Bathurst, Allen 1684-1775, first Earl Bathurst, statesman, was the eldest son of Sir Benjamin Bathurst, governor of the East India Company 1688-9, treasurer to Princess Anne of Denmark on the establishment of her household, and cofferer from her accession until her death. Sir Benjamin died on 27 April 1704; his widow, Frances, second daughter of Sir Allen Apsley of Apsley, Sussex, survived until August 1727; both lie buried in the church of Paulerspury, Northamptonshire. Allen Bathurst was born at St. James's Square, Westminster, on 16 Nov. 1684, and educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where his uncle, Dean Bathurst, was president, but his degree is not recorded. He represented Cirencester in parliament from May 1705 until January 1712, when he was created Baron Bathurst, being one of the twelve tory gentlemen who were raised to the peerage at the same time. Throughout life he was an ardent supporter of the principles of his party, and became conspicuous whilst in the upper house by his zealous advocacy of Bishop Atterbury and by his keen criticisms of Sir Robert Walpole. On the latter's fall from office Lord Bathurst was made a privy councillor and captain of the band of pensioners, an office which he retained from the summer of 1742 to the end of 1744. Shortly after the accession of George III a pension of 2,000l. a year on the Irish revenues was granted to him, and on 12 Aug. 1772 he received a further mark of royal favour in his elevation to an earldom. He died near Cirencester on 16 Sept. 1775 in his ninety-first year, and was buried in its church. He had married (6 July 1704) his cousin Catherine, daughter of Sir Peter Apsley, and had issue four sons and five daughters. She died on 8 June 1768, aged 79, and was buried at Cirencester. Lord Bathurst's working life covered three parts of the eighteenth century, and from youth to age he sought the society of wits and poets. Pope addressed to him the third of his Moral Essays, that on the use of riches. Pope and Swift corresponded with him, and Congreve and Prior were his friends. When Sterne became a familiar figure in fashionable life, Lord Bathurst introduced himself to him, and Sterne drew his admirer's portrait in the third of his Letters to Eliza, 1775, pp. 5-9. In the closing days of Lord Bathurst's life Burke, in moving certain resolutions for conciliation with America (22 March 1775), drew attention, in words which have been much admired, to the fact that the aged peer's life was conterminous with the development of England's colonial prosperity. Lord Bathurst's name and his letters are of frequent occurrence in J. J. Cartwright's selections from the Wentworth Papers, and the letters which passed between him and Pope are in the third volume of the latter's correspondence (8th vol. of Works, 1872), pp. 321-65. Many of the references to this vivacious peer show his love of gardening.
Baker's Northamptonshire, ii. 202-3
Campbell's Chancellors, v. 433-36
Walpole's Letters, i. p. cxviii, 176, 334
Stanhope's History, vi. 33-34
Annual Register (1775), Characters, pp. 22-25
Lady M. Wortley Montagu's Letters, i. 484-91.
Contributor: W. P. C. [William Prideaux Courtney]