 1st Earl of Courtown [I], by Elizabeth, da. of Rt. Rev. Edward Smith, bp. of Down and Connor. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1749. m. 19 Apr. 1762, Mary, da. and coh. of Richard Powys of Hintlesham Hall, Suff. by Lady Mary Brudenell, da. of George, 3rd Earl of Cardigan, 4s. 1da. suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Courtown [I] 12 Jan. 1770; KP 5 Feb. 1783; cr. Baron Saltersford [GB] 7 June 1796.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1761-8.

PC [I] 28 Oct. 1775; ld. of bedchamber to Prince of Wales 1780-4; PC [GB] 20 Aug. 1784; treasurer of Household 1784-93.


Courtown was a large landowner in Ireland, but had little property or political interest in England. He sat in the House on the interest of his wife’s uncle, the 1st Earl of Ailesbury. He was an inconspicuous Member. He was listed hostile to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in April 1791. His great ambition was a British peerage, which seemed assured since he was in favour with George III. In 1791 the Duke of Buccleuch was negotiating with Ailesbury for the seat for Marlborough expected shortly to be vacant through Courtown’s promotion, and in 1793 Stopford retired from the Commons, presumably having received a definite promise. Three years later he was created a peer of Great Britain: he had jogged the King’s memory on the subject, 12 Dec. 1794. He died 30 Mar. 1810.

Geo. III Corresp. i. 603; ii. 1174; SRO GD224/31, Ailesbury to Buccleuch, 17 Nov. 1791.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne