SAWBRIDGE, John (1732-95), of Olantigh, Kent.

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



1768 - 1774
1774 - 1780
28 Nov. 1780 - 21 Feb. 1795

Family and Education

b. 1732, 1st s. of John Sawbridge of Olantigh by Elizabeth, da. of George Wanley, banker, of London. educ. King’s sch. Canterbury. m. (1) 15 Nov. 1763, Mary Diana (d. 21 Jan. 1764), da. of (Sir) Orlando Bridgeman, 4th Bt., s.p.; (2) 16 June 1766, Anne, da. of Ald. Sir William Stephenson, London hop merchant, 3s. 1da. suc. fa. 1762.

Offices Held

Alderman, London 1769-d., sheriff 1769-70, ld. mayor 1775-6.

Master, Framework Knitters’ Co. 1770-1; col. E. Kent militia 1779-d.; brevet col. 1794.


In his heyday Sawbridge was one of the stalwarts of metropolitan radicalism, but by 1790 his influence was waning and his health impaired. He was returned fourth in the poll for London, as in 1784, and in his address of thanks promised the same loyalty to ‘civil and religious liberty’ and the same support for shorter parliaments as before. He made no known speech in his last parliament and only two votes, with the minority, survive: on the Oczakov question, 12 Apr. 1791 and 1 Mar. 1792. There is, however, no evidence that his Whig ardour had abated: he was the only London Member still favourable to the repeal of the Test Act in April 1791, and at the Whig Club meeting of 7 June 1791 it was he who moved, unsuccessfully, that the Club should join with the Revolution Society in celebrating the fall of the Bastille the following month; he was a Friend of the People and one of the committee of the Friends of the Liberty of the Press; and had his faculties not given way before the war with revolutionary France, according to an obituarist, ‘it is most certain that he would, with the same ardour, have opposed it, in all its stages, as he heretofore did the abominable American war’. He died 21 Feb. 1795, ‘lost to his country, his family, his friends and himself: his death, therefore, was a consummation devoutly to be wished’.

Add. 37848, f. 78; Gent. Mag. (1795), i. 216, 253.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne