John Monckton, 1st Viscount Galway

John Monckton (1695 – 15 July 1751) of Serlby, Nottinghamshire, was a British landowner and Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1727 and 1751. He was elevated to the Irish peerage as the first Viscount Galway in 1727.

Background and educationEdit

Hodroyd Hall, near Barnsley, seat of the Monckton family since the early 17th century.

John Monckton was the eldest son of Robert Monckton (1659–1722), lord of the manors of Cavil, near Howden, and Hodroyd, near Barnsley, Yorkshire.[1] A strong opponent of the policies of James II, Robert Monckton had gone into exile in the Netherlands and returned with the invading army of William III in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. This established a strong family connection with the Whig party and Robert had gone on to win the borough of Pontefract from the Tories in the general election of 1695,[2] and later to represent Aldborough. Robert's wife, and John's mother, was Theodosia Fountaine, daughter and heiress of John Fountaine of Melton-on-the-Hill, Yorkshire. John Monckton was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, which he entered in 1713.[3][4]


Serlby Hall. The 1st Viscount Galway's hall was replaced by William, the 2nd Viscount, who was largely responsible for the present building.

Monckton inherited the family estate of Hodroyd Hall from his father in 1722. It had been the seat of the Moncktons since the early 17th century. In 1725 he purchased the Serlby estate in North Nottinghamshire and began the building of the new family seat of Serlby Hall, where he built up a notable collection of paintings. He was a member of the Society of Dilettanti.

Political careerEdit

Monckton stood unsuccessfully as a Whig candidate for Clitheroe at the 1722 British general election.[5] Victory in the seat depended on control of burgages. Having bought a number of burgages to no effect, Monckton decided to sell them to Sir Nathaniel Curzon, one of the victorious Tory candidates. As part of the deal, Curzon deferred to Monckton for the following parliament, and he was duly elected MP for Clitheroe at the 1727 British general election. On 17 July 1727 the grateful Whig government of Robert Walpole made Monckton Viscount Galway and Baron of Killard, both in the Irish peerage. An Irish peerage allowed the holder to continue sitting in the British parliament, and was a way of honouring a useful political ally.[6]

In 1729 Galway purchased 77 burgages in Pontefract, his father's former constituency, for £6000 from the Bland, Dawnay, Frank families. This placed himself and Sir William Lowther in joint control of the borough and they agreed to nominate a member each at subsequent elections. When Galway's tenure at Clitheroe elapsed at the 1734 British general election, he was elected MP for Pontefract, along with Lowther.[7] Subsequently, he profited from offices in the patronage of the government. In 1734, he was appointed Commissioner of Revenue in Ireland, a post he held until 1748. He was returned again for Pontefract at the 1741 British general election, but at the 1747 British general election, he ceded it to his eldest son. He was returned again for Pontefract at a by-election on 5 January 1749, in order to acquire another profitable post which required him to be an MP. In 1749 Monckton was recommended for the post of Surveyor-General of Lands, Woods and Forests in England and Wales by the Prime Minister, his brother-in-law, Henry Pelham. Writing to his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, Pelham pointed out that "the great expense he has been at in bringing himself in, and, at last, his purchasing a borough are merits we don't meet with every day." Galway held the post of Surveyor General and the Pontefract constituency until his death in 1751.


Monckton's first wife was Lady Elizabeth Manners, daughter of John Manners, 2nd Duke of Rutland. She died in 1730. Their children were:

  • Robert Monckton (1726–1782), notable Army General and colonial administrator.
Memorial to Jane Westenra and her children, Brewood parish church, Staffordshire.

Galway married as his second wife Jane Westenra, daughter of Henry Warner Westenra of Rathleagh, Queen's County (Ireland) in November 1734. She outlived him, surviving to 1788. Their children were

  • Edward Monckton (1744–1832), of Somerford, Staffordshire, an MP for 32 years.


  1. ^ "Biography of Robert Monckton (c.1659-1722)". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Pontefract". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Biography of John Monckton, 1st Viscount Galway (1695-1751)". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Monckton, John (MNKN713J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. ^ "Clitheroe". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  6. ^ "MONCKTON, John, 1st Visct. Galway [I] (1695-1751), of Serlby, Notts". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Pontefract". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Lister
Nathaniel Curzon
Member of Parliament for Clitheroe
With: Thomas Lister
Succeeded by
Thomas Lister
William Curzon
Preceded by
Sir William Lowther, 2nd Baronet
John Mordaunt
Member of Parliament for Pontefract
With: Sir William Lowther, 2nd Baronet 1734-1741
George Morton Pitt 1741-1747
Succeeded by
George Morton Pitt
William Monckton
Preceded by
George Morton Pitt
William Monckton
Member of Parliament for Pontefract
With: George Morton Pitt
Succeeded by
George Morton Pitt
William Monckton
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
New creation
Viscount Galway
Succeeded by
William Monckton-Arundell