THYNNE, Hon. Henry Frederick (1735-1826), of Compsford, Glos.

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



4 Jan. 1757 - 1761
1761 - 1770

Family and Education

b. 17 Nov. 1735, 2nd s. of Thomas, 2nd Visct. Weymouth by his 2nd w. Hon. Louisa Carteret, da. of John, 2nd Visct. Carteret and 2nd Earl Granville.  educ. Market Street sch. Herts.; St. John’s, Camb. 1752.  m. 9 July 1810, Eleanor Smart of Hawnes, Beds. (‘who had been his mistress for 43 years’),1 s.p.  suc. to estates of his uncle Robert, 3rd Earl Granville 1776, and took name of Carteret; cr. Baron Carteret 29 Jan. 1784.

Offices Held

Clerk comptroller of Board of Green Cloth Dec. 1762-July 1765; master of the Household Mar. 1768-Dec. 1770; P.C. 19 Dec. 1770; jt. postmaster gen. Dec. 1770-Sept. 1789.


Thynne’s career in the Commons was that of a dependant of his elder brother, Thomas, 3rd Viscount Weymouth. Before he had come of age there was talk of his standing for Wiltshire where the Thynne estates mostly lay. ‘I hear there have been lately some public meetings’, wrote John Bull to Shelburne, 30 Oct. 1756, ‘where success has been drank to Mr. Thynne, Lord Weymouth’s brother, as one of our intended shire knights.’2 Instead he was returned for Staffordshire (where Weymouth also had some property), with the support of Lord Gower, Weymouth’s friend and the leading magnate of the county.

In 1761 Thynne was returned for the family borough of Weobley. When Weymouth agreed to support Bute’s Administration he asked for a place for his brother. ‘Have you allotted Mr. Thynne to any particular employment?’, wrote Fox to Bute, 29 Oct. 1762; and Shelburne, 19 Nov.: ‘Lord Weymouth will not accept the groom’s place for his brother upon any account, made up or in any shape whatever.’3 This, presumably, was the place of groom of the bedchamber, worth £500 p.a.; the office that Thynne did get, a clerkship of the Green Cloth, was worth £1,000 p.a.

He lost it when the Grenville Administration was dismissed in July 1765. As a member of the Bedford group he voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act; and Bedford, when negotiating with Chatham in December 1766, included Thynne among those followers who had to be provided for. When the Bedfords joined Administration in 1768 Thynne was made master of the Household (£518 p.a.).

Weymouth, now secretary of state, tried to get him a more lucrative office, and it seems that in October 1769 he was promised the Madrid embassy. But on 1 Dec. Charles Lloyd wrote to Grenville:4‘The only news I hear is that Mr. Henry Thynne has a pension of £1,000 per annum given him by way of indemnity for his not going ambassador to the court of Madrid.’ In April 1770 Weymouth applied on Thynne’s behalf for the place of joint vice-treasurer of Ireland (worth about £3,000 p.a.). ‘The real regard I have for you’, wrote the King to Weymouth, ‘would have inclined me with pleasure to have advanced Mr. Thynne on the present occasion, had not I found that his not taking an active part in debates would have hurt those that stand forward in the House of Commons.’ He was eventually accommodated in December 1770 in the arrangements following Weymouth’s resignation over the Falkland Islands dispute.

Lord Rochford ... has seen Lord Weymouth this morning, [Rochford wrote to the King, 11 Dec. 1770] ... he suggested that if Lord Sandwich was made secretary of state for the northern department, the Post Office if given to Mr. Thynne would be vacant, and such an employment given to his brother would be a convincing proof to the world that he Lord Weymouth had not quarrelled with Administration. At the same time he would bring into his brother’s borough a determined friend to Government.5

The Post Office, not tenable with a seat in the Commons, was worth nearly £3,000 p.a. in salary and allowances. Thynne left most of the work to the secretary, Anthony Todd, from whom he also borrowed money.6

Thynne died 17 June 1826.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. CP.
  • 2. Lansdowne mss. See also Frances Ernle to Mrs. Legh, 16 Oct. 1756, mss of Mr. R. E. Money-Kyrle at Whetham House, Wilts.
  • 3. Bute mss.
  • 4. Grenville Pprs. iv. 484.
  • 5. Fortescue, ii. 63, 140, 183.
  • 6. K. Ellis, Post Office in 18th Cent. 92.