ALCOCK, Thomas (1801-1866), of Kingswood Warren, Reigate, Surr. and 33 Curzon Street, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 19 Aug. 1801,1 4th but 3rd surv. s. of Joseph Alcock (d. 1821) of 51 Welbeck Street, Mdx. and Roehampton, Surr. and 1st w. Elizabeth Jane, da. of Richard Tayler, gunpowder merchant, of 69 Old Broad Street, London and Charlton House, Sunbury, Mdx. educ. ?Harrow 1813-17. m. 12 July 1831, Elizabeth, da. of R.-Adm. Henry Stuart of Montagu Square, Mdx., s.p. suc. bro. Joseph Alcock of Roehampton 1822. d. 22 Aug. 1866.
Cornet 1 Drag. Gds. 1820, lt. 1821; lt. (half-pay) 24 Drag. 1823, ret. 1832.
Sheriff, Surr. 1837-8.
Alcock’s grandfather William Alcock (d. 1764) was one of the Alcocks of Sibertoft, Northamptonshire. He lived at Ravenstone, near Ashby-de-la-Zouche in Leicestershire, where in December 1754 he married Mary, the daughter of John Mawbey (d. 1754). Her brothers John Mawbey (d. 1786), who sold Alcock his family’s Ravenstone property, and Joseph Mawbey† (1730-98), were partners in a lucrative vinegar distillery at Vauxhall in south London. Joseph Mawbey, who was awarded a baronetcy by the Rockingham ministry in 1765, was appointed administrator that year of William Alcock’s estate. Assisting Alcock’s sons, one of whom died young, he procured a clerkship at the treasury for the eldest, this Member’s father Joseph, who rose to senior clerk (1785-98), chief clerk (1798-9), chief clerk of the revenue (1799-1821) and auditor (1815-21), and a military commission for Thomas Alcock (d. 1856), who served with distinction in the Bengal army, married Caroline St. Leger, daughter of the 1st Viscount Doneraile, and was treasurer of the ordnance, 1810-18; but little can be stated with certainty about the third son John Alcock, who trained as a lawyer.2 Joseph Alcock died at Roehampton, Surrey, in August 1821, having devised real estate in Lincolnshire to his eldest son Joseph, an assistant clerk of revenue in the treasury, with remainder, in default of his issue, to the other surviving sons of his first marriage, John and Thomas. Joseph also inherited the family’s Ravenstone property, subject to his sister Maria’s life interest, and their Surrey estates, while the younger children each received £20,000 in three and a half per cent Bank annuities and shares (worth £4,222 to each in 1823) in the fortune of their stepmother Mary, the daughter of the Rev. Roger Pettiward, DD, of Putney.3 Joseph died unmarried in Brighton, 20 Dec. 1822, predeceased by his next brother John, so Thomas, then newly of age, became the principal beneficiary of his will, dated 29 Oct. 1821, and proved under £80,000. Thomas Alcock inherited all the family’s real estate and the residue of personal estate calculated at £29,015 in 1826, to which he soon added the Surrey manor of Kingswood.4
At the general election of 1826 Alcock came in unopposed for Newton on the Legh interest. He did not apparently speak in debate, but he divided against Catholic relief, 6 Mar., and with the Liverpool government for the duke of Clarence’s annuity, 16 Mar. 1827. He voted in the protectionist minority against the corn bill, 2 Apr., and the Tory minority against the Coventry magistracy bill, 18 June 1827. He divided against repealing the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and Catholic relief, 12 May, for the usury laws amendment bill, 19 June, and in the Wellington ministry’s majority on the ordnance estimates, 4 July 1828. Soon afterwards he went on an 18-month tour of Russia, Persia, Turkey and Greece (described in his Travels, privately printed in 1831) and so was absent from Parliament when Catholic emancipation was conceded in 1829. He divided for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr. 1830, and left the House at the dissolution that year.
Alcock’s political views subsequently changed, for it was as a Liberal that he came in for Ludlow in 1839 after standing unsuccessfully there two years earlier. Unseated afterwards for bribery, he retained properties in the borough until at least 1847.5 He failed to come in for East Surrey at a by-election in February 1841, but was elected there in 1847 and sat for 18 years until ‘failing health’ obliged him to retire. He published The Tenure of Land in Ireland (1848), in which he advocated reform on the Ulster model. He died at Great Malvern in August 1866, recalled as a ‘singularly dispassionate’ man, with a ‘gentle manner and cultivated tastes’. He reputedly spent £40,000 on the erection and endowment of churches, vicarages and schools in Lincolnshire (where he added to his family’s holdings) and Surrey.6 By his will, dated 2 Dec. 1864 and sworn 19 Dec. 1866 (and again in May 1892), his estates, except the entailed Lincoln property, were placed in trust and some £40,000 was distributed in legacies to his wife and his three married sisters and their children.7
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Authors: David R. Fisher / Margaret Escott
- 1. Ex inf. Stephen Lees.
- 2. J. Nichols, Leics. iii. 933, 935; HP Commons, 1754-1790, iii. 121-3; PROB 6/141/210; 11/1144/392; 1310/494; 2236/604.
- 3. Gent. Mag. (1821), ii. 188; PROB 11/1646/439; IR26/852/802.
- 4. Gent. Mag. (1822), ii. 648; PROB 11/1665/48; IR26/938/85; VCH Surr. iii. 279, 281-3.
- 5. VCH Salop, iii. 336-9; Salop Archives, Messrs. Morgans, Solicitors, Ludlow 5411/133/14, 15, 20-23, 54; 135/2-6.
- 6. The Times, 27 Aug.; Caledonian Mercury, 27 Aug.; Gent. Mag. (1866), ii. 567-8; Sutton Local Stud. Cent. 3744/5/31.
- 7. Sutton Local Stud. Cent. 49/1(c.).