Sir Charles Duncombe - Encyclopedia

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SIR CHARLES DUNCOMBE (c. 1648-1711), English politician, was a London apprentice, who became a goldsmith and a banker; he amassed great wealth in his calling and was chosen an alderman of the city of London in 1683. Duncombe's parliamentary career began in 1685, when he was elected member of parliament for Hedon, and he was afterwards one of the representatives of Yarmouth in the Isle of Wight and of Downton in Wiltshire. He was made receiver of the customs, and upon the flight of James II. from England in 1688 refused to forward to him the sum of 1500 as requested; accordingly his name alone was excepted from the pardon issued by the exiled king in 1692. A strong Tory, Duncombe held for a short time the office of receiver of the excise, and in this capacity he profited slightly by a transaction over some exchequer bills which had been falsely endorsed. Consequently he was imprisoned by the House of Commons, and expelled from parliament; and having been released by order of the House of Lords, where his friends were more powerful, he was again imprisoned by the Commons. Tried before the court of king's bench he was found "not guilty" on two occasions and the matter was allowed to drop. Duncombe made three unsuccessful attempts to enter parliament as member for the city of London, and then represented Downton a second time from 1702 until his death. In 1699 he was knighted, and in 1709 he served as lord mayor of London. Upon retiring from business in 1695 Duncombe caused some stir by giving the representatives of the duke of Buckingham a high price for an estate at Helmsley in Yorkshire, where he built a magnificent house.

He died at his residence at Teddington on the 9th of April i 711, and much of his great wealth passed to his sister, Ursula, wife of Thomas Browne, who took the name of Duncombe. Ursula's great-grandson, Charles Duncombe (1764-1841), was created Baron Feversham in 1826, and in 1868 his grandson, William Ernest, the 3rd baron (b. 1829), was made earl of Feversham. Sir Charles Duncombe's nephew, Anthony Duncombe (c. 1695-1763), who was made a baron in 1747, left an only daughter, Anne (1757-1829), who married Jacob PleydellBouverie, 2nd earl of Radnor, by whom she was the ancestress of the succeeding earls of Radnor.

A celebrated member of the Duncombe family was Thomas Slingsby Duncombe (1796-1861), a Radical politician, who was member of parliament for Hertford from 1826 to 1832 and for Finsbury from 1834 until his death. Duncombe defended Lord Durham's administration of Canada; he sought to obtain the release of John Frost and other Chartists, whose immense petition he presented to parliament in 1842; and he interested himself in the affairs of Charles II., the deposed duke of Brunswick. He showed a practical sympathy with Mazzini, whose letters had been opened by order of the English government, by urging for an inquiry into this occurrence; and also with Kossuth. He died at Lancing on the 13th of November 1861.

See Life and Correspondence of T. S. Duncombe, edited by T. H. Duncombe (1868).

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