SCUDAMORE, James, 3rd Visct. Scudamore of Sligo [I] (1684-1716), of Holme Lacy, Herefs.

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



1705 - 1715
1715 - 2 Dec. 1716

Family and Education

bap. 15 July 1684, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Scudamore†, 2nd Visct. Scudamore, by Lady Frances, da. of John Cecil, 4th Earl of Exeter.  educ. Gloucester Hall, Oxf. 1695, DCL 1712; travelled abroad (France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland) 1698–1703.  m. c.Feb. 1706, Frances (d. 1729), da. and h. of Simon Digby†, 4th Baron Digby of Geashill [I], 1da.  suc. fa. as 3rd Visct. Scudamore c.July 1697.1

Offices Held


Scudamore, son of a non-juring peer and influenced in early life by the family’s non-juring chaplain, succeeded his father while still a minor. His tutor at Oxford forecast ‘the best things’ from him: ‘he hath a great show of understanding and parts sufficient to qualify him to be one of the finest gentlemen of the age; and seems to be resolved to go on in his studies, to accomplish himself, in whatever will be fit for him’. Following extensive travels on the Continent, Scudamore prepared himself for entry into Parliament on reaching his majority, ignoring the advice of the non-juror Theophilus Downes that he should refuse to swear the oath of abjuration and instead ‘take religion for your guide, and the fear of God for your companion’. After receiving the blessing of Robert Harley* on his candidature he announced his intentions formally at Hereford assizes and collected pledges from many of the gentry. He was then returned unopposed in the 1705 election.2

Classed as a ‘Churchman’ in a list of the new Parliament, Scudamore voted on 25 Oct. against the Court candidate for Speaker, and on 22 Nov. was a teller for a Tory amendment to a resolution of the committee of supply for raising funds to make good the loss of horses in the preceding Flanders campaign. He acted as a teller on 27 Feb. 1706, in favour of a clause to be added to a naturalization bill. This may well have been a party matter, for Scudamore was partnered by a fellow Tory, and the opposing tellers were both Whigs. Listed as a Tory in 1708, and returned again after a contest in the general election of that year, he served as a teller once more on the Tory side on 1 Feb. 1709, on a procedural point arising from the report of the Newcastle-under-Lyme election, and in early 1710 voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, at least according to some printed lists; in others, less plausibly, he appeared as voting in support of the impeachment.3

In August 1710 Scudamore, ‘riding hastily’ from Hereford ‘about some electioneering business’, suffered a severe fall from his horse. For a time he was ‘insensible’; it was even reported that he had ‘broken his neck . . . to the great regret of the Tories’. Anxious over his health, Edward Harley* hoped that he could be persuaded to withdraw from the election, on the understanding that ‘the gentlemen’ would ‘choose him for the future’. In fact, he not only recovered sufficiently to take part, but topped the poll. He was also able to appear for Hon. James Brydges* in his election for Hereford city. In the House Scudamore was now less active than he had been, but, having been marked as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’, he was listed among the ‘Tory patriots’ voting for peace in April 1711 and the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the 1710–11 session exposed the mismanagements of the old ministry. When he received a doctorate at Oxford in 1712, Thomas Hearne paid him the compliment of calling him ‘an honest gentleman’.4

Returned again in 1713 unopposed and with the warm support of most of the Herefordshire gentry after promising ‘a steady zeal for the Church and Queen’, Scudamore spoke on 16 Feb. 1714 in support of the choice of (Sir) Thomas Hanmer II* (4th Bt.), as Speaker, and subsequently helped escort Hanmer to the chair. The Worsley list classed him as a Tory, as did two lists of the Members re-elected in 1715. He had declined to stand again for knight of the shire in the 1715 election, but was prevailed upon to join with Thomas Foley II* in Hereford in order to defeat the challenge of two Whigs. He died, however, on 2 Dec. 1716, allegedly as a long-term result of his fall in 1710, which, it was said, had ‘impaired his understanding’. He was buried at Holme Lacy. The title became extinct, but the estate passed to his daughter, whose chequered matrimonial career culminated in a marriage to Charles Fitzroy†, illegitimate son of the 1st Duke of Grafton. Their daughter died childless, whereupon the Scudamore property reverted to a collateral descendant of the 1st Viscount.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. C. T. Robinson, Manors and Mansions of Herefs. 143; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 445; vi. 23; Add. 11046, ff. 12–25; Northants. RO, Isham mss IC 2349, Philip Craig to (Sir) Justinian Isham (5th Bt.†), 18 Feb. 1705–6; Top. and Gen. iii. 262.
  • 2. HMC Downshire, i. 534; HMC 7th Rep. 433; Add. 32096, ff. 59–65; Add. 70083, Benjamin Woodroffe to Sir Edward Harley*, 30 June 1697; HMC Portland, iv. 168, 170.
  • 3. Speck thesis, 73.
  • 4. Williams, Herefs. MPs, 59; HMC Portland, iv. 570; Clavering Corresp. (Surtees Soc. clxxviii), 92; Add. 70237, Edward to Robert Harley, 13 Oct. 1710; 70240, Thomas Harley* to same, 27 Oct. 1710; Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 57(4), p. 185; Hearne Colls. iii. 350.
  • 5. Hereford and Worcester RO (Hereford), Brydges mss, Francis Brydges to Scudamore, Apr. 1713; W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 39; NSA, Kreienberg despatch 19 Feb. 1714; Add. 70216, James Caswall to Ld. Oxford, 22 Aug. 1714; Williams, 59.