SAUNDERSON, Hon. James (c.1667-1723), of Sandbeck, Yorks. and Glentworth, Lincs.

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



1698 - 1700
Dec. 1701 - 1710

Family and Education

b. c.1667, 8th and o. surv. s. of George Saunderson, 5th Visct. Castleton [I]*, by his 1st w.; bro. of Hon. Nicholas*.  educ. Magdalene, Camb. matric. 19 Nov. 1681, aged 14; G. Inn 1686; travelled abroad (Germany, Austria, Italy, Spanish Netherlands, France) 1695–8; Padua Univ. 1696. unmsuc. fa. as 6th Visct. Castleton [I] 27 May 1714; cr. Baron Saunderson 19 Oct. 1714; Visct. Castleton of Sandbeck 2 July 1716; Earl of Castleton 18 June 1720.1

Offices Held

Commr. alienations 1689–1714; taking subscriptions to S. Sea Co. 1711.2

Steward and keeper of manor and soke of Kirton in Lindsey, Lincs. 1693–?d.; v.-adm. Lincs. by 1707–d.; steward, honor of Tickhill 1708–d., of Bolingbroke ?1714–d.3


Appointed to the alienations office in 1689, doubtless as a reward for his father’s support for King William, Saunderson was further advanced by his family connexions in 1693, when he succeeded to the stewardship of the manor of Kirton on the death of his elder brother, Nicholas. In 1694 he was granted permission by the King to visit Lord Lexington, the English envoy at Vienna. On the eve of his departure for the Continent, he was regarded as a very strong candidate for the Newark by-election of May 1695, but did not stand. During his travels he attended the university of Padua, spent some time with his brother encamped in the Low Countries, and in March 1698 was introduced to the Earl of Portland on his embassy to Paris. Several months earlier he had expressed concern that his father’s unpopularity at court might endanger his office, but such fears were unfounded, and soon after his return to England he successfully contested Newark. A Whig, he was regarded as a Court supporter, and voted against the disbanding bill on 18 Jan. 1699. He made no significant contribution to Commons’ business, but such inactivity could not be attributed to his commission, for a deputy undertook those duties. Defeated at Newark in the first election of 1701, he managed to secure a seat there in December, when his return was classed as a gain for the Whigs by Lord Spencer (Charles*).4

Following a comfortable victory at the Newark election of 1702, in the first session, Saunderson acted as a teller on 23 Dec. 1702 against adding a clause to the bill to provide for Prince George, which would have debarred the Prince’s servants and pensioners from sitting in the House. In October 1704 he was cited as a probable opponent of the Tack, and did not vote for it on 28 Nov. Classed in 1705 as a placeman and a ‘Churchman’, he was absent from the division on the choice of Speaker on 25 Oct. In 1708 he was listed as a Court Whig, and in the 1709–10 session voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. He was defeated at Newark in 1710, and was touted as a possible candidate at the borough’s by-election of January 1712, but did not put up. Although he did not stand in 1713, his loyalty to the Whigs was rewarded after the Hanoverian succession with advancement to and subsequent promotion in the English peerage. He died at Richmond on 23 May 1723 ‘after a long illness’, on which occasion his titles became extinct. Having remained a bachelor, he left his estates in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, worth about £8,000 p.a., to his maternal kinsman, Thomas Lumley†, who by Act of Parliament assumed the additional surname of Saunderson.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Perry Gauci


  • 1. PCC 162 Richmond; Lexington Pprs. 101.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 2167; Pittis, Present Parl. 352.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 424; xviii. 54; xxix. 17; Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 156, 186.
  • 4. Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1557–1696, p. 393; 1697–1702, p. 310; Add. 46553, f. 52; 46541, ff. 133, 158, 181.
  • 5. The Gen. n.s. iv. 23; PCC 162 Richmond.