PENNYMAN, Sir James, 6th Bt. (1736-1808), of Ormesby, Yorks.

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



27 Nov. 1770 - 1774
1774 - 1796

Family and Education

bap. 6 Dec. 1736, o.s. of Ralph Pennyman of Beverley by Bridget, da. of Thomas Gee of Bishop Burton, Yorks., wid. of John Taylor of Beverley.  educ. Westminster 1749; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1756.  m. (1) 9 Dec. 1762, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Henry Grey, 1st Bt., of Howick, Northumb., sis. of Sir Henry Grey, 2nd Bt., 6s. 4da.; (2) 14 May 1801, Mary Maleham or Matcham of Westminster, s.p.  suc. fa. 1768, and uncle as 6th Bt. 14 Jan. 1770.

Offices Held


Pennyman was described by Rockingham in 1768 as ‘a very good sort of man ... with a thumping landed property, who is exceeding anxious to get into Parliament’.1 On 2 Aug. 1768 he asked Rockingham to recommend him to Edward Eliot for a seat at Liskeard or St Germans. He added: ‘I should be ready to give the usual sum’; and asked for an answer—‘that if I don’t succeed I may apply elsewhere’. But Rockingham was engaged on behalf of Edmund Burke’s brother and could not help Pennyman.

Pennyman contested Scarborough at the by-election of 1770, and Rockingham tried to secure for him Lord Granby’s support. He wrote to Granby on 25 June 1770:2

A Yorkshire gentleman of very good principles and very large fortune will I believe offer himself. He would wish that your Lordship concurred and if your Lordship would, I believe fully that the election at Scarborough will be attended with every pleasing circumstance to the town itself, to your Lordship, to the neighbourhood, and I may even add to the public.

A confused situation developed. Pennyman stood against Granby’s candidate, Ralph Bell; two polls were taken, one favourable to each candidate; and a double return was made. Both Pennyman and Bell petitioned, and Rockingham successfully intervened with Granby on Pennyman’s behalf. Granby wrote to Rockingham from Scarborough on 5 Sept. 1770:3

I cannot conclude without informing you ... that every kind of assistance in my power shall be exerted to the utmost to complete your wishes; for I always hope to stand connected with my Lord Rockingham in this borough, and not submit to the disagreeable penance of uniting with any understrapper a prime minister or his minion shall wish to patronize.

John Calcraft warned Granby that his case was not good;4 Bell withdrew his petition; and on 27 Nov. Pennyman was declared elected.

From 1771 to 1782 Pennyman voted steadily with the Rockinghams, but seldom spoke in the House. In 1774 he contested Beverley, where his estate gave him a natural interest, and was returned head of the poll. In 1780 he was returned unopposed. Lord North, wishing to be rid of him, tried to persuade Charles Hotham to stand against him; but Hotham refused, feeling certain that Pennyman would be returned.5 After Rockingham’s death Pennyman supported Shelburne: he voted for the peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and against Fox’s East India bill, 27 Nov. 1783. He was returned at the general election of 1784 after a contest, and continued to support Pitt.

He died 27 Mar. 1808.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Rockingham to Burke, 16 Aug. 1768.
  • 2. Rockingham mss.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Calcraft to Granby, 16 Oct. 1770, Rutland mss.
  • 5. Hotham mss, E. Riding RO.