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Charles Pelham Villiers: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Right Honourable
 Charles Pelham Villiers

Engraving by John Cochran after a portrait by C. A. Du Val.

In office
9 July 1859 – 26 June 1866
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Viscount Palmerston
The Earl Russell
Preceded by Thomas Milner Gibson
Succeeded by Gathorne Hardy

Born January 3, 1802(1802-01-03)
Died January 16, 1898 (aged 96)
Nationality British
Political party Liberal
Liberal Unionist
Spouse(s) Unmarried
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge

Charles Pelham Villiers PC (3 January 1802 – 16 January 1898) was a British lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1835 to 1898, making him the longest serving Member of Parliament (MP).


Background and education

Villiers was the son of the Hon. George Villiers and the Hon. Theresa, daughter of John Parker, 1st Baron Boringdon. He was grandson of Thomas Villiers, 1st Earl of Clarendon and brother of George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon. He was educated at East India Company College and St John's College, Cambridge,[1] becoming a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in 1827. He was raised to the rank of an Earl's son in 1839 and thus entitled to be styled the Honourable Charles Pelham Villiers.

Political career

Villiers held Benthamite political views, and enjoyed a long career in public service and Parliament. In 1832, he was a Poor Law Commissioner, and from 1833 to 1852 was examiner of witnesses in the Court of Chancery.

Villiers was elected as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton in 1835. In 1847 he was also returned for Lancashire South but elected to sit for his former constituency. Villiers was sworn of the Privy Council in 1853[2] and served under Lord Aberdeen and Lord Palmerston as Judge Advocate General from 1852 to 1858. He served under Palmerston and Lord Russell as President of the Poor Law Board (with a seat in the cabinet) from 1859 to 1866.

Villier was offered a peerage in June 1885, but declined.[3] His Wolverhampton constituency was divided under the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 and he was then elected for Wolverhampton South, switching to the Liberal Unionist party in 1886. He was the Father of the House of Commons from 1890 until his death in 1898. However, the last time he attended Parliament was in 1895. During his time in Parliament he worked towards free trade and opposed the Corn Laws and home rule for Ireland. He is noted as being the voice in parliament of the free trade movement before the election of Richard Cobden and John Bright. Villiers was the last remaining MP to have served under King William IV.

Personal life

Villiers died unmarried in January 1898, aged 96. A statue of him stands in West Park in Wolverhampton.


External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Wolryche-Whitmore
Richard Fryer
Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton
Constituency divided
With: Thomas Thornley, 1835–1859;
Sir Richard Bethell, 1859–1861;
Thomas Matthias Weguelin, 1861–1880;
Henry Fowler, 1880–1885
Succeeded by
Wolverhampton East constituency
Wolverhampton South constituency
Wolverhampton West constituency
Preceded by
Wolverhampton constituency
Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South
New constituency
Succeeded by
John Lloyd Gibbons
Preceded by
Christopher Talbot
Father of the House
Succeeded by
Sir John Mowbray, Bt
Preceded by
James Patrick Mahon
Oldest Member of Parliament
Succeeded by
James Patrick Mahon
Preceded by
James Patrick Mahon
Oldest Member of Parliament
Succeeded by
Sir John Mowbray, Bt
Political offices
Preceded by
George Bankes
Judge Advocate General
Succeeded by
John Mowbray
Preceded by
Thomas Milner Gibson
President of the Poor Law Board
Succeeded by
Gathorne Hardy

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHARLES PELHAM VILLIERS (1802-1898), English statesman, son of George Villiers, grandson of the 1st earl of Clarendon of the second (Villiers) creation, and brother of the 4th earl (q.v.), was born in London on the 3rd of January 1802, and educated at St John's College, Cambridge. He read for the bar at Lincoln's Inn, and became an associate of the Benthamites and "philosophical radicals" of the day. He was an assistant commissioner to the Poor Law Commission (1832), and in 1833 was made by the master of the Rolls, whose secretary he had been, a chancery examiner of witnesses, holding this office till 1852. In 1835 he was elected M.P. for Wolverhampton, and retained his seat till his death. He was the pioneer of the free-trade movement, and became prominent with Cobden and Bright as one of its chief supporters, being indefatigable in pressing the need for free trade on the House of Commons, by resolution and by petition. After free trade triumphed in 1846 his importance in politics became rather historical than actual, especially as he advanced to a venerable old age; but he was president of the Poor Law Board, with a seat in the Cabinet, from 1859 to 1866, and he did other useful work in the Liberal reforms of the time. Like Bright, he parted from Mr Gladstone on Home Rule for Ireland. He attended parliament for the last time in 1895, and died on the 16th of January 1898.

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