OSBALDESTON, George (1786-1866), of Hutton Bushel and Ebberston Lodge, Yorks.

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



1812 - 1818

Family and Education

b. 26 Dec. 1786, o.s. of George Osbaldeston of Hutton Bushel by Jane, o. da. of Sir Thomas Head of Langley Hall, Berks. educ. Rev. Carr’s, Ealing 1796; Rev. Wallington’s, Ealing Common 1798; Eton 1802-4; Brasenose, Oxf. 1805. m. 29 July 1851, Elizabeth née Cornes, wid. of Thomas Williams, of St. John’s Wood, Mdx., s.p.; 1s. illegit.1 suc. fa. 1793.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Yorks. 1829-30.

Lt.-col. 5 regt. N. Riding militia 1809-11.


‘Squire’ Osbaldeston admitted that he had wasted his substance. A fabulous all-round sportsman, master of nine hunts, he lived ‘a life of plunder’—as did the agents of his neglected estate. He lost £200,000 on the Turf, about the sum realized when he sold his property in 1848. His father had been Member for Scarborough but during his long minority the family interest there would have lapsed save for the intervention of Earl Fitzwilliam. His mother, an ardent Whig, cultivated Fitzwilliam and it was her ‘political enthusiasm’ that secured him a seat in Parliament. While Master of the Burton (1810-13) Osbaldeston resided at Lincoln Palace and paid court to the widowed Lady Monson. At Fitzwilliam’s recommendation she was prepared to put him up for Lincoln on the Monson interest, though she refused his hand. In the event, Osbaldeston objected to the expense and was diverted by Fitzwilliam to East Retford, where there was an opening in 1812. He stood as a Whig in conjunction with an opportunist Charles Marsh* and, after an energetic canvass with his mother, was confident of success. There was no contest. According to Osbaldeston, who ‘thought it a great bore’, he paid dearly for the honour, but his agent Oldfield alleged that he did not settle his bills. Oldfield also reported, 20 Jan. 1813, that Osbaldeston was about to vacate his seat. He did not, but admitted

I had however no taste whatever for public life. I was so entirely engrossed with hunting, shooting and athletic feats that I could not turn my thoughts to politics, and it was only in response to my mother’s entreaties that I attended the House on urgent occasions.

Habitually talkative, Osbaldeston did not utter in debate. He voted for Catholic relief, 22 Mar. and 13 May 1813, and paired in favour on 24 May. He voted with opposition on the civil list, 27 May 1813; on the army estimates, 6, 8, 11 Mar.; the state of Ireland, 26 Apr.; for retrenchment, 6 and 7 May 1816, and for the opposition candidate for the Speakership, 2 June 1817. According to Tierney, pressure from Fitzwilliam was necessary to make him attend.

Before the end of 1817 Osbaldeston had decided not to waste his money on a seat in Parliament. It was in vain that Lady Warwick (formerly Monson) endeavoured to lure him back to Lincoln. He later thought he had been in the House ‘eighteen months or two years’ and ‘gave up thought of politics’ for the rest of his life. He died 1 Aug. 1866. Of the many disputes in which his sporting prowess involved him, he said ‘any man may have the credit so long as I have the diversion’.2

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


The accent is on the third syllable.

  • 1. By ‘a member of the frail sisterhood’ at Lincoln, Miss Green, reputedly a natural da. of one of the Monsons. The boy was ‘sent abroad, has done well in the world, and is married with a family’. (Ibid. 33).
  • 2. Ibid. 2, 33-5; Wentworth Woodhouse mun. F49/31, 37, 51, 53; F108/2, 3, 18, 24; Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 4, 20 Jan. 1817; Oldfield, Rep. Hist. iv. 343-6; Paget, The Flying Parson and Dick Christian, 97-8; E. H. Budd, Sportascrapiana, 30.