BEARCROFT, Edward (1737-96), of Holland House, Kensington.

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



1784 - 1790
1790 - 20 Nov. 1796

Family and Education

b. 30 Apr. 1737, 2nd s. of Rev. Philip Bearcroft, master of the Charterhouse, by his 1st w. Elizabeth Lovegrove. educ. Charterhouse; Peterhouse, Camb. 1752; I. Temple 1754, called 1758. m. (1) 31 Oct. 1758 Sarah Maria (d. 28 Aug. 1759), da. of Hon. Walter Molesworth, 1s.; (2) Elizabeth (d.13 Oct. 1774), da. and coh. of Edward Rogers of Ockle Clifford, Glos., 1s. 1da.; (3) Dec. 1778, Clare St. George Wilson of Mortlake, 2s. 2da.

Offices Held

Counsel and steward of courts to the governors of the Charterhouse 1765; K.C. 1772; bencher, I. Temple 1772, reader 1780-1, treasurer 1781-2; c.j Chester 1788- d.


The Gentleman’s Magazine in his obituary (1796, p. 972) wrote:

Mr. Bearcroft was an example of industry and perseverance at the bar. Many years he had hardly practice enough to support him with the severest economy, and thought of relinquishing the law in despair; but, in time his good sense and knowledge of the law excited confidence, and till his hearing was affected, he was one of the most successful of its professors.

Yet at 35 he was a K.C., and in the same year failed by only one vote to be elected recorder of London. By 1782 he was one of the leading lawyers in the country, much employed in election disputes, and estimated to be earning £2,000 a year.1 He leased Holland House from the 3rd Lord Holland.

He was returned for Hindon on the Beckford interest, presumably on the recommendation of Lord Chancellor Thurlow (William Beckford jun. had been a ward in Chancery); and soon became prominent in debate. In every recorded division he supported Pitt, and also voted with him for parliamentary reform and against the impeachment of Sir Elijah Impey. In the Parliament of 1784 sixteen speeches or interventions in debate by him are recorded, on a wide variety of subjects. According to Wraxall,2 he ‘possessed great intellectual powers, and looked forward confidently to the highest honours of his profession’.

He died 20 Nov. 1796.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Salisbury Jnl. 25 Mar. 1782.
  • 2. Mems, iv. 313.