FRANKLAND, Robert (1784-1849), of Thirkleby Park, Yorks. and 15 Cavendish Square, Mdx.
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Family and Educationb. 16 July 1784, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Sir Thomas Frankland†, 6th bt., of Thirkleby and his cos. Dorothy, da. of William Smelt of Leases, Bedale, Yorks. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1803. m. 30 Nov. 1815, Louisa Anne, da. of Rt. Rev. Lord George Murray, bp. of St. Davids, 5da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 7th bt. 4 Jan. 1831; cos. Robert Greenhill Russell* 1836, taking additional name of Russell 9 Feb. 1837. d. 11 Mar. 1849.
Sheriff, Yorks. 1838-9.
Frankland, who sat for the family borough of Thirsk throughout this period, made little mark in the House. He was an occasional attender who continued to vote with the Whig opposition to Lord Liverpool’s ministry on all major issues. He divided against them on the civil list, 5, 8 May, and the additional Scottish baron of exchequer, 15 May 1820. He voted for restoration of Queen Caroline’s name to the liturgy, 14 Feb., and inquiry into the conduct of the sheriff of Dublin, 22 Feb. 1821. He divided for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. If he was the ‘Colonel Frankland’ who was credited with a brief comment on the ordnance estimates, 18 Apr. 1821, this was his only known contribution to debate in this period.1 He voted for more extensive tax reductions, 11 Feb., reduction of the junior lords of the admiralty, 1 Mar., abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 2 May, and reduction of the cost of the embassy to the Swiss cantons, 16 May 1822. He divided for Lord John Russell’s reform scheme, 25 Apr., and Brougham’s motion condemning the present influence of the crown, 24 June 1822. He voted for abolition of the death penalty for larceny, 21 May, and reform in Scotland, 2 June 1823. He divided against the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15 Feb., and for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr. 1825. He voted against the duke of Cumberland’s annuity bill, 6, 10 June 1825. No trace of parliamentary activity has been found for the sessions of 1824 or 1826.
He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May, and repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. He voted for the Wellington ministry’s Catholic emancipation bill, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. That autumn the Ultra Tory leader Sir Richard Vyvyan* listed him among those supporters of emancipation whose sentiments were ‘unknown’ with respect to a putative coalition government. He voted for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 Mar., returns of privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May, and abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June 1830. He was in the minority against Lord Ellenborough’s divorce bill, 6 Apr. 1830. After the general election that summer ministers listed him among their ‘foes’, and he duly voted against them in the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He was absent from the divisions on the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., 19 Apr. 1831. His only known vote on the reintroduced bill was with the minority in favour of counsel being heard on the hostile petition from Appleby, 12 July 1831. No evidence has been found to support the statement then made that he had ‘voted for the bill in its former stages’.2 He was named as a defaulter when the House was called over before Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. 1831. He appears to have been absent from all the divisions on the revised reform bill of December 1831. He attended to vote with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July 1832.
At the general election of 1832 Frankland, who had succeeded to his father’s title and estates the previous year, returned himself for the single Thirsk seat which had survived the Reform Act, but he retired from the House in March 1834. Two years later, on the death of his cousin and former colleague Sir Robert Greenhill Russell*, he inherited the Buckinghamshire estate of Chequers Court, which he initially intended to dispose of. Benjamin Disraeli† was reputedly prepared to bid £50,000 for it, but in the event the sale did not go ahead. Instead, Frankland Russell (as he now became), a gifted amateur artist who took an enthusiastic interest in architecture, enlarged the house and improved the estate. His friend Edward Buckton Lamb dedicated his study of Ancient Domestic Architecture (1846) to him, in recognition of ‘the taste you have evinced in the desire to carry out ancient art in the spirit of the medieval periods’.3 He died in March 1849. His title passed to his cousin Frederick William Frankland (1793-1878), but he left all his estates to his wife. In tribute to him, she had the church at Thirkleby rebuilt to designs by Lamb.4