CRESSETT PELHAM, John (?1769-1838), of Crowhurst Place, Suss. and Cound Hall, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. ?1769, o.s. of Henry Pelham† (afterwards Cressett Pelham) of Crowhurst Place and Cound Hall by Jane, da. of Nicholas Hardinge† of Kingston-upon-Thames, Surr. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1787, Clare, Camb. 1789; L. Inn 1791. unm. Took name of Cressett before Pelham with his fa. 28 Aug. 1792, suc. fa. 1803.
Lt. Suss. militia 1794, capt. 1795-7; maj. W. Salop militia 1808.
Pelham was in the running for any vacancy in the family’s electoral interest by 1792. On 9 Aug. 1795 his second cousin Thomas Pelham* wrote:
I am glad to hear that John Pelham has come forward and shown so much attention to the county; he seems very desirous of coming into Parliament and he certainly possesses talents, that may make him a very valuable member of society, though I question whether he will ever become an orator.
Pelham’s opportunity came in 1796, when he stood on Lord Pelham’s interest at Lewes on the retirement of his cousin Henry. Returned in second place on the poll, he ‘spoke very well and if he had spoken louder would have produced a great effect’.1
Pelham would have been expected to support Pitt’s ministry, but he left no mark in his first Parliament. He had been Member for only a year when he was afflicted with temporary insanity. Thomas Pelham wrote, 15 Sept. 1797, ‘I fear that there are little hopes of recovering John Pelham, and it is certainly very necessary to consider of a proper successor for him at Lewes’, but on 21 Oct., ‘I trust that Pelham will not think of resigning and I dare say he will not’. In 1801 a commission of lunacy was taken out against him, but he recovered towards the end of 1802. In April 1803 he prepared to sell parts of his Sussex estate, held in trust, to add to his estate in Shropshire, where he took up residence. He retained property in Lewes, but when he next entered Parliament some 20 years later it was as Member for Shropshire. He had meanwhile acquired a reputation as an eccentric field sportsman. He died in Mauritius, 29 Aug. 1838.2