WILSON, Giffin (1766-1848), of Lincoln's Inn Fields, Mdx. and Everley Lodge, Herts.

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



25 June 1808 - 1812

Family and Education

b. 1766, 1st s. of Rev. Edward Wilson, DD, rector of Binfield, Berks., preb. of Gloucester and canon of Windsor, by w. Sarah (d.1810). educ. L. Inn 1782, called 1789. m. (1) 19 July 1787, Ann, da. and h. of Peter Crachet Jouvençal of Clapham, Surr., s.p.; (2) 4 Apr. 1805, Harriet, da. of Gen. George Hotham, 1da. d.v.p. suc. fa. 1804; kntd. 18 Nov. 1823.

Offices Held

Commr. of bankrupts 1793-1820; recorder, Windsor 1808-d.; solicitor to Ordnance 1811-26; KC 7 Aug. 1818; bencher L. Inn 1819, treasurer 1830, vice-chancellor co. pal. of Lancaster 1822-6; vice-j. Chester circuit 1825-30; master in Chancery Mar. 1826-d.

Vol. London and Westminster light horse 1794-6.


Wilson’s father, a former tutor of William Pitt who regarded himself as a friend as much as a protégé of the prime minister’s family, commended his sons Giffin and Gloucester to him, 20 Feb. 1789, just after the former had been called to the bar:

they both have ambition, understanding and information ... that ... will not disgrace your patronage either in the courts of law or in the senate. It will I am sure be the glory of their lives to be active in your service.

Pitt could not then satisfy Giffin’s parliamentary ambition and his father wrote, 20 Dec. 1789, ‘I flatter myself that the weight of your opinion has for the present at least allayed the warmth of his ardour’.1

Pitt found a customs place for Gloucester Wilson ten years later but was in his grave before Giffin, a Chancery lawyer, found his way into Parliament. He came in unopposed for Yarmouth, paying £3,500, on Lord Suffield’s interest when Lushington, one of the sitting Members, was evicted for opposition sympathies in 1808.2 He presented no such problem, proving a reliable supporter of Perceval’s administration. The Whigs listed him ‘against the Opposition’, in 1810, when he stood by ministers on the address and Scheldt questions, 23, 26 Jan., 5 and 30 Mar., and voted against the release of the radical Gale Jones, 16 Apr. He was in the ministerial minority on the Regency, 1 Jan. 1811. Sir Samuel Romilly, noting that Wilson was the only member of Lord Chancellor Eldon’s court who voted for him on Whitbread’s censure motion of 25 Feb. 1811, commented that he supported ministers ‘on all occasions’.3 He had little to say in debate and was a quibbler: he approved Romilly’s Bankrupt Laws bill in principle, but not in detail, 29 Mar., 19 Apr. 1809. He refused to support Brougham’s additional resolution of censure on the board of Ordnance over the securities of Joseph Hunt*, 12 Apr. 1810. He favoured the Westminster hustings bill, 2 Apr. 1811. He wished to postpone the problem of delays in Chancery, 3 June 1811, on the basis of 22 years’ experience; and paid fulsome tribute to the lord chancellor. On 26 Feb. 1812 he was named to the committee on the subject. He was made solicitor to the Ordnance. He had voted against the abolition of McMahon’s sinecure, 24 Feb. 1812. On 9 Mar. he promised an amendment to the bankers embezzlement bill and two days later obtained leave for a Marriage Act amendment bill, with reference to marriages without consent. He made no mark in the House between 24 Mar. and 23 July 1812, when he informed Romilly that he hoped the statements in the petition of a radical bookseller against his imprisonment were veracious.

Wilson had known for over a year that the Suffield interest at Yarmouth was in eclipse, but he stood again in 1812, only to be defeated. He resumed his legal career, took silk and became a master in Chancery. He died 4 Aug. 1848, aged 82.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. PRO 30/8/190, ff. 155, 157.
  • 2. C. J. Palmer, Hist. Gt. Yarmouth, 231.
  • 3. Romilly, Mems. ii. 375.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1848), ii. 319.