WELBY, William Earle (1768-1852), of Denton Hall, Lincs.

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



1807 - 1820

Family and Education

b. 14 Nov. 1768, 1st s. of Sir William Earle Welby, 1st Bt.*, by 1st w. Penelope, da. of Sir John Glynne, 6th Bt. educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1787. m. 30 Aug. 1792, Wilhelmina, da. and h. of William Spry, gov. Barbados, 3s. 7da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 6 Nov. 1815.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Lincs. 1823-4.

Lt. Ossington vols. 1803.


Until he succeeded to the estate, Welby was a partner in the Newark banking house of Welby & Co.1 In 1807 he was returned for Grantham after a contest in conjunction with the Duke of Rutland’s nominee against Sir William Manners*, just as his father had been in 1802. A supporter of successive administrations, he was unobtrusive in the House. No speech is known. He took leave of absence, 4 May 1808. He voted with ministers on the address, 23 Jan. 1810, and on the Scheldt inquiry, 5 and 30 Mar., the Whigs listing him ‘against the Opposition’ at that time. On 1 Jan. 1811 he was in the government minority on the Regency. Between then and 13 June 1812, when he took leave of absence, no further vote is known. In this interval he was dismayed at the Duke of Rutland’s surrender of his interest at Grantham in exchange for sporting rights on the estates of Sir William Manners, and, in retaliation, barred the duke’s sport on his own. With corporation support he came to a compromise with Manners before the election of 1812, averting a contest. Grantham had bestowed on him the nickname of ‘the chimney sweeper’ because of his dark complexion.2

Listed a Treasury supporter after his re-election, Welby opposed Catholic relief throughout in 1813. After entering on his inheritance, he became a doubtful attender. He took leave of absence on 25 Mar. 1816, but was present to vote against Catholic claims on 21 May. He was in the majorities on Admiralty salaries, 17 Feb., and for the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June 1817. His never voting against ministers and his inactivity were criticized on the hustings in 1818, but he headed the poll.3 He further voted with ministers against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819. In 1820 he retired in the face of another contest. He died 3 Nov. 1852.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: M. H. Port / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. P.O. London Directory (1808), 335.
  • 2. Lonsdale mss, Long to Lonsdale, 8, 15 Nov. 1811; Lincs. AO, Ancaster mss, 3 Anc. 494, Manners to Heathcote, 9 Oct. [1812].
  • 3. A Collection of all the Addresses (Grantham, 1818), 20.