WHITBREAD, William Henry (1795-1867), of Southill, Beds.

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



1818 - 1834

Family and Education

b. 4 Jan. 1795, 1st s. of Samuel Whitbread II*. educ. Eton 1808; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1813. m. (1) 10 June 1819, Judith (d. 25 June 1845), da. of George Pigott of Cambridge, s.p.; (2) 6 Nov. 1845, Harriet, da. of Rev. Wettenhall Sneyd of Newchurch, I.o.W., wid. of Turner Macan of Carriff, co. Armagh, s.p. suc. fa. 1815.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Beds. 1837-8.


On his father’s death Whitbread inherited unencumbered landed property worth over £20,000 a year, but also some large debts, which had ‘rather increased than diminished’ by 1817. He had no stake in the profits of the family brewing business until 1819, when he and his brother Samuel Charles joined the controlling partnership and Whitbread himself secured a personal share in the trade of £45,000.1 His first marriage was evidently an unhappy one and, a year before it occurred, John Cam Hobhouse recorded that Whitbread’s mother was ‘maudlin about her son and his piece’.2

He was elected to Brooks’s on 7 May 1816, returned unopposed for Bedford on the family interest at the general election of 1818 and divided regularly with the Whig opposition during the first session of the new Parliament. He did not support Burdett’s motion for parliamentary reform, 21 June 1819, and, to Brougham’s disgust, refused to promote a county meeting in Bedfordshire to call for inquiry into the Peterloo incident,3 but he participated fully in the opposition to the government’s repressive legislation in the short session of November and December 1819. He is not known to have spoken in the House before 1820, evidently had none of his father’s energy and political commitment and made no mark in politics. He died 21 June 1867.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Add. 51658, Whishaw to Lady Holland, 25 Nov. [1815]; Waldegrave mss, Waldegrave to his wife, 7 Feb. 1817; P. Mathias, Brewing Industry in England, 311-12.
  • 2. G. Blakiston, Lord William Russell and his Wife, 146; Add. 47235, f. 15.
  • 3. Brougham mss 65.