William Aislabie (1700–1781)

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William Aislabie (1700 – 17 May 1781) was an English Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons for over 60 years from 1721 to 1781. His long unbroken service in the House of Commons was only surpassed, more than 100 years after his death, by the 63 years achieved by Charles Pelham Villiers at Wolverhampton.


Aislabie was the son of John Aislabie and his first wife, Anne Rawlinson daughter of Sir William Rawlinson of Hendon.[1]

Political career[edit]

Aislabie was first elected as Member of Parliament for Ripon on 17 May 1721 and served continuously until his death in 1781, a period of 60 years 47 days, reaching the position of Father of the House of Commons in 1768. His last recorded speech in the House, on the Duke of Bridgewater's Canals Bill, was made in 1770, he last voted in 1773, and in 1779, The Public Ledger journal commented: "His age and infirmities do not allow him to attend."[1]

In the immediate aftermath of his father's disgrace for his connection with the South Sea Bubble, Aislabie's brother John Aislabie Jr. had served as a member of Parliament from Ripon. In 1721 William Aislabie actually partnered (in the then two-member seat) his uncle of the same name as MP for Ripon. For a later part of the time he was MP there, the other MP was his cousin, also named William Aislabie.[2]

In 1738 Aislabie was also appointed one of the Auditors of the Impress,[3] and from 1749 until his death was registrar of the consistory court of the Diocese of York.[1]

On his father's death in 1742 he inherited the Studley estate and in 1768 he purchased the Fountains estate for £16,000.[4] Aislabie also spent large amounts of energy developing gardens on his estates.


Aislabie married firstly, in about 1722, Lady Elizabeth Cecil (1706–1733), the daughter of the 6th Earl of Exeter, with whom he had two sons and two daughters, and secondly, on 6 September 1745, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Charles Vernon of Farnham, Surrey, with whom he had one son and one daughter. None of his sons survived him.[1] His daughter Elizabeth married Charles Allanson, his fellow MP.



  1. ^ a b c d [1] History of Parliament Online article by A.N. Newman.
  2. ^ Beatson, Robert. A chronological register of both houses of the British Parliament, from the union in 1708, to the third Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in 1807 (Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, 1807) p. 242
  3. ^ Bean, William Wardell. The parliamentary representation of the six northern counties of England: Cumberland, Durham, Lancashire, Northumberland, Westmoreland, and Yorkshire, and their cities and boroughs. From 1603, to the general election of 1886. With lists of members and biographical notices (C. H. Bramwell, 1890) p. 1026
  4. ^ Coppack, Glen (1993). Fountains Abbey. B. T. Batsford Ltd / English Heritage. p. 105. ISBN 0-7134-6859-9. 
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Aislabie
William Aislabie (elder)
Member of Parliament for Ripon
With: William Aislabie (elder) to 1722
John Scrope 1722–27
William Aislabie (3) 1727–34
Thomas Duncombe 1734–41
Hon. Henry Vane 1741–47
Sir Charles Vernon 1747–61
William Lawrence 1761–68
Charles Allanson 1768–75
William Lawrence 1775–80
Frederick Robinson from 1780
Succeeded by
Frederick Robinson
William Lawrence
Preceded by
Sir John Rushout, 4th Baronet
Father of the House
Succeeded by
Charles FitzRoy-Scudamore