BEXLEY (1766 - 1851) Chancellor of the Exchequer 1809-1822
corner of Bexley Street and Vansittart Road in Windsor, Berks there stands a
delightful Victorian public house called the Bexley Arms, probably the only
pub in the country to commemorate Lord Bexley who reached the high office of
Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lord Bexley was a member of the Vansittart
family who came from Holland in the sixteenth century. Their main estates in
at Bisham (Bisham Abbey on the river Thames) and at Shottesbrook, near White
Waltham. Members of the family were lords of the manor of Clewer from
1720-1859 and owned some of the land between Windsor and Clewer developed
for housing in the 19th
Bexley was a younger son of the notorious Henry Vansittart, Governor of
Bengal, India. Henry was a member of the famous Hell Fire Club. He also
rediscovered the Kama Sutra but was drowned at sea off Cape Town in 1770.
His son, Nicholas, (Lord Bexley), was only four at the time. He first became
an unsuccessful lawyer and then turned to politics. He was an MP for 25
years. The obituary in the Times for him states that he was a poor speaker
and debater who never referred to his constituents in the House of Commons
and who lacked talents, knowledge or energy. On the other hand, he had a
great reputation as a financial expert and was in charge of the Exchequer
for 13 years - something of an achievement - and left a clear revenue
surplus for his successors in spit_ of the costs of the wars against
Napoleon. At one time, he tried to introduce Income Tax, but the Commons
rejected the idea. He was forced to retire in 1822 after criticism that his
financial proposals were impossible to understand and was given a pension
bought the estate of Foot's Cray Place near Bexley, Kent and was offered a
title in 1823. He took the title of Lord Bexley and the motto to his coat of
arms is GRATA QUIES (A Grateful Retirement). In fact, his retirement lasted
for 29 years until he died at the age of 85, a forgotten figure. Unlike his
father's interests, he spent his last years in charitable works, funding the
building of churches and distribution of Bibles. He also helped to found
Kings College in London. His house in Kent was destroyed by fire in 1950.
Times says of him that he had 'white hairs and unworldly greatness' and also
refers to his perpetual good nature.
His wife died
young and he had no children so the title became extinct. There was only
ever one Lord Bexley. A much later member of another branch of the family
was made Lord Vansittart but he also had no children and that title also
became extinct in 1957.
From left to right:
Emelia Morse, Henry Vansittart, Lord Bexley/Nicholas Vansittart, Emelia
and Sophier Vansittart.
Emelia Vansittart was
married to Edward Parry and they were passengers on a Dutch East Indiaman
called Woestduijn that wrecked off the coast of Flushing, Netherlands in
1779. They survived and Edward became the chairman of the Directors of the
East India Company and member of the Clapham sect that initiated the anti
while you are having a drink in the Bexley Arms, raise your glass to Lord
Bexley and to a grateful retirement one day for all of us!