A'COURT, William Pierce Ashe (1747-1817), of Heytesbury, Wilts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



3 Sept. 1781 - Dec. 1790
1806 - Jan. 1807

Family and Education

b. 1747, o.s. of Gen. William A’Court (Ashe) of Heytesbury by Annabella, da. and coh. of Thomas Vernon of Twickenham Park, Mdx. educ. Eton 1759-65. m. (1) 29 Apr. 1769, Catherine (d. 23 Sept. 1776), da. of Lt.-Col. John Bradford, s.p.; (2) 30 Oct. 1777, Letitia, da. of Henry Wyndham of The Close, Salisbury, Wilts., 3s. 4da. suc. fa. 1781; cr. Bt. 4 July 1795.

Offices Held

Capt. 11 Ft. 1769-78; lt.-col. 2nd Wilts. militia 1797.

Sheriff, Wilts. 1812-13.


A’Court inherited the nomination to a seat in Parliament for Heytesbury. He returned himself from 1781 until 1790, attaching himself to the Duke of Portland. In December 1790 he vacated to let in a Whig, but he subsequently regarded the seat primarily as a source of income. On 9 Sept. 1795 he informed Portland, after whose return to office he obtained a baronetcy and who seemed to have expected him to resume the seat himself: ‘I am desirous of remaining a little longer in retirement, and ... the situation ... will wait your Grace’s nomination and I beg leave to leave the business entirely in your hands’.1

Not until 1806 did he resume the seat. On 30 Mar. he had looked to Lord Grenville to promote his son William in the diplomatic service. In January 1807 he vacated his seat and on 20 Mar. applied to Viscount Howick on his son’s behalf, expecting the support he had given to the Grenville ministry to be taken into account. He is not known to have spoken in the House. On 23 Feb. 1810 he wrote to John King*:

The death of the Duke of Portland, to whom I was most sincerely attached, having left me without any remaining friend in the political world, it becomes necessary for me, with so large a family to provide for, to form new connexions, which may in some measure repair the heavy loss which I have sustained. I feel this the more incumbent upon me, as I am no longer equal to take an active or personal share in politics myself ... I have already had some slight intercourse with [Lord Grenville] upon political matters, and