THISTLETHWAYTE, Alexander (?1718-71), of Southwick Park, Hants.

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



8 May 1751 - 1761

Family and Education

b. ?1718, 1st s. of Alexander Thistlethwayte of Compton Valence, Dorset by Mary, da. and h. of Richard Whithed of Southwick.  educ. Wadham, Oxf. 27 June 1735, aged 17.  m. (1) 1741, Catherine, da. of E. Randall of Salisbury, 3da.; (2) Mary Rolls, wid., da. of William Strong of Chalk, Kent.  suc. fa. 1728; and to Whithed estates on d. of yr. bro. Francis (Thistlethwayte) Whithed, M.P. 1751.

Offices Held


Thistlethwayte succeeded his younger brother as M.P. for Hampshire and after the general election of 1754 was classed by Dupplin as an Opposition Whig. Yet by 1756 he was boasting to Newcastle of his ‘inviolate attachment’ and reminding him of their ‘kinship’ (they were sixth cousins). When in 1759 Newcastle supported Henry Legge against Simeon Stuart at the Hampshire by-election, Lord Clanricarde wrote to him on 13 Nov.: ‘Mr. Thistlethwayte has declared for Mr. Stuart. However, poor man, he had last week another stroke of the palsy and can’t live.’ Newcastle then asked Thistlewayte to support Legge, but on 16 Nov. Thistlethwayte replied:

Mr. Legge well knows I owe him not the ten thousandth part of an obligation, and that he has ordered his tenant at Bedhampton not to pay what has been paid to my predecessors for more than two hundred years. If I was capable of appearing in his favour I am certain he would only treat me with the proper contempt I deserved in that occasion of him.1

At the general election of 1761 Thistlethwayte did not intend to stand, and it was expected that Legge and Stuart would be returned unopposed. On 22 Mar., however, Legge informed Newcastle that Thistlethwayte had revived his candidature: ‘What is meant by this sudden revival of a pretension that seemed so entirely dropped and laid aside by a person very near dead in fact ... I cannot guess.’ Newcastle replied the same day: ‘I am always [sic] sure it proceeds from nothing but my relative’s most unaccountable No head ... There is nothing in it but my friend’s genius.’ On 22 Mar. Newcastle asked Thistlethwayte to withdraw; Thistlethwayte refused, requested Newcastle’s support, and, on 28 Mar., defended himself against the imputation that he was disturbing the peace of the county.

As to Mr. Legge or Mr. Stuart I oppose neither, it being equal to me who gives way, as my friends are very confident of success in my behalf, and determined not to abide by or look upon that as a settled thing in which they had not the least concurrence.

He concluded:

A friend to my country, his Majesty’s faithful servant, or your Grace’s humble servant, these appellations no man upon earth can be more desirous to merit, whilst heaven indulges a continuance to the life of Alexander Thistlethwayte.2

But on the day of election Thistlethwayte did not appear.

Francis Whithed had left an illegitimate daughter in Florence and had charged his estate with an annuity for her. Horace Mann, who received the annuity on her behalf, complained to Walpole of Thistlethwayte’s meanness and the delays he made in payment. Walpole replied on 20 Dec. 1764:

You have lived so long out of England that you have lost all trace of idea of a country squire; such is ... Thistlethwayte, and a bankrupt to boot.

Thistlethwayte died on 15 Oct. 1771.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. Add. 32898, ff. 235, 307.
  • 2. Add. 32920, ff. 445, 448; 32921, f. 135.