BURTON, Bartholomew (c.1695-1770), of King's Arms Yard, Coleman St., London, and Petersham, Surr.

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



25 May 1759 - 1768

Family and Education

b. c.1695, 4th s. of Bartholomew Burton of North Luffenham, Rutland, by his 2nd w. Susanna, da. of George Gregory. m. (1) 1729 Hester Mansell; (2) Sept. 1733, Philadelphia (d. 23 Apr. 1762), da. of Nathaniel Herne, M.P., 1da.; (3) Elizabeth, da. of John Marke.

Offices Held

Director, Bank of England 1746-58, 1762-70; dep. gov. 1758-60; gov. 1760-2.


Burton, a London merchant and financier, dealt a good deal in Bank stock, holding at times amounts far in excess of what was required to qualify him for office. He was also a large dealer in Government stock, but seldom held any considerable balances. He appears as contributing £500,000 to the twelve million pound loan of 1762,1 but since none of it appears in the Bank of England records, it must have been for clients or ‘stagging’. In fact Burton was foremost a financier, and does not appear to have held any of the typical Government contracts. But a man like Thomas Hill would consult him about investing in British or foreign stock.2

When in April 1759, at a time of acute financial crisis, a vacancy occurred at Camelford, James West in a review of candidates who could give the Treasury expert support in the House, wrote to Newcastle: ‘Mr. Burton is a very good sensible man, but I do not think of any very great weight in the City’; he added, however, that ‘if there is much difficulty or expense, it will not be easy to engage a proper person’ so near the end of the Parliament. Newcastle fixed on Burton, and he was returned unopposed at a cost of about £500, of which £300 was paid by the Treasury from secret service funds.3 In 1761 Burton was again returned unopposed.

Burton continued to adhere to Newcastle even out of office. He voted against the peace preliminaries, 9 and 10 Dec. 1762; voted with the Opposition on Wilkes, 15 Nov. 1763, and general warrants, 6, 15 and 18 Feb. 1764. In Rockingham’s list of July 1765 he was classed as ‘pro’, and in a letter of 17 Dec. 1765 Newcastle refers to him as his ‘great friend, that most zealous supporter of the Government, Mr. Burton’.4 Newcastle continued even after July 1766 to regard him as a friend, although Burton supported Chatham over the East India inquiry and voted with Administration on the land tax motion, 27 Feb. 1767. In January 1768 James West reported to Newcastle that Burton did not mean to stand again.

As to my friend Mr. Burton [wrote Newcastle to Rockingham, 18 Jan.5] I am afraid there may be something in it; for his son-in-law, Captain Rowley, a very deserving man, is by a ridiculous will of his father’s,6 to aggrandize in time the Rowley family, left with little or no provision, but his employment in the Navy; and I believe Mr. Burton intends, in great measure, to support him himself.

Burton died in May 1770.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 33040, ff. 290-1.
  • 2. See copy of his letter to Burton, 3 Sept. 1753, in vol. ii of his letter bks. at Salop RO.
  • 3. See Namier, Structure, 341-3.
  • 4. To Lord Egmont, Add. 32972, f. 265.
  • 5. Add. 32988, ff. 35-37.
  • 6. Sir William Rowley (q.v.). See also Walpole to Mann, 17 Jan. 1768.