ANTROBUS, Gibbs Crawfurd (1793-1861), of Eaton Hall, nr. Congleton, Cheshire and 11 Grosvenor Square, Mdx.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Educationb. 17 June 1793, 2nd s. of John Antrobus (d. 1794) of New Street, Spring Gardens, Mdx. and Anna, da. of Gibbs Crawfurd† of Saint Hill, East Grinstead, Suss. educ. Eton 1805; St. John’s, Camb. 1810; L. Inn 1812. m. (1) 25 June 1827, Jane (d. 24 Nov. 1829), da. of Sir Coutts Trotter, 1st bt., of Westerville, Lincs., 1s; (2) 12 Jan. 1832, Charlotte, da. of Sir Edward Crofton, 3rd bt., of Mote, co. Roscommon, 2s. 2da. d. 21 May 1861.
Sec. of legation, Washington 1816-21, Sardinia 1823-4, Sicily 1824-6.
Sheriff, Cheshire 1834-5.
Antrobus came from an old Cheshire family based at Congleton. His father, who was said to have spent a short period of time at the stock exchange, before becoming a partner (with his elder brother Edmund) of the London banker Thomas Coutts in 1784, suffered a riding accident in 1793 and spent the final months of his life in a coma, unaware that his wife had died after giving birth to their second son.1 Antrobus and his elder brother were placed under the guardianship of their uncle Edmund, who was granted administration of their father’s estate, ‘for the use and benefit of the said infants’. Edmund Antrobus, who never married, raised the two brothers, was created a baronet in 1815 with remainder to them, and on his death in February 1826 divided the bulk of his estate, reportedly worth £700,000, between them. Gibbs Crawfurd’s share included Eaton Hall, which he had rebuilt by Lewis Wyatt in the Elizabethan style.2 He had joined the diplomatic service in 1816 and was posted to the United States, where he remained until 1821, receiving an annual salary of £550.3 Prior to the dissolution in 1820 Coutts, the duke of Newcastle’s banker, wrote to his client of his wish that Antrobus should enter Parliament, observing that ‘if your Grace can favour him by your nomination [for Boroughbridge] his uncle ... and myself will consider ourselves very much obliged’.4 In the event, he was brought in for the neighbouring borough of Aldborough, which the duke also controlled, despite the fact that he was still absent in the United States. One of the defeated candidates petitioned against his return on the ground that he lacked the requisite property qualification, but a committee declared him duly elected, 9 May 1821.
Having returned to England, Antrobus’s first recorded vote was with Lord Liverpool’s ministry against abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 13 Mar. 1822; he gave general support to them thereafter. He divided against relieving Catholic peers of their disabilities, 30 Apr. In his only known intervention in debate, on the civil list, 15 May, it was reported that ‘not a word of what he said was audible in the gallery’.5 He voted against inquiry into Irish tithes, 19 June, and consideration of the Calcutta bankers’ petition, 4 July, and for the Canada bill, 18 July 1822. Next day he divided for the aliens bill. He was in the government majorities against parliamentary reform, 20 Feb., and tax reductions, 10, 13, 18 Mar. 1823. He voted against the production of papers concerning the Orange plot to assassinate the lord lieutenant of Ireland, 24 Mar., but divided against ministers for inquiry into the subsequent prosecutions, 22 Apr. He voted against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr. 1823. The previous month he had been appointed secretary of legation at Turin, where he remained until October 1824, when he was transferred to Sicily. He abandoned his diplomatic career in 1826, doubtless because of his inheritance from his uncle. He was present to vote with government on the salary of the president of the board of trade, 10 Apr. 1826. At the general election that summer he came in for Plympton Erle as a paying guest on the Treby interest. He divided against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827. He voted against the spring guns bill, 30 Mar., and the corn bill, 2 Apr. 1827. He again divided against Catholic relief, 12 May 1828, in his only recorded vote of that session. In February 1829 Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, predicted that he would side ‘with government’ for Catholic emancipation, but in fact he continued to vote against it, 6, 18, 30 Mar. 1829. In January 1830, two months after the death of his wife, his father-in-law approached the foreign secretary Lord Aberdeen to secure diplomatic employment for him; Aberdeen promised to keep his wishes ‘in view’, but Antrobus was never employed again. He voted against the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. On 7 June he divided against reduction of the grant for South American missions and abolition of the death penalty for forgery. He voted in the minority to prohibit on-consumption in beer houses, 21 June 1830. At the general election that summer he was returned again for Plympton Erle.
The ministry regarded him as one of their ‘friends’, and he duly voted with them in the crucial division on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He divided against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. He came in again for Plympton Erle at the ensuing general election. He divided against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July 1831. He voted for use of the 1831 census in determining the disfranchisement schedules, 19 July, and against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July, and the bill’s passage, 21 Sept. He divided against the second reading of the revised bill, 17 Dec. 1831, the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He voted against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July, but with them against Hunt’s motion on military punishments, 16 Feb. 1832.
The disfranchisement of Plympton Erle by the Reform Act ended Antrobus’s parliamentary career, and he concentrated on developing his Cheshire estates. He died in May 1861 and Eaton Hall passed to his only son from his first marriage, John Coutts Antrobus (1829-1916).6
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Martin Casey
- 1. R.A. Antrobus, Antrobus Peds. 59-60; Gent. Mag. (1793), ii. 675; (1794), i. 482.
- 2. PROB 11/1274/343; 1708/59; IR26/1071/76; The Times, 12 Feb. 1826; P. de Figueiredo and J. Treuherz, Cheshire Country Houses, 233.
- 3. PP (1822), iv. 51.
- 4. Nottingham Univ. Lib. Newcastle mss NeC 5182.
- 5. The Times, 16 May 1822.
- 6. W.B. Stephens, Hist. Congleton, 126, 144.