FLETCHER, Sir Henry, 1st Bt. (?1727-1807), of Clea Hall, Cumb. and Ashley Park, Walton-on-Thames, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. ?1727, 7th s. of John Fletcher of Clea Hall by 2nd w. Isabella, da. and coh. of John Senhouse of Netherhall, Cumb. m. 20 Oct. 1768, Catherine, da. and h. of John Lintot of Southwater, Suss., 1s. 1da. suc. bro. 1759; cr. Bt. 20 May 1782.
Capt. E.I. Co. naval service by 1759; ret. 1766.
Dir. E.I. Co. 1769-84, dep. chairman Apr.-July 1782, chairman July 1782-Nov. 1783.
Member, board of agriculture 1794.
Fletcher, the first of the nabobs to become a county Member, retained his Cumberland seat until 1806, with the general support of the anti-Lowther party and the particular backing of the Duke of Norfolk, described by the bishop of Carlisle as Fletcher’s ‘great friend, patron and ally’.1 Never a frequent speaker and no longer a spokesman on the affairs of the East India Company, though still a stockholder, he made no known speech after 1790 and by 1791 was no longer a clear supporter of the dissenting cause. He voted with the Whigs in the Oczakov divisions, 12 Apr. 1791, 1 Mar. 1792, and was among the small Whig minority on Fox’s amendment to the address, 13 Dec. 1792. He was, however, supposed to be a Portland Whig in December 1792, noted by Windham as a prospective third party supporter early in 1793 and did not support Grey’s motion for parliamentary reform, 7 May 1793. On 21 Jan. 1794 he voted for Fox’s amendment to the address, and after the secession of the Portland Whigs he divided regularly with the Foxite wing of the party. He voted for the abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796. He supported Grey’s further motion for parliamentary reform, 26 May 1797. He reappeared to oppose the assessed taxes, 4 Jan., the land tax bill in May and Cavendish’s motion on Ireland, 22 June 1798. After 3 Feb. 1800 no certain vote of his is known. He apparently paired ‘indisposed’ against Pitt’s additional force bill in June 1804.2 He was classed a supporter of Fox and Grenville by the Pittites in September 1804, although he had not been included in the earlier list of May. Declining health and old age undoubtedly caused his absences from the lobby, and these factors, together with the reduced influence of his patron in Cumbrian politics, forced his reluctant withdrawal from the county in 1806. He died 30 Mar. 1807 in his 79th year.3