PARKER, John (?1735-88), of Boringdon, Devon

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



1761 - May 1762
19 May 1762 - 1784

Family and Education

b. ?1735, 1st surv. s. of John Parker of North Molton and Boringdon by Lady Catherine Poulett, da. of John, 1st Earl Poulett.  educ.Ch. Ch. Oxf. 23 Oct. 1753, aged 18.  m. (1) 10 Jan. 1764, Frances (d. 1764), da. of Rt. Rev. Josiah Hort, abp. of Tuam, and a cos. of Lord Shelburne, s.p.; (2) 18 May 1769, Hon. Theresa Robinson, da. of Thomas, 1st Baron Grantham, 1s. 1da.  cr. Baron Boringdon 18 May 1784.

Offices Held


Parker was at Oxford with Shelburne who in 1761, backed by Bute, arranged with Sir William Irby for Parker’s return at Bodmin.1 This seat he vacated in May 1762, and with vigorous backing from Bute was returned for Devon—‘I have, according to your Lordship’s desire,’ wrote Bedford to Bute, 16 May, ‘sent orders to my agents in Devonshire to do everything in favour of Mr. Parker.’2 He appears in Henry Fox’s list of Members in favour of the peace preliminaries, December 1762. Although in the autumn of 1763 Jenkinson classed him as ‘contra’, he was at the Cockpit meeting of 14 Nov. 1763, together with other Tories.3 On 14 Dec. he made his only known speech in this Parliament, unsuccessfully moving that ‘lists be laid before the House of all landmen enlisted in the last war for Devonshire’. He voted with Opposition over general warrants, 6 and 15 Feb., but was absent on the 18th. Harris includes him in the ‘Shelburne party’ when listing ‘desertions since this session’; and on 4 May Newcastle classed him as a ‘sure friend’. Rockingham in his list of July 1765 marked him ‘pro’; and in that of November 1766 as ‘Chatham’; but he was an independent Tory country gentleman and voted against the Government on the land tax, 27 Feb. 1767, and again on nullum tempus, 17 Feb. 1768. In the next three Parliaments he voted steadily with Opposition till the fall of North. When in November 1779 an inquiry was threatened into the state of defences at Plymouth, Robinson thought that the Opposition would call up ‘such a man as Mr. Parker, the Member for Devon, at whose house Dunning had for some time been, to declare the state of Plymouth’.4 He did not, however, speak on this occasion, but on 8 May 1781 made his only other known speech, in favour of Savile’s motion on the influence of the Crown.5 He voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and for parliamentary reform, 7 May 1783; did not vote on Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov.; was classed as ‘absent’ by Robinson in January 1784; but in Stockdale’s list of 19 Mar. was described as a supporter of Administration. He did not stand at the general election, and in May 1784 was made a peer.

He died 27 Apr. 1788.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. Bute to Fitzmaurice, n.d. (wrongly docketed ‘Apr. 1761’), Lansdowne mss; Fitzmaurice to Bute, 26 Feb., 2 Mar. 1761, Bute mss; Irby to Bute, 13 Mar. 1761, Add. 5726 C, f. 65.
  • 2. Add. 5726 C, f. 30.
  • 3. Harris’s ‘Debates’.
  • 4. Add. 38212, ff. 227-32.
  • 5. Debrett, iii. 233.