ALSTON, Thomas (c.1724-74), of Odell, Beds.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1747 - 1761

Family and Education

b. c.1724, 1st s. of Sir Rowland Alston, 4th Bt., M.P. for Beds., by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Capt. Thomas Raynes. educ. Westminster Jan. 1736, aged 11; Queens’, Camb. 1740.  m. 30 Aug. 1750, Catherine Davies, da. and h. of Rev. Thomas Davies Bovey of Longstowe, Cambs., s.p. suc. fa. as 5th Bt. 2 Jan. 1759.

Offices Held

Ensign 1 Ft. Gds. 1741, lt. and capt. 1743; ret. 1745.


On 5 Aug. 1753 Philip Yorke wrote to Lord Hardwicke about Alston, who had been for a short time in a madhouse:

Sir R. Alston is very desirous that his son should come in again for the county. If the young man is in any tolerable state of sanity, I do not see any other choice can be made in order to keep up the Whig interest here.1

His re-election in 1754 was unopposed, and he was classed by Dupplin as an Opposition Whig connected with the Duke of Bedford. On 15 Nov. 1755 Horace Walpole, writing to Henry Seymour Conway of the debate on the subsidy treaties with Hesse and Russia, noted ‘Poor Alston was mad, and spoke ten times to order’. On 30 Sept. 1758, Thomas Potter, who himself thought of standing for Bedfordshire, wrote to the Duke of Bedford with regard to the next general election:

I am pretty certain that if Mr. Alston should choose to be re-elected, the county will not choose to re-elect him.

Bedford replied on 2 Oct. 1758:2

... whether, though Mr. Alston should be thought an improper person, his brother Lt.-Col. Alston, might not be thought a proper candidate, by many of the Whig gentlemen, and the Dissenting interest in this county (which is not an inconsiderable one) I cannot take upon me to determine.

Neither stood in 1761.

Thomas Alston, who had separated from his wife by mutual consent two years after their marriage, died 18 July 1774, leaving all his property to Margaret Lee, his housekeeper, through whom it eventually descended to his illegitimate son Thomas.3

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 35351, ff. 248-51.
  • 2. Bedford mss 37, f. 222; 38, f. 10.
  • 3. Rev. F. S. Alston’s mss, quoted Cresswell, Stemmata Alstoniana, 282.