GORDON, William (?1735-76), of Bully Hill, Rochester, Kent.

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



1768 - Feb. 1771

Family and Education

b. ?1735, s. of George Gordon, wine merchant, mayor of Rochester 1755 and 1759. m. 11 June 1761, his cos. Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Gordon of Bully Hill, 1da.1suc. fa. 28 Dec. 1759.2

Offices Held

Sheriff, Kent 1763-4; commr. of the victualling office 1772- d.


When Calcraft stood for Rochester in 1765, Rockingam wrote to Newcastle, 26 Nov.: ‘I understand that Gordon, a wine merchant at Rochester, is the occasion.’3 He was apparently at the head of the independent interest. When in 1768 Calcraft had Government support, and Fordyce the banker could not be persuaded to stand, Gordon did so himself, and carried his election through his influence with the local artisans and shopkeepers. In Parliament he voted with the Opposition in each of the six divisions on Wilkes and Middlesex, 27 Jan. 1769-25 Jan. 1770. There is no record of his having spoken in the House. Together with Calcraft and Sawbridge he was instrumental in carrying the Kent petition to the King for a dissolution of Parliament, 27 Nov. 1769.4 But on 25 Feb. 1771 Sandwich wrote to John Robinson about Rochester: ‘I think you may on very reasonable terms get a bad man out and a good man in his room into Parliament’; and next, Gordon accepted the Chiltern Hundreds; for what immediate consideration is unascertained. He now served the Government, and wrote to Sandwich, 6 Oct. 1771:

As I find with certainty that the lord mayor of London [Brass Crosby] with the sheriffs [Frederick Bull and Richard Oliver] are to be here on Friday or Saturday next in order to take up their freedoms, it seems the opinion of our friends that it will be better for me at that time not to be absent. With this view I will presume to take the liberty of attending your Lordship in the following rather than the present week.
It is not impossible but these same people may attempt more honorary freedoms, but I think, this attempt will be effectually over-ruled.

And Sandwich to Robinson, 20 Oct.:

I judge from the enclosed that what you and I have lately written has had the proper effect; I should think it would not be amiss (if you had prepared your book and are otherwise ready) that we should have an interview with Mr. Gordon.5

Gordon was appointed to the victualling office, 28 Oct. 1772. He died 29 Mar. 1776, aged 40.6

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Hasted, Kent, iii. 447; iv. 162.
  • 2. Father’s M.I., St. Nicholas, Rochester.
  • 3. Add, 32972, ff. 62-63.
  • 4. Calcraft to Chatham, 27 Nov. 1769, Chatham mss; St. James’s Chron. 30 Nov.
  • 5. Abergavenny mss.
  • 6. M.I., St. Nicholas, Rochester.