HANBURY TRACY, Charles (1778-1858), of Toddington, Glos. and Gregynog, Mont.

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



1807 - 1812
23 Jan. 1832 - 1837

Family and Education

b. 28 Dec. 1778, 3rd s. of John Hanbury of Pontypool Park, Mon. by Jane, da. of Morgan Lewis of St. Pierre, Mon. educ. Rugby 1790; Christ Church, Oxf. 1796. m. 29 Dec. 1798, his cos. Hon. Henrietta Susanna Tracy, da. and h. of Henry Leigh, 8th Visct. Tracy [I], 6s. 3da. Took additional name of Tracy by royal lic. 1 Jan. 1799; cr. Baron Sudeley 12 July 1838.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Glos. 1800-1, Mont. 1804-5; ld. lt. Mont. 1848-d.

Lt.-col. Montgomery vol. legion 1803.


The Hanbury estates and ironworks in Monmouthshire passed to this Member’s elder brother Capel Hanbury in 1796. Two years later Charles married the Tracy heiress (his grandfather had married into the same family in 1743) and thereby acquired estates in north Gloucestershire, Montgomeryshire and Shropshire.

At the general election of 1807 he successfully contested Tewkesbury, an open borough about eight miles west of Toddington. On 9 May Lord Buckingham told Lord Grenville that their sister had described Hanbury Tracy as being ‘quite of the right sort and an élève’ of her own son Charles Williams Wynn, Member for Montgomeryshire.1 He certainly voted with the Whigs on all the major issues of the 1807 Parliament, but it was with the advanced wing of opposition and not the Grenvilles that he aligned himself.

He voted with the minority of 19 against the seizure of the Danish fleet, 28 Jan., and supported Folkestone’s motion on the subject, 29 Mar. 1808, when he commented that ‘as to the ministers restoring the ships at the end of the war, he hoped that would not be exactly applicable, for he expected that before that time they would be out of power’. He voted in censure of Lord Wellesley on the Oudh charges, 15 Mar., and was in the minority of 21 on the chairmanship of ways and means, 4 Apr. 1808, the day that he was elected a member of Brooks’s. He voted against government on the Duke of York scandal, 15 and 17 Mar. 1809, when he defended Wardle and stated his opinion that the duke had clearly connived in the malpractices of Mrs Clarke; but, like most of the reforming Whigs, he deserted Wardle after his disgrace and voted against him on his humiliation on the case of Corporal Curtis, 26 Feb. 1811.2

Hanbury Tracy was one of the Whigs most strongly in favour of economical reform, voting for inquiry into abuses, 17 Apr., in support of corruption charges against ministers, 25 Apr. and 11 May 1809, for Williams Wynn’s election bribery bill, 25 Mar., against the reappointment of the Duke of York, 6 June 1811, against the sinecure paymastership, 24 Feb., and for the amendments to the sinecure bill, 4 May 1812. He was one of the minority of 14 who voted for Burdett’s motion for the release of John Gale Jones, 12 Mar. 1810, and he sided with Burdett in the subsequent furore over privilege. He favoured parliamentary reform and was invited to the London Livery dinner, 21 Apr. 1809. He voted for Folkestone’s amendment to the title of Curwen’s emasculated reform bill, 12 June, and for Burdett’s reform motion, 15 June 1809, though he declined to pledge himself to support the specific scheme detailed by Burdett. He voted for Brand’s moderate reform motion, 21 May 1810, and in March 1811 joined Brand in trying to forge an agreement on reform between the Whigs and the Burdettites. When Brand withdrew from the venture he continued, with Madocks and Halsey, to cooperate with Cartwright and Burdett in preparations for a reform meeting. He was listed as one of the stewards, but does not appear to have attended it when it took place on 10 June.3 He did not seek re-election in 1812, but reappeared in the House as Member for Tewkesbury on a vacancy in 1832, after contesting the borough unsuccessfully at the 1831 general election.

Hanbury Tracy was a notable gentleman architect and in the 1820s rebuilt Toddington in ‘florid Gothic style’.4 He died 10 Feb. 1858.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: David R. Fisher


  • 1. Fortescue mss.
  • 2. Brougham, Life and Times, i. 522.
  • 3. M. Roberts, The Whig Party 1807-12, pp. 243, 287-8; Cartwright Corresp. ii. 374.
  • 4. Jnl. of Mrs Arbuthnot, i. 251.