WYNDHAM, Wadham (1773-1843), of St. Edmund's College, Salisbury, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1818 - 6 May 1833
1835 - 23 Oct. 1843

Family and Education

b. 16 Oct. 1773, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Henry Penruddocke Wyndham† of St. Edmund’s College and Caroline, da. and h. of Edward Hearst of The Close, Salisbury.1 educ. Warminster sch. 1787; Eton 1793. m. 1 Mar. 1821, Anne Eliza, da. of Lt.-Gen. Sir John Slade, 1st bt., of Maunsell House, Som., s.p. suc. fa. 1819. d. 23 Oct. 1843.

Offices Held

Cornet Wilts. yeomanry 1794; capt. Wilts. militia 1796, maj. 1805.

Mayor, Wilton 1825-6.


In 1819 Wyndham succeeded his father, who was Member for Wiltshire, 1795-1812, to the bulk of an estate comprising land in Wiltshire and Hampshire, a medieval college in Salisbury and personal wealth sworn under £18,000.2 A ‘country squire of an old Tory family’, he was active in local government and landed society. After an abortive attempt in 1813, when he was made a freeman of the city, he was returned for his native borough at the general election of 1818.3 This was understood to be on the interest of the corporation, and with the tacit approval of the Tory 2nd earl of Radnor, who nominated his eldest son, Lord Folkestone, for the other seat. Unlike his colleague, he was a supporter of the Liverpool administration and an opponent of Catholic relief.4 He signed a protest in November 1819 against any Wiltshire meeting taking place over Peterloo, and the requisition in March 1820 for a meeting of freeholders to promote a loyal address to George IV. In the expectation of another contest for the county, he chaired a meeting, 3 Mar. 1820, when it was agreed to raise a subscription of £20,000 to ensure the success of John Benett.* He was again returned unopposed for Salisbury at the general election that month.5

He divided for production of the civil list revenue accounts, 3 May 1820, but was not listed as siding with opposition on any other motions for retrenchment and lower taxation in the early 1820s, and, indeed, voted against economies in revenue collection, 4 July 1820. He divided against censuring ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb., disqualifying civil officers of the ordnance from voting in parliamentary elections, 12 Apr., and the forgery punishment mitigation bill, 23 May 1821. He was in majorities against abolishing one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar., and inquiry into Irish tithes, 19 June 1822. In accordance with the mayor’s request, he forwarded to the corporation a copy of the petition from the inhabitants of Salisbury against the severity of Henry Hunt’s* gaol sentence, which was presented to the House by Benett, 24 Apr. 1822.6 He voted against reform of the Scottish representative system, 2 June 1823. No other trace of parliamentary activity has been found for that and the following year. As he had on 28 Feb. 1821, he divided against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, and the related Irish franchise bill, 26 Apr. 1825. He was publicly fêted on his return to Salisbury, 29 June, when he stated that

respecting the Catholic question, I assure you that my vote was not lightly given, nor until after the most mature deliberation on the important subject; for conscientiously differing from the opinion of many valued friends on this point, it demanded and received my most serious consideration; and the more I weighed the question in my mind, the more I felt convinced of the necessity of opposing the measure; for depend upon it, should the bill ever pass into a law, that sooner or later, consequences must arise that will endanger the safety of our present constitution.7

His name headed the requisition for a local meeting on slavery, 1 Feb., when he supported a petition for its abolition, which he presented to the Commons, 9 Feb. 1826.8

In giving thanks for his unopposed return at the general election of 1826, Wyndham trusted ‘that you will never have to accuse me of deviating from a manly independence, and that I shall ever evince an unshaken loyalty to my sovereign and a firm attachment to our excellent constitution’.9 Having been elected a burgess in 1819, he became mayor of Wilton, Lord Pembroke’s borough, in the autumn of 1825, but he was presumably not present to oversee the election of his distant relation, John Hungerford Penruddocke, and his fellow militia officer, Edward Baker, 12 June 1826, because his name is not among the signatories on the return.10 He divided against Catholic claims, 6 Mar. 1827. He voted against the second reading of the corn bill, 2 Apr., the disfranchisement of Penryn, 28 May, and the third reading of the Penryn election bill, 7 June 1827. Nothing came of attempts in early 1828 by Lord Chandos* to secure a place from the duke of Wellington, the new prime minister, for Wyndham, who Chandos claimed had recently sustained heavy losses.11 He voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and Catholic relief, 12 May. He presented a petition from the corporation of Salisbury against the alehouses’ licensing bill, 6 June 1828. He brought up an anti-Catholic one from the archdeaconry and clergy of the diocese of Sarum, 26 Feb. 1829, and, in his only known speech in Parliament, commented that ‘no petition from that quarter, and on that subject, had ever been more numerously or respectably subscribed’. He was listed by Planta, the patronage secretary, among those ‘opposed to the principle’ of the emancipation bill, and he signed the hostile Wiltshire declaration and voted against the measure, 6, 18, 30 Mar.12 He divided against the grant for the marble arch, 25 May. Perhaps it was partly because of his hostile votes that Peel, the home secretary, refused to appoint him to the receivership of police in London in July 1829, despite his experience of local business and his ‘integrity and high respectability’.13 Wellington offered him a position the following year, but what it was, or whether he accepted it, is not known.14 He was granted a week’s leave on urgent private business, 15 Mar. 1830. He paired against Jewish emancipation, 17 May. He presented a Salisbury petition against the sale of beer for on-consumption, 14 May, and voted for Knatchbull’s amendment to this effect, 21 June 1830.

At the general election of 1830 Wyndham was returned with Duncombe Pleydell Bouverie, who was a reformer, like his brother Folkestone, now 3rd earl of Radnor. He entertained Princess Victoria to lunch on her visit to Salisbury in October that year.15 He was listed by ministers among their ‘friends’, but was absent from the division on the civil list, 15 Nov. He was present the following day to hear the end of Wellington’s administration announced, and wrote to an unknown friend that ‘I can give no particulars further, and what will become of us God only knows’.16 He presented an anti-slavery petition from the Independents of Salisbury, 17 Nov. In late November and early December 1830 he saw service with militia units attempting to disperse rioters in the vicinity of Salisbury and at the attack on Benett at Pythouse.17 He voted against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election, he was spotted canvassing for Chandos at Chipping Wycombe.18 He himself faced a challenge at Salisbury and was barely given a hearing, 30 Apr., when he justified his vote against the reform bill as one cast conscientiously, and turned the attack on his opponent William Bird Brodie† by accusing him of inconsistency in now advocating the reforms he had once condemned. Brodie retaliated, and stressed that he had acted fairly by Wyndham in calling upon him to warn him of his plans and to persuade him to support reform, but that he had only received the answer

that the question was one involved in difficulty; that he dared not think for himself on it; and that Sir Robert Peel was the person, above all others, in whose opinion he generally placed the highest confidence; and that he should probably be guided by him.19

Wyndham, who informed a correspondent that ‘ministers are under some alarm, and by all accounts plunged into difficulty, by reason of their judicious measure and the excitement existing abroad’, believed that he had had the better of the argument. As expected, he was elected in second place, narrowly behind Pleydell Bouverie and, after rowdy scenes, he ‘got off as fast as he could, but did not escape being hustled’ in returning home.20 Brodie and Pleydell Bouverie offered again almost immediately, and Wyndham was therefore forced to issue an address himself, 4 June 1831, though he had to apologize to Radnor for inadvertently casting a slur on his brother’s conduct.21

He voted against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and for using the 1831 census to determine the boroughs in the disfranchisement schedules, 19 July 1831. He was listed as absent on the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July. He divided in the majority against the second reading of the Irish union of parishes bill, 19 Aug. He voted against the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept., and was named as a defaulter, 10 Oct., the day of Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion. He voted against the second reading of the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831, the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He attended the Commons on the resignation of the Grey cabinet, 9 May, and commented that ‘there is less fever in the House than could have been expected, and from the different speeches I calculate affairs will proceed in a quiet way’.22 His only other known votes were in the minority against the second reading of the malt drawback bill, 29 Feb., and against the Grey government on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July 1832. It was probably after the former occasion that he reported that

ministers were sadly put to shifts this morning at half-past three, and the only reason why they were not left in a minority on Herries’s motion was their friends observing they were so mauled and beaten down, that they did not afterwards wish to trample upon them, and quitted the House without voting.23

Edward Hinxman of Little Durnford House wrote publicly to Wyndham, 21 June 1832:

Nothing could have been easier for you than to have followed that path, to have voted for a measure which in your conscience you believed dangerous to the country, and kept your seat in peace! But you pursued a nobler course, you sacrificed your interest to your principles.24

He was, in fact, re-elected at the general election of 1832 and, having been unseated in 1833, sat from 1835 until his death in October 1843. Remembered for his integrity and the strictness of his Conservative principles, the ‘unostentation in his generosity, sincerity in his friendships, true hospitality and a love of the invigorating sports of the field combined to make his character completely defined in the brief expression "a fine old English gentleman". He was succeeded by his sister Caroline Frances (?1769-1845), the wife of John Campbell (1771-1846) of Dunoon, Argyll and Blunham, Bedfordshire, and by their only son, John Henry Campbell (1798-1869) of Corhampton House, Hampshire, who was Member for Salisbury, 1843-7, and took the additional name of Wyndham in 1844.25

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


  • 1. Sir R.C. Hoare, Wilts. Salisbury, 815; PROB 11/933/417.
  • 2. PROB 11/1617/302; IR26/806/475.
  • 3. C. Haskins, Charter of Hen. III and Hist. St. Edmund’s Coll. 40, 47; The Times, 16 Aug. 1831.
  • 4. HP Commons, 1790-1820, v. 660-1.
  • 5. Devizes Gazette, 4 Nov. 1819, 9, 16 Mar.; Salisbury Jnl. 13 Mar. 1820.
  • 6. Wilts. RO, Salisbury borough recs. G23/1/7.
  • 7. Salisbury Jnl. 4 July 1825.
  • 8. Ibid. 30 Jan., 6 Feb.; The Times, 10 Feb. 1826.
  • 9. Salisbury Jnl. 12 June 1826.
  • 10. Wilts. RO, Wilton borough recs. G25/1/22, ff. 296, 312, 314.
  • 11. Wellington mss WP1/915/74; 918/6; 920/43; 939/1.
  • 12. Glos. RO, Sotheron Estcourt mss D1571 X114, Long to Bucknall Estcourt, Feb. 1829.
  • 13. Add. 40399, ff. 281, 285; N. Gash, Secretary Peel, 500.
  • 14. Wellington mss WP1/1110/13.
  • 15. Salisbury Jnl. 2 Aug., 1 Nov. 1830.
  • 16. Wilts. RO, Wilts. Arch. Soc. mss 1553/10.
  • 17. Salisbury Jnl. 29 Nov., 6 Dec. 1830.
  • 18. Three Diaries, 88.
  • 19. Salisbury Jnl. 18, 25 Apr., 2, 9 May 1831.
  • 20. Wilts. Arch. Soc. mss 10; Wilts. RO, Radnor mss 490/1375, Boucher to Radnor, 24, 25, 30 Apr., Pleydell Bouverie to same, 24, 26, 27, 30 Apr. 1831.
  • 21. Radnor mss 490/1375, Boucher to Radnor, 3, 5 May, Wyndham to same, 6, 8, 10 June; Salisbury Jnl. 23 May, 6 June 1831.
  • 22. Wilts. Arch. Soc. mss 10, Wyndham to unknown [?9 May 1832].
  • 23. Ibid. Wyndham to unknown [27 Jan. 1832].
  • 24. Salisbury Jnl. 25 June 1832.
  • 25. Devizes Gazette, 26 Oct.; Salisbury Herald, 28 Oct. 1843; Gent. Mag. (1844), ii. 93-94; (1846), i. 109, 543-4; H.A. Wyndham, A Fam. Hist. 1688-1837, pp. 230, 348, 355.