The American Revolutionary War had forced the government of Lord North to increase taxation. Frustrated with government profligacy, Wyvill and the gentry of Yorkshire called for a package of 'economical reforms': cuts in government spending and patronage, annual parliaments and an increase in the number of county seats in parliament.
Wyvill's cause was taken up by the Rockingham Whig opposition, culminating in the carrying of Dunning's motion in 1780. Some moderate reforms were implemented by the Rockingham-led administration of 1782. William Pitt the Younger raised a number of issues surrounding parliamentary reform in opposition to the Fox-North Coalition in 1783, but his proposal failed to gain the necessary support. In the wake of the French Revolution, Wyvill's platform came to be seen as moderate. Its influence can be detected in the later Great Reform Act and Chartist movement in the nineteenth century.
He was born in Edinburgh in 1740, the son of Edward Wyvill (died 1791), supervisor of excise there, by Christian Catherine, daughter of William Clifton of Edinburgh. Sir Christopher Wyvill, 3rd Baronet, of Constable Burton, was his great-great-grandfather.
Christopher Wyvill matriculated at Queens' College, Cambridge in 1756, obtaining an honorary degree of LL.B. in 1764. In 1774 he came in for the large landed estates of the family in Yorkshire and elsewhere, and the mansion at Constable Burton, the building of which he completed from his cousin, Sir Marmaduke's, designs. He had some years previously taken orders and been presented through his cousin's influence to the rectory of Black Notley in Essex, which he continued to hold and administer by means of a curate, down to 22 September 1806. Debarred from entering the House of Commons, Wyvill began to take a prominent part in county politics.
In 1779 Wyvill was appointed secretary of the Yorkshire Association, which had for its main objects to shorten the duration of parliaments, and to equalise the representation. He shortly became chairman of the association.
Wyvill drew up a circular letter enunciating its political sentiments, and took a leading part in drawing up the Yorkshire petition presented to parliament on 8 February 1780. A number of moderate Whigs, including Horace Walpole, regarded Wyvill's manifesto as chimerical, Walpole writing that it was full of "obscurity, bombast, and futility". Sir Cecil Wray wrote in a similar vein, and Rockingham wanted to know if the Association had ever considered the practicability of the annual parliaments which they recommended. Wyvill's contention was that the long American war was due primarily, not to the wish of the people, but to the votes of the members of the close boroughs. The Association had the sympathy of politicians including Pitt and Charles James Fox.
A committee under Wyvill was appointed to continue the pressure by correspondence, and the example of Yorkshire was followed by other counties, 25 in all. In the period 1779 to 1781, when there was a delegate conference, the movement gained a broad base. Supporters included John Baynes, Sir Robert Bernard, Newcome Cappe, John Fountayne, Sir James Grant, Thomas Brand Hollis, Sir James Innes-Ker, John Lee, Gamaliel Lloyd, George Montagu, 4th Duke of Manchester, John Smyth, Charles Stanhope, and William Johnson Temple.
With the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783, however, and the fall of Lord North, the Association disintegrated. Wyvill's supporters dwindled, to a small group including Sir George Savile, and Sir Charles Turner, who spoke of the House of Commons as resembling a parcel of thieves that had stolen an estate and were afraid of letting any person look into their title-deeds for fear of losing it.
Wyvill strongly disapproved of the subsequent war with France, to which he attributed industrial distress in Yorkshire, and this completed his alienation from Pitt. In 1793 Wyvill published in pamphlet form correspondence that had passed between them. Some supplementary letters appeared at Newcastle in a further brochure, and both had a large sale. Wyvill attached himself to the extreme Whig opposition, and he defended in a short pamphlet (early 1799) the secession of 1798. After Fox's death he gave his support to Samuel Whitbread and the peace-at-any-price party.
Wyvill returned in later life to his early enthusiasm in the cause of universal toleration; in particular he published on Catholic emancipation. He died at his seat, Burton Hall, near Bedale in the North Riding, on 8 March 1822, at the age of 82, and was buried at Spennithorne. A portrait was in the possession of his great-grandson, Marmaduke D'Arcy Wyvill M.P., of Constable Burton.
Wyvill's correspondence with Pitt, and the political correspondence, are known as the "Wyvill Papers". Three volumes appeared in 1794–5 as Political Papers, chiefly respecting the Attempt of the County of York and other considerable Districts, commenced in 1779 … to effect a Reformation of the Parliament of Great Britain. Collected by the Rev. Christopher Wyvill, Chairman of the late Committee of Association (York). The preface is dated Burton Hall, 26 May 1794; in June 1802 Wyvill wrote the preface to a fourth volume, and the papers were eventually concluded in six. They show the proceedings of the Yorkshire Association, and the sympathy of others interested in the reform of Parliament. The correspondence includes letters between the chairman of the association and, among others, the Duke of Grafton, Lord Holland, Lansdowne, Lord Stanhope, Charles James Fox, Major John Cartwright, Capel Lofft, William Mason, William Strickland, Joseph Priestley, Richard Price, Bishop Richard Watson, Tom Paine, Granville Sharp, John Jebb, Sir George Savile, and Benjamin Franklin.
Wyvill's writings were mostly shilling tracts, advocating radical reform. They include:
On 1 October 1773 Wyvill married his cousin Elizabeth, an heiress. She died in London on 22 July 1783, aged 68. He married, secondly, on 9 August 1787, Sarah, daughter of J. Codling, and by her had issue, with several daughters, three sons, all educated at Eton College: Marmaduke Wyvill (1791–1872), M.P. for York city from March 1820 to July 1830; Christopher Wyvill, a naval officer; and Edward, rector of Fingal, Yorkshire, who died on 15 September 1869.
Christopher Wyvill, D.D. was an eminent Anglican priest in the first half of the 18th century.The seventh son of Sir Christopher Wyvill, 3rd Baronet, M.P. for Richmond, he was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was ordained in 1678. He was a Canon of York from 1700 until his death in January 1710.Constable Burton Hall
Constable Burton Hall is a grade I-listed Georgian mansion of dressed stone in an extensive and well wooded park in the village of Constable Burton in North Yorkshire, and is privately owned by the Wyvill family. The house is a two-storey ashlar faced structure with a five bay frontage having an elegant recessed Ionic portico. The principal entrance is approached by a double flight of steps. The side elevation has a pediment and there is a large projecting bay to the rear of the house.Dean of Ripon
The Dean of Ripon is a senior cleric in the Church of England Diocese of Leeds. The dean is the head of the chapter at Ripon Cathedral – his predecessors were deans of the same church when it was previously the cathedral of the Diocese of Ripon and a minster in the diocese of York.Gamaliel Lloyd
Gamaliel Lloyd (1744–1817) was an English merchant and political reformer, a supporter of the Yorkshire Association.James Darcy
James Darcy (1617 - 1673) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660.
Darcy was the son of Conyers Darcy, 4th Baron Darcy (died 1654) and his wife Dorothy Belasyse, daughter of Sir Henry Belasyse, 1st Baronet of Newburgh Priory. He was baptised on 30 November 1617. He was a commissioner for militia for Yorkshire in March 1660.In April 1660, Darcy was elected Member of Parliament for Richmond in the Convention Parliament. He was a J.P. for the North Riding of Yorkshire from July 1660 to 1666 and a commissioner for assessment from August 1660 until his death. In June 1661 he was appointed Master of the Royal Stud at £200 per year and was contracted to supply twelve horses a year for £800. He was receiver of the free gift for Yorkshire from 1661 to 1665, commissioner for corporations from 1662 to 1663 and commissioner for loyal and indigent officers in 1662. In 1668 his salary as Master of the Royal Stud was abolished in the Household reforms, and his contract was reduced to £500 for five horses of his own breeding.Darcy died between 13 October 1673 when he made his will and 5 February 1674 when it was proved.Darcy married by 1650, Isabel Wyvill, daughter of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, 2nd Baronet of Burton Constable and had three sons and four daughters. He was the father of James Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy of Navan and brother of Conyers Darcy, 1st Earl of Holderness, and Hon. Marmaduke Darcy.John Maclear
John Fiot Lee Pearse Maclear (27 June 1838 in Cape Town – 17 July 1907 in Niagara) was an admiral in the Royal Navy, known for his leadership in hydrography.
He is best known for being Commander of HMS Challenger (1858) during the Challenger Expedition (1872–1876) under its commission captain, Sir George Nares, for the voyage of scientific discovery in which the ship went round the world. This expedition led to the science of oceanography, after which various ocean features are named, including the Challenger Plateau near New Zealand. During this expedition the Maclear's Rat on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean was named after him. He is also honoured in the specific epithet of Dicliptera maclearii, a plant in the family Acanthaceae which is endemic to Christmas Island.John Yorke (1633–63)
Sir John Yorke (1633-1663) was an English politician, who sat in the House of Commons as member for the Richmond constituency in the North Riding of Yorkshire from 1661 to 1663.
John Yorke was born at Gouthwaite in Nidderdale, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in 1633, the son of John Yorke (c.1592-1638) and Katharine Daniel. At the age of 4 he inherited his father's estates in Nidderdale. In 1658 he married Mary, daughter of Maulger Norton, his father's executor and MP for Richmond in 1640. Through his marriage he acquired property in Richmond. He was knighted at the Restoration court by Charles II in 1660.
He was elected member for Richmond in the Cavalier Parliament of 1661. He became a friend of Lord Wharton, and was appointed to ten committees, but died near London on 3 April 1663. He was buried in St Chad's Church, Middlesmoor in Nidderdale, where he is commemorated by an inscription in Latin.John and Mary had one son, Thomas (born in 1658) and a daughter Mary, born in 1662.Lewis Disney Fytche
Lewis Disney Fytche (9 October 1738 – 1822), originally Lewis Disney, often known after his marriage as Disney Fytche, was an English radical and landowner.Marmaduke Wyvill (1791–1872)
Marmaduke Wyvill (1791–1872) was an English Whig politician.Radicals (UK)
The Radicals were a loose parliamentary political grouping in Great Britain and Ireland in the early to mid-19th century, who drew on earlier ideas of radicalism and helped to transform the Whigs into the Liberal Party.Richmond (Yorks) (UK Parliament constituency)
Richmond (Yorks) is a constituency in North Yorkshire represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since May 2015 by Rishi Sunak, a Conservative.Samuel Shore (banker)
Samuel Shore (1738–1828) was an English ironmaster, banker and activist of the Yorkshire Association.Sir Christopher Wyvill, 3rd Baronet
Sir Christopher Wyvill, 3rd Baronet (1614 – 8 February 1681) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1659 and 1660.
Wyvill was the son of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, 2nd Baronet of Constable Burton Hall and his wife Isabel Gascoigne, daughter of Sir William Gascoigne of Sedbury Yorkshire. He was baptised on 6 December 1614. Wyvill is credited with a rare little octavo in the Bodleian Library entitled Certaine serious Thoughts which at severall times & upon sundry occasions have stollen themselves into verse and now into the publike view from the author [monogram, ‘C. W.’], Esquire. Together with a chronological table denoteing the names of such Princes as ruled the neighbour states & were contemporary with our English Kings published in London in 1647. This volume of verse is described at some length in Brydges's Censura Literaria (1808, vii. 261–4), and there dubiously attributed to C. Warwick. The Wyvill arms on the title-page point almost conclusively to (Sir) Christopher's authorship, which is conjecturally adopted in the British Museum Catalogue. Wyvill inherited the baronetcy on the death of his father in 1648.In 1659, Wyvill was elected Member of Parliament for Richmond in the Third Protectorate Parliament.In 1660, Wyvill was elected MP for Richmond in the Convention Parliament. He was the author of an anti-papal duodecimo entitled The Pretensions of the Triple Crown published in London in 1672.Wyvill died at the age of 66.
Wyvill married Ursula Darcy, daughter of Conyers, Lord Darcy. His son William succeeded him in the baronetcy.Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Baronet
Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Baronet (25 December 1747 – 3 June 1800) was an English politician. He used the additional surname Vassall in the period 1795 to 1797.Society of the Friends of the People
The Society of the Friends of the People was an organization in Great Britain that was focused on advocating for Parliamentary Reform. It was founded by the Whig Party in 1792.
The Society in England was aristocratic and exclusive, in contrast to the Friends of the People in Scotland who increasingly drew on a wider membership. Members wanted parliamentary representatives to reflect the population of Great Britain, which could be achieved by making voting more accessible, by allowing more men the right to vote, and by making it possible for a broader variety of men to take part in the government.
The Society disbanded in the mid 1790s as a result of conservative reaction against radical political movements.The Oeconomist, Or, Englishman's Magazine
The Oeconomist, full title The Oeconomist, Or, Englishman's Magazine, was an English monthly periodical at the end of the 18th century. It was published in Newcastle upon Tyne, and was edited by Thomas Bigge, in partnership with James Losh.Upsall Castle
Upsall Castle is a fourteenth-century ruin, park and manor house in Upsall, in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England.Wyvill
Wyvill is a surname and may refer to:
Sir Christopher Wyvill, 3rd Baronet (1614–1681), English politician
Christopher Wyvill (1740–1822), English political reformer
Marmaduke Wyvill (disambiguation)
Shaun Wyvill, Irish rugby league player
Wyvill baronetsWyvill baronets
The Wyvill Baronetcy, of Constable Burton in the County of York, was a title in the Baronetage of England. It was created on 25 November 1611 Marmaduke Wyvill, the former Member of Parliament for Richmond. The fifth and sixth Baronets also represented Richmond in the House of Commons. The title became dormant on the death of the seventh Baronet in 1774.