LAMBTON, William (1640-1724), of Lambton, co. Dur.

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



1685 - 1687
1689 - 1698
Feb. 1701 - 1702
1710 - 1713

Family and Education

bap. 21 June 1640, 1st s. of Henry Lambton of Lambton by Mary, da. of Sir Alexander Davison of Blakiston, co. Dur.  educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1659. unmsuc. fa. 1693.1

Offices Held

Commr. carriage of coals, port of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1679; v.-adm. co. Dur. ?1690–?d.2


Lambton’s family had been resident in Durham since at least the 12th century, and by the end of the 17th their possession of a considerable estate, which included valuable collieries, made them leading figures in the county’s coal industry. While serving for Durham in the Convention, Lambton had voted against the transfer of the crown, and having been re-elected in 1690, was classed as a Tory by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). Though he was to have a long, if interrupted, parliamentary career, Lambton was never an active Member. In December 1690 Carmarthen reckoned him a likely ally, and in Robert Harley’s* list compiled in around April 1691 he was identified as a Country supporter. On 23 Mar. 1694 Lambton was granted a leave of absence, and during the 1694–5 session he was listed among Henry Guy’s* supporters, possibly in relation to the planned attack on Guy. Returned unopposed to the 1695 Parliament, Lambton was forecast in January 1696 as likely to oppose the Court upon the council of trade. That he was no Tory extremist is clear from his prompt signing of the Association, but his allegiance to the opposition was clear from his vote in March against fixing the price of guineas at 22s., and that of 25 Nov. against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. On 5 Mar. 1697 he was granted an indefinite leave of absence. Despite what one contemporary described as Lambton’s ‘honest and faithful service’ in Parliament, he was defeated at the 1698 election, being listed as a member of the Country party ‘out’ of the new House. Lambton regained his seat at the first 1701 election. His continued Toryism was clear from his inclusion upon two lists dating from this Parliament: of those likely to support the Court in agreeing with the supply committee’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’, and the black list of those who had opposed the preparations for war with France. Having been returned at the second 1701 election he was duly classed a Tory by Robert Harley, and on 26 Feb. 1702 voted in favour of vindicating the Commons’ proceedings of the previous Parliament against the Whig lords. Lambton did not stand for election again until 1710, when he was returned unopposed for Durham and was classed in the ‘Hanover list’ as a Tory. He was also listed as one of the ‘worthy patriots’ who had helped detect the mismanagements of the previous administration. He was granted a month’s leave of absence on 12 Apr. 1712. The dissolution of the 1713 Parliament marked the end of Lambton’s parliamentary career. He died in 1724 and was succeeded by his nephew Henry Lambton, who represented Durham throughout much of George II’s reign.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Surtees, Dur. iii. 175.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 1205; J. Spearman, Inquiry into Ancient and Present State of Dur. (1729), 33–34.
  • 3. C. Sharp, Durham MPs, 17; Mems. of Dean Comber (Surtees Soc. clvii), 252.