Sir Robert Wigram, 1st Baronet

Sir Robert Wigram, 1st Baronet (30 January 1744 – 6 November 1830) was a British merchant shipbuilder and Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons of Great Britain and of the United Kingdom between 1802 and 1807.

Sir Robert Wigram

Sir Robert Wigram, Bt
Born(1744-01-30)30 January 1744
Died6 November 1830(1830-11-06) (aged 86)
OccupationBusinessman and member of Parliament
Spouse(s)Catherine Broadhurst, Eleanor Watts


Wigram was born at Wexford, the only son of John Wigram, merchant, of Bristol, and his wife Mary Clifford daughter of Robert Clifford of Wexford and granddaughter of Highgate Boyd.[1]

Public lifeEdit

Sir Robert Wigram, Bt.

In 1762, Wigram took up an apprenticeship with Dr Allen of Dulwich London, and two years later, he was a fully qualified surgeon. He sailed to India on the East Indiaman Admiral Watson as ship's surgeon, but retired from this position in 1772 because of failing health, and became a successful merchant. He developed the family's mercantile activities and made several voyages to India in the service of the company. He was the sole, or at least principal owner, of several vessels trading to Bengal, Madras, and Bombay, and was one of the greatest importers of drugs in England.[2] He was also involved in South Seas whaling, with at least seven vessels operating in the trade between 1795 and 1807.[3]

Wigram became Member of Parliament for Fowey in 1802[4] and was a strong supporter of William Pitt. He was chairman of the meeting of the merchants and bankers during the French Revolution, and was instrumental in raising the regiment of the Sixth Royal London Volunteers, becoming their lieutenant-colonel in September 1803.[2] Also in July 1803, he led a group of shipowners in securing an act "for the further improvement of the Port of London", by making docks and other works at Blackwall for the accommodation of the East India shipping, and established the East India Dock Company.[5] He was created a baronet on 20 October 1805. At the general election in 1806, he was chosen for the Wexford Borough[6] but after the dissolution in 1807, he retired from public life. He was a vice-president of the Pitt Club. He had partnerships in the Blackwall Yard, Reid's Brewery, and Huddart's Rope Works. In 1805, he bought a large share of Deptford shipbuilders, formerly Perry, Wells & Green, and the firm became Wigram, Wells & Green. By 1813, Wigram had taken over all of Wells' interest and it became Wigram & Green. He owned half the business, his sons Money and Loftus Wigram a quarter, and Green the remaining quarter. Wigram retired in 1819 and sold his half to the other partners.[7] He was appointed High Sheriff of Essex for 1812–13, as Perry had been before him.

Wigram died at Walthamstow House, his home at Walthamstow, Essex, at the age of 86.


Wigram was twice married and had a large family of 23 children.[8] His first wife was Catherine Broadhurst, by whom be had six children. Following Catherine's death, in 1787, he married Eleanor (born Watts), widow of Captain Agnew and daughter of John Watts, secretary to the victualling office of Southampton. They had thirteen sons and four daughters.[9] His children included:

His 12th son, Ely Duodecimus Wigram (1801–69),[10] was a lieutenant-colonel in the Coldstream Guards and compiled a scrapbook of the Crimean war that contains a rare photograph of Mary Seacole.[11]

His 16th son, Reverend William Pitt Wigram, was the grandfather of Clive Wigram, 1st Baron Wigram. Another descendant was Ralph Wigram, grandson of Joseph Cotton Wigram.


Coat of arms of Sir Robert Wigram, 1st Baronet
Granted 20 July 1807 by Sir Chichester Fortescue, Ulster King of Arms[12]
On a mount Vert a hand in armour in fess couped at the wrist Proper charged with an escallop and holding a fleur-de-lis erect Or.
Argent on a pale Gules three escallops Or over all a chevron engrailed counterchanged and on a chief waves of the sea thereon a ship representing an English vessel of war of the sixteenth century with four masts sails furled Proper colours flying Gules.
Dulcis Amor Patriae


  1. ^ John Debrett, William Courthope, Debrett's Baronetage of England
  2. ^ a b Edmund Burke, John Davis The Annual register, or, A view of the history, politics, and literature for the year 1830, Volume 72
  3. ^ Jane M. Clayton & Charles A. Clayton, Shipowners investing in the South Sea Whale Fishery from Britain: 1775 to 1815, Hassobury, p.153. ISBN 978-1-5262-0136-2
  4. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "F"
  5. ^ The East India Docks: Historical development, Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 575-582. Date accessed: 6 February 2009
  6. ^ Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "W" (part 3)
  7. ^ National Maritime Museum About the Green Blackwall Collection Archived 10 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Register of the Wigram family 1743-1913
  9. ^ Allen Memorial Art Museum
  10. ^ Wigram, William Arthur (1913). "Register of the Wigram family, 1743-1913; being a complete record of the descendants of Sir Robert Wigram". London, Hazell. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  11. ^ Guymer, Laurence (30 January 2019). "Crimea Scrapbook, 1850s". In Foster, Richard (ed.). 50 Treasures from Winchester College. SCALA. p. 114. ISBN 9781785512209.
  12. ^ "Grants and Confirmations of Arms, Vol. C,". National Library of Ireland. Retrieved 23 June 2022.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Fowey
With: Reginald Pole Carew
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Wexford Borough
Succeeded by
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Walthamstow)
Succeeded by