JENISON, Ralph (1696-1758), of Walworth Castle, co. Dur.

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



16 Apr. 1724 - 1741
20 June 1749 - 15 May 1758

Family and Education

bap. 23 Dec. 1696, 1st surv. s. of Ralph Jenison of Elswick and Walworth by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Cuthbert Heron of Chipchase, Northumb.  educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1719-20.  m. 10 Dec. 1751, Susan, da. of Thomas Allan of the Flatts, co. Dur., 1s. d.v.p.  suc. gd.-fa. Robert Jenison 1714.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Northumb. 1717-18; freeman of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1718.

Master of the buckhounds 1737-44, 1746-57.


Jenison was of an old family of Newcastle merchants, and was politically connected with Charles, 2nd Earl of Tankerville. Possibly he owed his introduction to the Isle of Wight to Tankerville, whose brother-in-law and friend, Lord Portsmouth, was its governor in 1749. There he became the intermediary between the Pelhams and Thomas Holmes, their manager for the Isle of Wight boroughs; was in his confidence and usually collected for him the secret service subsidy he had for those boroughs, and which Holmes kept a secret from his brothers, their Members. About his own seat at Newport, Jenison wrote to Pelham on 18 Feb. 1754:1 ‘The people of that place have taken the opportunity of paving their town against a general election and Mr. Holmes says the candidates are to pay for it, that and the expense at the day of election and some gratuities to particular people, will amount to six hundred pounds for each candidate, which Mr. Holmes desires may be paid into his hands before he leaves London.’ On 14 May £700 of secret service money was paid to Jenison, presumably for election expenses. On the re-arrangement of offices in July 1757 Jenison had to give up the buckhounds, and was offered as compensation a secret service pension of £1,500 p.a.2 Because of the uncertainty of such a pension he asked that £1000 be placed on the Irish establishment. ‘The Duke of Newcastle has been a father to me’, he wrote to Lord Lincoln on 3 July 1757,3 ‘... All my wishes can be for nothing further than a security after his Majesty’s decease.’ Finally the secret service pension was fixed at £1,800 but Jenison drew only £1,350 of it, as he died on 15 May 1758.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Add. 32734, ff. 148-9.
  • 2. Namier, Structure, 202, 218-19.
  • 3. Newcastle (Clumber) mss.