ARCHDALL, Richard (c.1746-1824), of Spondon, Derbys.

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



2 Mar. 1801 - 1802
1802 - 1806

Family and Education

b. c.1746, 2nd s. of Nicholas Archdall (formerly Montgomery), MP [I], of Castle Archdall, co. Fermanagh by 2nd w. Sarah née Spurling of London; half-bro. of Mervyn Archdall I*. educ. Harrow c.1766; Trinity, Dublin 1767; M. Temple 1772, called 1779, called [I] 1779. m. by 1787 (she d. 16 Sept. 1805, aged 46), issue.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1790-1800.

Keeper of ordnance stores [I] Apr. 1792; commr. of barracks [I] June 1798.


Archdall, who took up residence near Derby,1 sat in the Irish house of commons for Ardfert (1790-7) and Killybegs (1797-1800). Unlike his half-brother Mervyn, he was a placeman who supported government and the Act of Union, which disfranchised his seat.2 He was promised civil employment worth £500 p.a. as his reward by Cornwallis, and it appears that a seat at the canal board was thought of for him, though he would have preferred a place for his brother. As it was, he waived all engagements in March 1801, when he was returned on a vacancy for Kilkenny city on Lord Desart’s interest.3 He made himself useful to Addington’s administration in debate, defending the continuation of martial law in Ireland, 27 May 1801, commending Abbot’s services as Irish secretary, 10 Feb., defending the American Treaty bill, 5 Mar., and on 12 Apr. 1802 answering Burdett’s critique of the government of Ireland at some length.

At the dissolution of 1802, Archdall again waived his Union engagement when government secured his return for Lord Roden’s borough of Dundalk, after failing to ensure his re-election at Kilkenny. He had been listed as the third most important of the Irish placemen whom government wished to provide with a seat and the chief secretary thought that ‘there are occasions when he may be really useful’.4 So it proved. On 24 Nov. 1802 he was again a spokesman for ministers on Ireland and peace and on 8 Dec. declared that ‘the true voice of the nation’ favoured peace, though he had no confidence in the French regime. He voted with government against inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s debts, 4 Mar. 1803. On 3 June he defended ministers on the resumption of hostilities with France, expressing his confidence that Ireland would resist invasion by Buonaparte, and on 30 June, 28 July, 4 and 10 Aug. 1803 he defended ministers’ defence arrangements for Ireland. Archdall was a member of the Irish finance committee next session and gave a ‘decided negative’ to Wrottesley’s censure of the Irish government’s conduct during Emmet’s rising, 7 Mar. 1804, was teller for the Irish militia augmentation bill, 11 Mar., and on 28 Mar. praised the record of the Irish militia. He went on to support Pitt’s second ministry and was in the minority against the censure of Melville, 8 Apr. 1805. On 14 May 1805 he spoke and voted against Catholic claims. Archdall who was ‘not in easy circumstances’ did not find a seat in 1806, but a letter of his to Lord Grenville, 20 Dec. hinted that he was well disposed to the latter’s ministry and eager to be in Parliament again.5 Archdall never was. He died 8 Feb. 1824.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Arthur Aspinall


  • 1. E. Robinson, Annals of Science (1953), ix. 362.
  • 2. Add. 33119, f. 47.
  • 3. PRO 30/9/13, pt. 2; HO 100/103, f. 108.
  • 4. PRO 30/9/9, pt. 1/10, Archdall to Abbot, 2 Nov. 1801; Add. 35713, f. 122; 35781, f. 92; Wickham mss 5/5, Wickham to Stair, 17 June; 5/10, Hardwicke to Wickham, 2 June 1802.
  • 5. Spencer mss, Irish list, May 1806; Fortescue mss.