FAZAKERLEY, Nicholas (?1685-1767), of Prescot, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



24 Jan. 1732 - Feb. 1767

Family and Education

b. ?1685, 1st s. of Henry Fazakerley of Fazakerley, Lancs. educ. perhaps Eton 1698; B.N.C. Oxf. 12 Mar. 1702, aged 17; M. Temple 1700, called 1707. m. 10 Oct. 1732, Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Lutwyche M.P., 1s d.v.p. 1da. (who m. 1744, Lord Trentham).

Offices Held

Bencher, L. Inn 1736; counsel to Camb. Univ. 1738-57; recorder, Preston 1742-d.


Fazakerley first came before the public eye as counsel for the defence in the trial of the printer and publisher of The Craftsman in 1731. In 1732 he was returned unopposed as a Tory for Preston, which he continued to represent for the rest of his life. ‘A long-winded lawyer’,1 he became one of the most frequent Tory speakers, voting against the Administration in every recorded division of the reign. On 30 Mar. he spoke in favour of a bill to declare void the sale of the Derwentwater estates2 (see Bond, Denis), and on 5 Apr. 1736 he supported the mortmain bill,3 which most of the Tories opposed. In spite of an exchange of personal compliments with Walpole in the debate on the Spanish convention in 1739, he spoke and voted for the motion for his removal in 1741. After Walpole’s fall he was employed by the opposition leaders to draw up an impeachment against him, and elected to the secret committee of inquiry into his Administration.4 He was one of the leading opponents of the new Government, signing the circular letter of 20 Dec. 1743 appealing to opposition Members to be present to vote against the Hanoverians when Parliament reassembled after Christmas.5

Though described by Horace Walpole as a Jacobite,6 Fazakerley was not a party to the negotiations between the Jacobite leaders and the French Government from 1740 to 1745. On 11 Jan. 1744 he spoke against continuing British troops in Flanders. After the failure of the attempted French invasion at the beginning of 1744 he introduced a bill making it treasonable to correspond with the Pretender’s sons, but strenuously opposed a government amendment instituting forfeiture of estates for such correspondence, describing it as ‘one of the most pernicious and unconstitutional provisions ever devised’. In March 1745 he ‘had the chief hand in the management’ of a bill for the stricter enforcement of the Act regulating the qualification of the justices of the peace7 (see Bramston, Thomas). During the Forty-five he subscribed £200 towards raising the Lancashire militia.8 On 21 Dec. 1745 he followed Lord Gower, his daughter’s father-in-law, by speaking ‘most heartily’ for the Hessians.9 He was one of the prominent Tories who agreed to support the Prince of Wales’s programme in 1747.10 About 1750 the 2nd Lord Egmont wrote in his electoral survey:

Fazakerley is very cordial with us at this time, and will so continue if upon the change he is not disappointed of the Duchy of Lancaster which is his great view - and which I apprehend he cannot have [it was reserved for Thomas Bootle - yet he is in great credit with the Tories, and if possible must be obliged in some way or other.

Egmont put him down as a commissioner of the great seal in the future reign but thought he would probably refuse that office.

Fazakerley took a leading part in the debates on the regency bill in 1751. On the clause for continuing the sitting Parliament to the end of the minority he ‘made a tedious calculation, which he seemed to intend for humour, of how long the Parliament might possibly continue if every one of the late Prince of Wales’s children should happen to die just at a given time’. He was alone in opposing a clause to prevent the young King from marrying as a minor without the consent of the Regent and the Council, showing ‘the dangers that may arise from pronouncing the King’s wife guilty of high treason, and her children illegitimate, and the mischiefs it may occasion, as he may marry her again after his majority’.11 In 1753 he attacked Lord Hardwicke’s marriage bill and the bill for the naturalization of the Jews.

He died in Feb. 1767.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Corresp. H. Walpole (Yale ed.), xvii. 336 n.9.
  • 2. HMC Egmont Diary, i. 248.
  • 3. Harley Diary.
  • 4. Walpole to Mann, 18 Feb. and 1 Apr. 1742.
  • 5. Add. 29597, f. 29.
  • 6. Mems. Geo. II, i. 111.
  • 7. Yorke's parl. jnl. Parl. Hist. xiii. 393, 1245; Coxe, Pelham, i. 147-8.
  • 8. Thos. Starkie to Ld. Derby, 21 Oct. 1745, mss DDK/1741, Lancs. RO.
  • 9. Ilchester, Lord Holland, i. 121-2.
  • 10. Add. 35870, ff. 129-30.
  • 11. Mems. Geo. II, i. 126-8, 144, 146.