Frederick Villiers Meynell

Frederick Villiers Meynell (24 March 1801 – 27 May 1872), known as Frederick Villiers during his political career, was a British Whig politician.

Villiers, or Meynell, was the natural son of a Mr Meynell and a Miss Hunlocke. Sponsored by the Villiers family, although not related to it, in early life he was known as Frederick Villiers.[1] He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge,[2] where he became known as "Savage Villiers" (while Charles Villiers was "Civil Villiers") and was called to the Bar from Lincoln's Inn. He later adopted his biological father's surname of Meynell.[3]

He was returned to parliament for the rotten borough of Saltash in 1832, but lost his seat the following year when the constituency was abolished in the Great Reform Act.[4] In January 1835 he was elected for Canterbury.[5] However, he was unseated on petition already in March of that year on the grounds that he had not enough real estate income and for having bribed the voters. He stood for the same constituency in 1837 but was heavily defeated.[3] In 1841 he returned to the House of Commons when he was elected for Sudbury alongside David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre,[6] who spent approximately £3,000 on the election. In parliament he notably spoke against the Corn Laws. However, in April 1842 his and Dyce Sombre's elections were declared void due to "gross, systematic and extensive bribery".[3] In 1844 the constituency was disfranchised on the grounds of corruption.[6]

He was later given a sinecure by Lord Chief Justice Sir Alexander Cockburn, a Cambridge contemporary, who appointed him a Registrar of Deeds for Middlesex. The actual work was done by a deputy.[7][8]

Meynell died in May 1872, aged 71. He was buried in Haywards Heath, Sussex.[9]


  1. Dwight N. Lindley, Francis Edward Mineka, eds., The later letters of John Stuart Mill 1849-1873, vol. 14, pp. 341-342
  2. "Villiers, Frederick (VLRS823F)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. 1 2 3 Fisher, Michael, The inordinately Strange Life of Dyce Sombre: Victorian Anglo-Indian MP and Chancery 'Lunatic' , Columbia University Press, p. 178
  4. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 2)
  5. Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "C" (part 2)
  6. 1 2 Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "S" (part 6)
  7. Accounts and papers of the House of Commons (1867), p. 134: "The Names of the Registrars are: — George Le Blanc, Esq. The Right Honourable the Lord Truro; and Frederick Villiers Meynell, Esq. The Registrars do not attend personally, the business of the office being conducted by their Deputy."
  8. Michael Sadleir, Bulwer and His Wife - A Panorama 1803-1836 (2007), p. 208
  9. Tomb to Frederick Villiers Meynell to East of Church of St Wilfred, Haywards Heath

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Earl of Darlington
Philip Cecil Crampton
Member of Parliament for Saltash
With: Bethell Walrond
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Richard Watson
Viscount Fordwich
Member of Parliament for Canterbury
January–March 1835
With: Lord Albert Conyngham
Succeeded by
Lord Albert Conyngham
Stephen Rumbold Lushington
Preceded by
Joseph Bailey
George Tomline
Member of Parliament for Sudbury
With: David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre
Constituency disenfranchised
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