BUCKINGHAM, Owen (1674-1720), of Moulsford, Berks. and the Gatehouse, Reading Abbey

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1708 - 1713
6 June 1716 - 5 Mar. 1720

Family and Education

b. 16 Dec. 1674, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Owen Buckingham* by 1st w.  educ. travelled abroad (Austria, Italy), Padua Univ. 1706. unmsuc. fa. 20 Mar. 1713.1

Offices Held

Member, Russia Co. 1698.2

Gent. of privy chamber 1714–d.; commr. victualling 1717–d.3


Although Buckingham was admitted into the Russia Company in 1698 (as a matter of ‘intrafamily bookkeeping’), and probably continued his father’s sailcloth manufactory in Reading for a time, he does not seem to have been primarily concerned with industry and commerce. He was probably the ‘Mr Buckingham’ who accompanied Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) on his mission to Vienna in 1705 and in the following year was in Italy. On his return home he was elected to represent Reading following his father’s retirement in 1708. Surviving tellerships and parliamentary lists indicate a commitment to the Whigs. A list of early 1708 with the returns from the election held later that year classed him as a Whig, and in the 1708–9 session he supported the naturalization of the Palatines. On 20 Apr. 1709 he acted as a teller on a more local matter, against an amendment by the Lords to a bill for the better prevention of mischiefs caused by fire, which allowed a still and furnace built by Daniel Tombes to be excepted from the Act’s provisions. In the following session he voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. On 24 Mar. he acted as a teller against an adjournment, the House then proceeding to order Sacheverell’s printed answers to his impeachment to be burnt.4

Re-elected in 1710, Buckingham was classed as a Whig on the ‘Hanover list’. On 7 Apr. 1711 he acted as a teller on a procedural point during the hearing of the Cockermouth election, which led to the witnesses for the petitioner against James Stanhope* being heard. On 25 May 1711 he voted with a small group of committed Whigs against an amendment to the South Sea bill, possibly owing to the financial interests of his father. In the following session, on 17 Jan. 1712, he acted as a teller against the expulsion from the Commons of Robert Walpole II. On the crucial question of the 1713 session, trade with France, he was an active opponent of the ministry’s policy. On 6 May his name appears on a parliamentary list which probably details votes against the French wines bill, and on 18 June he divided against the French commerce bill, when he was also classed as a Whig.5

Defeated at the 1713 election, he remained out of the Commons until 1716. Having already received office at court, he then became a commissioner for victualling the navy in 1717, a place held until his death in a duel on 5 Mar. 1720. This event occurred at the birthday party of his friend and, on this occasion, antagonist, Richard Aldworth who, according to the surgeon called to the scene, inflicted a wound on him seven inches deep. Most of Buckingham’s Berkshire estate seems to have devolved upon his niece Elizabeth, who married Richard Manley, an unsuccessful candidate at Reading in 1739.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. Hearne Colls. vi. 277; Genealogists’ Mag. xiv. 151–2; S. Spens, George Stepney, 257.
  • 2. Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc. n.s. li. 105.
  • 3. N. Carlisle, Gent. Privy Chamber, 223; Navy Recs. Soc. lxx. 497.
  • 4. Trans. Amer. Phil. Soc. 29; E. W. Dormer, Erleigh Court, 37; Spens, 257.
  • 5. Hist. Jnl. iv. 197.
  • 6. Boyer, Pol. State, xix. 316; Genealogists’ Mag. 152; Berks. RO, Braybrooke mss D/EN/L6, deposition of John Thorpe.