GOUGH CALTHORPE, Hon. Frederick (1790-1868), of Grosvenor Square, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1818 - 1826
1826 - 1831

Family and Education

b. 14 June 1790, 4th s. of Henry Gough Calthorpe†, 1st Bar. Calthorpe (d. 1798), and Frances, da. and coh. of Gen. Benjamin Carpenter; bro. of Hon. Arthur Gough Calthorpe*. educ. Harrow 1803-8; Christ Church, Oxf. 1808. m. 12 Aug. 1823, Lady Charlotte Sophia Somerset, da. of Henry Charles Somerset†, 6th duke of Beaufort, 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 6da. Discontinued surname Calthorpe by royal lic. 14 May 1845. suc. kinsman John Gough to Perry estate 29 July 1844; bro. George as 4th Bar. Calthorpe 27 Sept. 1851. d. 2 May 1868.

Offices Held

Commr. of lunacy 1828-31.

Sheriff, Staffs. 1848-9.


Gough Calthorpe, whose family was linked by marriage and political ties to William Wilberforce* and other prominent Evangelicals,1 was returned again for Hindon in 1820 by his brother George, 3rd Baron Calthorpe. He was a silent Member but a fairly regular attender, who acted with the Whig opposition to Lord Liverpool’s ministry on many issues. However, he continued to exhibit a markedly independent spirit. He voted for parliamentary reform, 25 Apr. 1822, 24 Apr. 1823, but against the disfranchisement of ordnance officials, 12 Apr. 1821, and reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr. 1826. He divided for Catholic claims, 28 Feb. 1821, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May, but also for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 25 Feb. 1825. He voted in defence of ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821. While he usually divided for opposition economy and retrenchment motions, including Hume’s, 27 June 1821, and Brougham’s on distress, 11 Feb. 1822, he voted with government against Maberly’s motion on the state of the revenue, 6 Mar. 1821, more extensive tax reductions, 21 Feb., and repeal of the salt duties, 28 June 1822, and for the duke of Cumberland’s annuity, 30 May 1825. He presented a petition from Suffolk, where his family owned land, for relief from agricultural distress, 7 Mar., and was named to the subsequent select committee, 16 Mar. 1821 (and again, 18 Feb. 1822). In voting for inquiry into the currency, 9 Apr. 1821, he was presumably influenced by the connection between his family, whose West Midlands estates included part of Birmingham, and local manufacturers and agriculturists who were campaigning against the resumption of cash payments.2 He toured Ireland later that year.3 It was said of him in 1825 that he ‘attended frequently and voted both with and against government’.4 On his marriage in 1823 Wilberforce commented that ‘he is eminently blessed with the qualities ... best calculated to preserve an unclouded conjugal atmosphere and from all I hear providence has rewarded his virtuous celibacy by giving him a partner singularly fitted both for producing and enjoying domestic happiness’.5 At the general election of 1826 he exchanged seats with his brother Arthur and was returned unopposed for Bramber.

He divided for Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828, and repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. He voted against extending East Retford’s franchise to Bassetlaw freeholders, 21 Mar. Either he or his brother voted for inquiry into the Irish church, 24 June 1828. He divided for Catholic emancipation, 6, 30 Mar., and against obliging Daniel O’Connell to swear the oath of supremacy before taking his seat, 18 May 1829. He voted to reduce the grant for the sculpture of the marble arch, 25 May. He divided for the transfer of East Retford’s seats to Birmingham, 5 May 1829, 5 Mar. 1830. He voted with the revived Whig opposition to abolish the Bathurst and Dundas pensions, 26 Mar., condemn British interference in Portugal’s internal affairs, 28 Apr., reduce the grant for public buildings, 3 May, inquire into privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May, and reduce the grant for South American missions, 7 June. He divided for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr. He voted against Lord Ellenborough’s divorce bill, 6 Apr., and for reform of the divorce laws, 3 June. He divided for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 24 May, 7 June. He voted to prohibit on-consumption in beer houses, 21 June, and for the abolition of slavery, 13 July 1830. He was again returned for Bramber at the general election that summer.

The duke of Wellington’s ministry regarded Gough Calthorpe as one of the ‘bad doubtfuls’, and he voted against them in the crucial civil list division, 15 Nov. 1830. He divided for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. Reportedly irked by this, his brother replaced him with an anti-reformer at the ensuing general election, and there is no evidence that he sought to re-enter the Commons.6 He succeeded to his brother’s title and estates in 1851, and presided over a buoyant period in the family’s fortunes arising from the expansion of Birmingham and the resultant soaring value of his Edgbaston and Perry properties. However, his role in Birmingham’s development has been assessed as ‘ornamental’, as his ‘shy and retiring’ nature prevented him from taking a prominent part. In the Lords he was an occasional participant in debates on philanthropic and religious issues, and he espoused a ‘Palmerstonian’ brand of politics.7 He died in May 1868 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Frederick Henry William Gough Calthorpe (1826-93), Liberal Member for East Worcestershire, 1859-68, and then in turn by his other two surviving sons.

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Howard Spencer


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1868), i. 777-8. His father left him £7,000 in his will in 1798, to be paid on his coming of age (PROB 11/1306/316).
  • 2. B. Hilton, Corn, Cash, Commerce, 92.
  • 3. Hants RO, Calthorpe mss 26M62/F/C 8.
  • 4. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 454.
  • 5. Calthorpe mss F/C 91.
  • 6. Brighton Gazette, 5 May 1831.
  • 7. D. Cannadine, Lords and Landlords, 129, 134-5, 141-3, 153-7.