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06 November 1773-
15 February 1835

henry hunt

Henry 'Orator' Hunt
Illustration courtesy of Manchester Central Library, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

older   hunt
Henry 'Orator' Hunt
Illustration courtesy of Manchester Central Library, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council

Henry Hunt

Born in Upavon, Wiltshire

Henry was the great, great, grandson of Colonel Thomas Hunt of Enford, who joined Charles II in exile causing the family to forfeit lands in Somerset and Wiltshire which were held by the Hunt family since the conquest.

Henry's father restored the family's wealth by being a successful farmer and increasing their land ownership by 3000 acres. 

His Parents wanted Henry to be socially mobile and encouraged his learning to aim for Oxford and suggested he joined the priesthood but Henry wanted to be a farmer.

On reaching manhood he was a loyal supporter of the constitution and government, but his experiences of the suffering of the poor and rural administration of his own district soon changed his mind and moved him to  more radical views.

On the recommendation of his father, he met and married on the 19th January 1796 in St John's Church, Devizes, the daughter of an Innkeeper at Devizes the Boar Inn, Miss Ann Halcomb, they had two sons and a daughter.

In 1802, Henry ran off with a friend's wife Catherine Vince.  In September of that year Ann was formally given custody of their daughter and a sum of 250 per year for her upkeep, the sons stayed with their father.

15 Nov 1816 he and others made an address in public, the soldiers who were there had orders, in case of disturbance to shoot at him and the speakers, not the crowd.

16 Aug 1819 he appeared in St Peter's field, he wanted to have a civil and peaceful rally unlike other speakers, he was not in favour of insurrection.  He was arrested and spent two years in prison in Ilchester, Somerset, his great, great grandfather escaped from a prison in Ilchester after the Somerset rising.

Henry became a member of Parliament for Preston on the 17th December 1830 and held the seat for two years.


According to the Morning Advertiser 16 Feb 1835

"During the last 25 years he had been a Radical reformer of the Cartwright and Cobbett school.... Mr Hunt was a man exceedingly fond of rural sports, in which he excelled most men, first rate shot, capital Angler, Fly-fisherman and a skillful farmer."

Henry was elected as member of Parliament for Preston in Dec 1830, but lost the seat in 1832

On his death he was survived by his two sons Thomas who emigrated to New York as a farmer, and Henry who recently married Miss Catherine Vince.


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Last updated 12th June 2017