Alderman Richard Atkinson

1738 - 1785


London merchant (partner in Hutchison Mure & Co.) and Alderman, active in the East India Co., and briefly MP for New Romney, dying in office and reputedly leaving £300,000. Uncle of George Atkinson (1764-1814, q.v.). He has an ODNB entry as 'merchant and director of the East India Company.'

  1. 'Mr. Atkinson when he came from the North was a mere adventurer, unsustained by any inheritance, by few family friends of any power, and by no acquisitions which education imparts but common penmanship and arithmetic. Thus circumstanced he came to London, and passing through different counting houses and experiments in trade, accumulated that prodigious wealth of which he died possessed, and which he had long enjoyed.'

  2. Will of Richard Atkinson merchant, late Alderman, of Fenchurch Street [made in 1782] was proved 30/09/1786. The will is long but unusually orderly in its organisation. In the will he explained that he had bought Bogue in St James jointly with Paul Benfield but that he [Atkinson] had put up the whole £9000 downpayment: the two men had accepted [sic] Bills of Exchange for the balance to be paid by installments, and he instructed his executors to pay these out of his personalty. He also said that the owned Dry Works estate in Westmorland subject to a mortgage of £16,500 to David Laird payable in 1792 and 1793. He left his estates in trust [his trustees included the Earl of Balcarres, Atkinson's partner Robert Mure and 'my nephew George Atkinson, son of my late brother George Atkinson] to secure a range of annuities including: £700 p.a. to each of two sisters of the Earl of Balcarres (Lady Anne Lindsay spinster and Lady Margaret Janet Fordyce, on the latter of whom he also settled £5000 later in the will); £700 p.a. to John Robinson of Sion Hill; £50 p.a. to a servant Thomas Hogg; £200 p.a. to each of his nine nieces. The residue of the profits of his estates were to accumulate until 1803, when £15,000 was to be set aside to secure the continued annuities, and when legacies of £3000 were to be paid to each of his eight nephews, in addition to the £3000 each he left them at age under his will, with the remainder of the accumulated funds to be divided between his nine nieces and the daughter (if any) of Lady Anne Lindsay. If the accumulated funds were not enough to pay the £15,000, the £3000 each to the nephews and a minimum payment of £4000 to each of the nieces [a notional total of £75,000], the trustees were authorised to tap the future profits of Atkinson's estates [i.e. beyond 1803]. The moiety of the Bogue estate, subject to these provisions, was entailed to the sons of his late brother George Atkinson, then to the sons of his brother Matthew and the sons of his brother-in-law George Alderson Taylor. At that point, £10,000 from the £15,000 reserved to secure the annuities was to be spent on increasing the output of the Deans Valley estate (the remaining £5000 was to go to Lady Anne Lindsay) and the annuities were to be secured only on the Deans Valley estate, which was entailed to the sons of Matthew Atkinson subject to these provisions. He said that he had had management of the affairs of Lady Anne Lindsay and had borrowed almost £20,000 from her funds, which he clarified he had done as trustee and that the property remained that of Lady Anne Lindsay. He detailed further the unravelling of other situations in which he had mixed his own property with that of his partners or of trusts of which he was trustee. He provided that his partners Hutchison Mure and Robert Mure could by the payment of £75,000 to his executors secure the release of their partnership from any claims against it by Atkinson's estate, that amount to be left at interest in the surviving merchant house. He left a further list of annuities: £200 p.a. to George Alderson Taylor; £200 p.a. to his sister-in-law Bridget Atkinson widow of his late brother George Atkinson; £200 p.a. to his brother Matthew of Temple Sowerby and his wife Mary; and £200 p.a. to William Bentinck son of the late Capt. John Bentinck of HM's Navy during the life of his [Bentinck's] mother.

  3. The Richard Atkinson Esquire of the Bogue estate who died at Saxham, Hanover, Jamaica, May 1793 has been tentatively identified as the nephew of Alderman Richard Atkinson, and brother of George Atkinson (1764-1814).

Sources [accessed 30/11/2016]; Parker, J. G. "Atkinson, Richard (1739–1785), merchant and director of the East India Company." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 Sep. 2004; Accessed 17 Jan. 2020.

  1. The Gentleman’s Magazine (1785), p. 570, cited by I.R. Christie in the History of Parliament article above. This account appears to understate the status of Richard Atkinson's family in Northumberland.

  2. PROB 11/1145/399.

  3. Royal Gazette 25/05/1793.

Further Information


Associated Estates (4)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1789 [EA] - 1825 [LA] → Previous owner
- 1786 [EY] → Joint owner
1786 [EA] - 1786 [LA] → Owner
1787 [EA] - 1808 [LA] → Previous owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Hutchison Mure & Co.
West India merchant  

Political (1)

election →
New Romney Kent
1784 - 1785

Relationships (5)

Uncle → Nephew
Business partners
Business associates
Business associates
Business partners
Notes →
Partners until the death of Atkinson in...