ASHBURNHAM, Hon. Percy (1799-1881), of 95 Park Street, Grosvenor Square, Mdx.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Educationb. 22 Nov. 1799, 2nd s. of George, 3rd earl of Ashburnham (d. 1830), and 2nd w. Lady Charlotte Percy, da. of Algernon Percy†, 1st earl of Beverley. m. 23 Aug. 1838, Esther, da. and h. of Lt.-Col. John By of Shernfold Park, Suss., 2da. d.v.p. d. 25 Jan. 1881.
Ensign 2 Ft. Gds. 1815, half-pay 1818, returned to regt. 1821; lt. 1 Ft. Gds. 1825, ret. 1830.
Ashburnham’s family had been large landowners in Sussex for centuries but, as in the case of his bibliophile father, who succeeded as 3rd earl of Ashburnham in 1812, they had grown diffident in assuming a prominent public role. Nevertheless, he would have been allowed to stand for the county in 1820 had he been of age.1 In 1825 his maternal grandfather, Lord Beverley, brought him in for Bere Alston on a vacancy. He was a silent Member who voted with Lord Liverpool’s ministry for the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 6 June 1825, and against reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr. 1826. He was again returned unopposed for Bere Alston at the general election that summer. He divided against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. He voted with the duke of Wellington’s ministry against reduction of the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July 1828. In February 1829 Planta, the patronage secretary, predicted that he would side ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation, but he gave no recorded votes that session. He voted against reduction of the grant for South American missions and abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830. He retired at the subsequent dissolution owing to his unwillingness to accept Beverley’s stipulations that he must go down to Bere Alston for the election and attend the Commons regularly thereafter. As he observed to an uncle, his decision had been ‘confirmed on reflection that even should Lord Beverley consent to waive both conditions the election committees during the first year of the new Parliament would oblige me, from the necessity I should be under of attending, to abandon the projects I have long had in view and which now only I am likely to accomplish’.2 There is no evidence that he ever sought to re-enter Parliament. He inherited £10,000 following his father’s death later that year.3 His marriage in 1838 to the heiress of a Sussex neighbour brought him the ‘splendid mansion’ of Shernfold Park, which he had rebuilt in the 1850s.4 He died in January 1881 and left Shernfold to his nephew John Ashburnham (1845-1912).