John Erle-Drax

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John Erle-Drax
Member of Parliament
for Wareham
In office
1841–1857
Preceded by John Hales Calcraft
Succeeded by John Hales Calcraft
In office
1859–1865
Preceded by John Hales Calcraft
Succeeded by John Hales Montagu Calcraft
In office
1868–1880
Preceded by John Hales Montagu Calcraft
Succeeded by Montague Guest
Personal details
Born (1800-10-06)6 October 1800
Blackmore Vale
Died 5 January 1887(1887-01-05) (aged 86)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative (Tory)
Spouse(s) Jane Frances Erle-Drax Grosvenor
Occupation Politician

John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle-Drax (6 October 1800 – 5 January 1887) was a British Member of Parliament (MP) during the Victorian era.

Personal life[edit]

Born John Sawbridge, he was the son of Samuel Elias Sawbridge, of Olantigh, and grandson of John Sawbridge, Lord Mayor of London in 1775.[1] John married Jane Frances Erle-Drax-Grosvenor, daughter of Richard Erle-Drax-Grosvenor, in 1827. On 13 August 1828, his wife's brother Richard Erle-Drax-Grosvenor died unmarried, and he succeeded to her family estates, including Charborough House, assuming the surname of Erle-Drax.[2]

He was a captain in the East Kent Militia, and raised a troop of the Dorsetshire Yeomanry in 1830 to deal with the Disturbances or Swing Riots of that year;[3][4] he held the patronage of five church livings, and was a deputy-lieutenant of Dorset in the late 1850s.[5]

Erle-Drax built his mausoleum, located beside Holnest church in the Blackmore Vale, fifteen years before his death. He included in the Byzantine-style design a letter box, through which he arranged to have The Times delivered daily. He died on 5 January 1887, at which time the date was added to the epitaph. The mausoleum was demolished in 1935 and replaced by a flat memorial stone.[6]

Parliament[edit]

After serving a term as High Sheriff of Dorset in 1840 [7] Erle-Drax was the Conservative (Tory) Member of Parliament for Wareham for three periods between 1841 and 1880.[8] Wareham was a pocket borough with just 342 electors, controlled jointly by Erle-Drax and John Hales Calcraft, who arranged for one or the other of them to be returned at each election.[5] Immediately prior to the opening of the polls at one election, he made the following statement to the electors of Wareham: "I understand that some evil-disposed person has been circulating a report that I wish my tenants, and other persons dependent upon me, to vote according to their conscience. This is a dastardly lie, calculated to injure me. I have no wish of the sort. I wish, and intend, that these people should vote for me."[9]

During his tenure in the House of Commons, Erle-Drax was known as the "Silent MP". He made only one known statement in the House, which was a request that the Speaker of the House have a window opened.[6]

Erle-Drax's descendant, Richard Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax, was elected as Member of Parliament [6] for South Dorset in the United Kingdom general election, 2010 using the 'truncated' name Richard Drax.[10]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Burke, p. 211
  2. ^ Burke, pp. 207–209
  3. ^ Burke 1838, p. 207
  4. ^ Burke, p. 207
  5. ^ a b Richardson, p. 47
  6. ^ a b c Legg, Rodney (2009-12-11). "The Silent MP". Times Online. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "No. 19819". The London Gazette. 31 January 1840. pp. 197–198. 
  8. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs [self-published source][better source needed]
  9. ^ Fraser, p. 263
  10. ^ http://www.conservatives.com/People/Members_of_Parliament/Drax_Richard.aspx
Sources
  • Burke, John (1838). A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank: but uninvested with heritable honours, Volume 4 (1838 ed.). Henry Colburn.  - Total pages: 811
  • Fraser, William (1891). Disraeli and his day. Kegan Paul. 
  • Richardson, R. J. (1859). The lower house, or, the peers and aristocracy: being a complete key to the House of Commons. Vickers. JSTOR 60202447. 
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle-Drax

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Hales Calcraft
Member of Parliament for Wareham
1841–1857
Succeeded by
John Hales Calcraft
Preceded by
John Hales Calcraft
Member of Parliament for Wareham
1859–1865
Succeeded by
John Hales Montagu Calcraft
Preceded by
John Hales Montagu Calcraft
Member of Parliament for Wareham
1868–1880
Succeeded by
Montague Guest