Ralph Milbanke

Born: Ralph Milbanke was born 28th July 1747. His parents were Sir Ralph Milbanke, 5th baronet, and Elizabeth Hedworth, daughter of John Hedworth, M.P. for Durham.

Educated: Ralph Milbanke was educated at Westminster School and Trinity College Cambridge.

Married: On 9th January 1777 Ralph Milbanke married Judith Noel, daughter of Edward, Viscount Wentworth.

Family: Ralph and Judith had one daughter, Anne Isabella, who married Lord Byron, the poet.

Home: The Milbanke family home was Halnaby Hall near Croft on Tees. In the 1790s Ralph Milbanke built Seaham Hall and that became his principal residence.

Known for: Ralph Milbanke was a captain in the Yorkshire Militia in 1777. He stood for Parliament in 1780 and 1784 without success. However at his third attempt in 1790 he was elected one of the two M.P.s for County Durham. It was rumoured that he spent £15,000 on the election. His maiden speech in the Commons was on the abolition of slavery and he remained a strong supporter of abolition thereafter. He was an active Member of Parliament, voting with the Whigs. He stood down from Parliament in 1812 due to poor health. Sir Ralph Milbanke was mayor of Hartlepool in three times, in 1782, 1791 and 1802. In 1810 he subscribed £100 towards the cost of rebuilding the pier at Hartlepool.

Died: Sir Ralph Milbanke died on 19th March 1825

Further Information: The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820 (ed.) R.Thorne (1986)