PYNSENT, William (c.1679-1765), of Burton, Curry Rivell, Som. and Urchfont, nr. Devizes, Wilts.

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



30 Aug. 1715 - 1722

Family and Education

b. c.1679, 1st s. of Sir William Pynsent, 1st Bt., M.P., of Urchfont, Wilts. by Patience, da. of John Bond, alderman of London. m. Mary, da. and coh. of Thomas Jennings of Burton, Som., wid. of Edmund Star of New Court, 1s. 3da. all d.v.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 1719.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Som. 1741-2.


The first Sir William Pynsent, whose mother was an heiress and whose uncle, a legal official, made him his heir, bought an estate at Urchfont, near Devizes, which he represented in the Convention Parliament.1 His son, the second baronet, having acquired another estate at Burton in Somerset through his wife, was returned on petition as a Whig for Taunton in 1715. He voted for the septennial bill and the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts, and was put down as to be approached through Sir John Eyles on the peerage bill, on which he did not vote, thereafter ceasing to attend. He was said to be ready to retire from the House as soon as the Government enabled him to vacate his seat by providing him with an office of profit, which he would give up immediately,2 but in the event he remained a Member till the end of the Parliament. Though never standing again, he continued to play a part in Somerset politics, offering his interest at Taunton in 1734 to Sir Charles Wyndham3 and giving his ‘very considerable interest’ at Bridgwater in 1741 to Bubb Dodington, in spite of a personal appeal from Walpole.4 He died 8 Jan. 1765, aged 85, leaving his whole fortune to William Pitt, a total stranger, to whom he was not related. His will, dated 20 Oct. 1761, gives no reason for the bequest, merely observing: ‘I hope he will like my Burton estate, where I now live, well enough to make it his country seat’. Horace Walpole writes of him:

He was said to have had parts and humour, not many scruples, living to her death with his only daughter, in pretty notorious incest.5

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Shirley Matthews


  • 1. Wilts. Arch. Mag. xlvi. 39-40.
  • 2. See TRENCHARD, John.
  • 3. Sir W. Wyndham to Pynsent, 16 Feb. 1734, Hoare mss.
  • 4. Walpole to Pynsent 26 Mar. 1741; Dodington to Pynsent 5 June 1745, ibid.
  • 5. PCC 29 Rushworth; Walpole, Mems. Geo. III, ii. 32-33, including words omitted from the printed vol.