WODEHOUSE, Edmund (1784-1855), of Sennowe Lodge, Norf.

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



24 May 1817 - 1830
1835 - July 1855

Family and Education

b. 26 June 1784, 1st s. of Thomas Wodehouse, barrister and gent. of privy chamber, of Sennowe by Sarah, da. of Pryse Campbell of Stackpole Court, Pemb. educ. Harrow 1796-1800; Corpus, Oxf. 1801. m. 26 June 1809, his cos. Lucy, da. of Rev. Philip Wodehouse of Hingham, 5s. 3da. suc. fa. 1805.

Offices Held

Lt. East Dereham yeoman cav. 1802, capt. E. Norf. militia 1803, maj. 1808; lt.-col. commdt. 2 regt. W. Norf. militia 1808-13; capt. and lt.-col. W. Norf. yeoman cav. 1813.


Wodehouse’s father was the youngest brother of Sir John Wodehouse* of Kimberley. The latter’s heir John Wodehouse* had contested Norfolk unsuccessfully in 1802 and 1806, and when in 1817 an opening occurred, relinquished it in favour of his cousin Edmund who, as an avowed supporter of administration, defeated the Whig candidate at an expense of £24,000 towards which a subscription was raised.1 He voted for the suspension of habeas corpus, 23 June he moved the address. He endorsed government employment of informers, 5 Mar. 1818. Having admitted the need for public economy in his election campaign, he spoke and voted with the majority against an additional grant to the Duke of Clarence, 15 Apr. 1818, and on 8 Feb. 1819 was unexpectedly in the minority on the motion to add Brougham to the Bank committee. On 4 May 1819 he opposed state lotteries, ‘not so much a tax as an invitation to crime’. He voted against Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May, and for the foreign enlistment bill on 10 June. It was presumably John Wodehouse who voted against the malt duties on 9 June, as a speech against them was attributed to him: but Edmund was credited with a vote against the excise duties, 25 June, as well as with a vote in favour of inquiry into abuses of charitable foundations, 23 June.

Wodehouse was a leading spokesman against the Norfolk Whigs at the county meeting in October 1819, having previously written to Lord Sidmouth for advice on the government’s view of the Peterloo incident. The Whigs claimed that he cut a ‘ridiculous’ figure. On 2 Dec., in the debate on the seditious meetings bill, he clashed with his colleague Coke in defence of Lord Suffield’s conduct as lord lieutenant regarding appointments to the Norfolk magistracy. The feud was renewed on 7 Dec. but laid to rest two days later.2

Conservative and protectionist, Wodehouse was an opponent of parliamentary reform, and of Catholic relief until 1825, when he changed his mind. Charles Arbuthnot, who as secretary to the Treasury sounded the opinions of county Members from time to time, found him ‘always queerish, and who I suppose, does not choose to commit himself till he knows what others think’. ‘The pattern of an English gentleman, polished in manners, courteous in demeanour and almost romantic in his notions of honour’, according to his obituary, Wodehouse died 21 Aug. 1853.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. The Copy of the Poll (1817), 15; Norf. RO, Kimberley mss, election corresp. 1817; Gurney (Bawdeswell) mss, diary of Hudson Gurney, 22 Dec. 1832.
  • 2. Norwich Mercury, 30 Oct. 1819; Sidmouth mss, Wodehouse to Sidmouth, 29 Sept. 1817 (reply in Pellew, Sidmouth, iii. 276-7); Add. 51542, Macdonald to Holland, 30 Oct. [1819]; Buckingham, Regency, ii. 301-2.
  • 3. Buckingham, Court of Geo. IV, ii. 217; Add. 38574, f. 232; Gent. Mag. (1855), ii. 435.