CHAMBERLAYNE, William (1760-1829), of Coley Park, Berks. and Weston Grove, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



31 May 1800 - 1802
7 Mar. 1818 - 10 Dec. 1829

Family and Education

bap. 4 Dec. 1760, o.s. of William Chamberlayne of Coley Park. educ. Winchester 1773; M. Temple 1778; New Coll. Oxf. 1779. unm. suc. fa. 1799; Harriot, wid. of Thomas Dummer of Cranbury Park, Hants and of Nathaniel Dance* (afterwards Sir Nathaniel Holland, Bt.) to the Dummer estates 1825.

Offices Held

Capt. Hound, Hamble and Bursledon vols. 1803.


Chamberlayne’s father was successively solicitor to the Mint, to the Treasury (1775-95) and a commissioner of public accounts until his death in 1799. Chamberlayne was heir to his Berkshire and Hampshire property, his East India Company stock and also to his reversion of the Hampshire estates of Thomas Dummer on the death of the latter’s widow.1 Meanwhile he was brought into Parliament by his father’s friend George Rose, secretary to the Treasury, on a vacancy in his borough of Christchurch in 1800. He made no mark in the House, except to vote in opposition to the treaty of Amiens, 14 May 1802. He was dropped by Rose at the ensuing election. His vote suggests that he was already under the influence of his Hampshire neighbour William Cobbett, who commended his improvements at Weston and praised his record as a landlord.2 In 1806 he was no longer co-operating readily with his former patron as a corporator of Christchurch. In April 1809 he seconded Cobbett’s protest at the Hampshire county meeting.

In 1810 he erected an obelisk in Fox’s memory at Weston and meant to erect a column to him at Purbeck or Portland as a statesman ‘forgotten by princes and people’ in 1812. From this he was deterred by his election expenses at Southampton, where he stood as a radical reformer and challenged his former patron’s interest. He was defeated. He had previously discouraged a suggestion that he should offer for the county. Rose informed Lord Liverpool:

We are rid of a very troublesome and very eloquent gentleman, for Mr Chamberlayne made a speech of great force in the hall here, which would have been a troublesome one in the House of Commons; he must have been practising lately, for when I chose him for Christchurch he was silent.3

In March 1818 Chamberlayne was elected for Southampton on the ruin of the Rose interest, retaining the seat for the rest of his life. Lord Malmesbury described him to his son, 12 Dec. 1817, as ‘a clever, half-mad man, and not very correct in any of his principles’.4 But he did not attend regularly. In his first session he voted against the indemnity bill soon after taking his seat and in two minorities on 1 and 3 June, the latter for inquiry into the education of the poor. He took two leaves of absence for illness in March and April 1819 and his first known vote that session was for burgh reform, 6 May. He also joined opposition on Tierney’s censure motion and against the foreign enlistment bill, 18 May and 10 June. Only one vote, against the address, 24 Nov. 1819, is known during the next session. Nor did he treat the House to his eloquence. This pattern continued. He died 10 Oct. 1829.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Authors: Brian Murphy / R. G. Thorne


  • 1. Farington, vi. 203; Gent. Mag. (1830), ii. 87, 98.
  • 2. Cobbett’s Rural Rides ed. Cole, ii. 503.
  • 3. VHC Hants, iii. 297; L’Estrange. Friendships of Mary Russell Mitford, i. 75; Salisbury Jnl. 19 Oct. 1812; Add. 38249, f. 274.
  • 4. HMC Bathurst, 222; Malmesbury mss.