LEWES, Sir Watkin (?1740-1821), of King's Road, London

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



2 Oct. 1781 - 1796

Family and Education

b. ?1740, 2nd s. of Rev. Watkin Lewes of Penybengtoy, Pemb.  educ. Shrewsbury; Magdalene, Camb. 1 Jan. 1759, aged 18; M. Temple 1760, called 1766.  m. bef. 1773, Rebecca Elinor, da. of Thomas Popkin of Forest Vychan, Glam., 1s.  Kntd. 5 Feb. 1773.

Offices Held

Alderman of London 1772- d., sheriff 1772-3, ld. mayor 1780-1.


Lewes obtained a substantial fortune on his marriage, and it is doubtful whether he afterwards practised at the bar. He became associated with the Bill of Rights Society, and in November 1773 stood for Worcester on the independent interest, but was defeated; and was again defeated at a by-election after the election had been declared void on petition, and at the general election. The expenses of his elections and petitions ‘so involved him in lawsuits’ that he did not recover his estates for nearly twenty years.1 Yet in 1780 he unsuccessfully contested Worcester for the fourth time, and in 1781 was returned at a by-election for the City of London against a Government supported candidate. Lewes voted against North’s Administration, speaking in favour of Rous’s motion of no confidence, 15 Mar. 1782. He voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783; spoke and voted for Pitt’s proposals for parliamentary reform, 7 May 1783; and against Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. He supported Pitt’s Administration, and spoke fairly frequently in the House on a variety of subjects.

Lewes died 13 July 1821.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: I. R. Christie


  • 1. Gent. Mag. 1821, ii. 93; Lewes to Pitt, 27 Mar. 1797, Chatham mss.