ALLANSON WINN, Hon. George Mark Arthur Way (1785-1827), of Warley Lodge, nr. Brentwood, Essex
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Family and Education
b. 14 Aug. 1785, 2nd s. of Sir George Allanson Winn†, 1st bt. and 1st Lord Headley [I] (d. 1798), of Bramham Biggin, Yorks. and Warley and 2nd w. Jane, da. and h. of Arthur Blennerhasset of Ballyseedy, co. Kerry; bro. of Charles Winn Allanson, 2nd Lord Headley [I]†. m. 27 Apr. 1807, Elizabeth Mary, da. of Lewis Majendie of Hedingham Castle, Essex, 7s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da. d. 5 Nov. 1827.
Allanson Winn’s father, a Scottish baron of exchequer, 1761-76, inherited from cousins estates in Essex (1763) and Yorkshire (1775), was created a baronet in 1776, acquired a substantial Irish property through his second marriage in 1783 and was Member for Ripon from September 1789 until his death in April 1798, four months after obtaining an Irish peerage from Pitt. He was succeeded as 2nd Lord Headley by his elder son Charles, who sat as a Tory for Ripon, Malton and Ludgershall in the 1806 and 1807 Parliaments and lived chiefly at Aghadee House in county Kerry.1 George Allanson Winn was born in Ireland, and by his father’s will of 17 Dec. 1787 inherited on coming of age in 1806 the Essex manors of Great and Little Warley, with the mansion, and London freehold houses in Cannon Street and St. Martin’s Lane.2 He sold 116 acres of Warley Common to government for the erection of barracks, married an Essex girl in 1807, became an active county magistrate and in about 1820 built a new house at Warley Lodge.3 He was ‘educated to the profession of the law’4 and was listed among counsel at 5 Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn in the Law List from 1812 to 1817; but no details of his education have been found. In January 1824 Daniel O’Connell*, in London to promote the Catholic cause, had ‘a long consultation ... on law business’ with Allanson Winn, and told his wife: ‘I found him an intelligent man and a good lawyer. I believe he thinks favourably of me’.5
In February 1826 Allanson Winn stood on a vacancy for Warwick, backed by the earl of Warwick’s Castle interest and the corporation against a local Whig banker. In a handbill he stated that he was ‘not opposed to moderate Whig principles’, but that he was ‘a follower of the great Lord Somers’ (one of the Whig architects of the Hanoverian succession) and ‘an enemy to Catholic emancipation’. On the hustings, where he was shouted down, he denied that he was ‘supported by the money of the treasury’; claimed to favour piecemeal reform of the ‘many abuses’ in the representative system, as in the case of Grampound; elaborated on his hostility to Catholic claims, while discountenancing the ‘No Popery’ cry as ‘stupid’, and criticized the method of taking the corn averages, but called for the existing laws to be given ‘a fair trial’ and for ‘specious and beautiful’ free trade theories to be circumspectly applied. After polling a derisory 14 votes to 186 he withdrew on the second morning, but promised to stand at the anticipated general election.6 In the event he turned his attention to the large freeman borough of Maldon, 18 miles from Warley, having been approached by the mayor in March 1826 on the withdrawal of the prospective Tory candidate. He offered as an opponent of ‘general and unnecessary innovations’ and of Catholic claims and a supporter of the Liverpool ministry.7 Hoping for a cheap return with the Whig candidate Barrett Lennard, he relied on a ‘display of ... cash ready to be expended’ to deter a third man. In this he failed, but the political views of the anti-Catholic Quintin Dick were largely in accordance with his own, and their eventual coalition enabled Allanson Winn, who connived in it, and was proposed by two leading Essex Tories, to top the poll. During the campaign he commended the government’s liberal foreign policy and demanded ‘strict economy’ in public expenditure, but said that he would not tolerate ‘that sordid economy which would drive a hoary-headed servant in the evening of his life to penury and want’. While he paid lip service to the amelioration of slavery, he upheld the planters’ proprietorial rights. His success was secured at a fearful cost, probably as much as £15,000, for the polling lasted 15 days and about 2,000 freemen were brought up and enrolled during it.8
Allanson Winn was recommended to Canning, the leader of the Commons, to second the address, 21 Nov. 1826. Informing the king that he had performed ‘very respectably’, Canning admitted his surprise when the assumed ‘young gentleman’ of old gentry status turned out to be ‘a man of a certain age, heretofore a lawyer, and now a county magistrate’.9 In his speech, Allanson Winn applauded Canning’s foreign policy and said that he would support ‘any measure’ for the benefit of Ireland ‘excepting such as might endanger the present establishment in church and state’, pointing to ‘the residence of Irish proprietors on their estates, coupled with the introduction of English capital’ as ‘the measures best calculated to restore Ireland to prosperity’. The Whig James Abercromby*, who thought that Allanson Winn might be in line for junior office, reported that he was ‘as foolish and impatient as a new Member could well be’.10 Allanson Winn voted silently against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He was in the minority of 37 for a separate bankruptcy administration, 22 May 1827, but on the 25th declared that he would support Canning’s ministry as his conscience permitted and mocked the Whigs who had abandoned Catholic relief and reform to coalesce with him.
Allanson Winn died, aged 42, at Warley Lodge in November 1827.11 Barrett Lennard reckoned that he had been
ruined in circumstances and killed. The horrid expense to which his false friends drove him has so operated upon his mind that he has died nearly broken hearted, leaving a widow and seven children to curse the day he ever was advised to offer himself for [Maldon].12
By his will, dated 13 Mar. 1819 and sworn under £5,000, he left all his property to his wife, who renounced probate to their eldest surviving son Mark.13 In May 1828 she vainly appealed to the prime minister, the duke of Wellington, for employment for her 18-year-old son Charles, claiming that Allanson Winn’s calamitous intervention at Maldon, in which he had been encouraged by the Liverpool ministry, had left her in penury.14 Mark Allanson Winn died in 1830, leaving his father’s will unadministered; and on 4 July 1831 administration was granted to Charles, who in 1840 succeeded his uncle as 3rd Lord Headley and was a Conservative Irish representative peer from 1868 until his death in 1877.
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: David R. Fisher
- 1. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iii. 61; v. 636-7.
- 2. PROB 11/1306/337.
- 3. VCH Essex, vii. 166, 167, 175.
- 4. Warwick Advertiser, 11 Feb. 1826.
- 5. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1074.
- 6. VCH Warws. viii. 503; Warwick Advertiser, 4, 11 Feb. 1826.
- 7. Kent and Essex Mercury, 21, 28 Mar 1826.
- 8. Essex RO, Barrett Lennard mss D/DL C60, Winn to Clarke and Nares, 16 Apr.; O42/3, minutes of 1826 election; Kent and Essex Mercury, 6, 13, 20, 27 June; The Times, 30 June 1826; Suff. RO (Ipswich), Henniker mss S/12/502, Lord to J. Henniker, 8 Nov. 1827.
- 9. Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1271.
- 10. Castle Howard mss, Abercromby to Carlisle [22 Nov. 1826].
- 11. Gent. Mag. (1827), ii. 559.
- 12. Barrett Lennard mss O42/3, minutes of 1826 election.
- 13. PROB 11/1752/122; IR26/1211/39.
- 14. Wellington mss WP1/932/20.