LEWIS, John (1738-97), of Harpton Court, nr. Radnor

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



1768 - 7 Mar. 1769
1774 - 20 Feb. 1775

Family and Education

b. 14 Oct. 1738,1 1st s. of Henry Lewis of Bedford Row, London by Elizabeth Gustaphin; nephew and h. of Thomas Lewis.  educ. L. Inn 1755, called 1764.  m. (1) 15 Dec. 1761, Mary (d. 1774), da. of Capt. Charles Colby, R.N., 3da.; (2) 24 Mar. 1778, Ann, da. of Sir Thomas Frankland, 5th Bt., 1s. 2da.  suc. fa. 18 Jan. 1768; his uncle Thomas 5 Apr. 1777.

Offices Held

Receiver of the King’s revenues, Mon., Herefs. and Glos. Mar. 1763; recorder of New Radnor 1764, 1768, 1792, bailiff 1766, 1786, 1791; sheriff, Rad. 1792-3.


John Lewis stood for Radnor on his uncle’s interest and under his direction; and was returned in 1768 and 1774, only to be unseated on petition. Letters from Thomas to John,2 written during the weeks following the election of 1774, contain detailed instructions on how to meet his opponent’s petition; also exhortations and criticisms; an address by John (of about 350 words) is ‘too tedious to be read over’; ‘suffrages [for which he asked] is Arabic to them, why not votes which may be intelligible’; etc.

Three speeches of John Lewis in the House are all on America (8 Feb. 1769, 26 Jan. and 2 Feb. 1775): in 1769 he sided with the Opposition, while on 26 Jan. 1775 he blamed the ingratitude of America, ‘and wished for its chastisement’.3 Lewis’s only known vote, 3 Feb. 1769, was against the expulsion of Wilkes. There seems to have been some connexion between him and the Duke of Portland. On 16 Feb. 1769 Beaumont Hotham inquired whether the Duke wished him personally to attend the New Radnor petition ‘for little Peter Pathetic’, or perhaps ‘would not be sorry to avoid doing anything (through me) that would be so felt by the Harleys [patrons of Edward Lewis, John’s opponent, and relations of the Duke].’4

In 1780 there was a double return for New Radnor; and on 31 Jan. 1781 the deputy clerk of the House was ordered to attend with the return ‘and amend the same by rasing out the name of John Lewis, Esq., and what relates to him in the said return’. After this third failure Lewis did not stand again.

He died 6 Nov. 1797.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. G. Cornewall Lewis, Ped. Fam. Lewis of Harpton.
  • 2. Harpton mss, NLW.
  • 3. Almon, i. 119.
  • 4. Portland mss.