William Sturges Bourne

The Right Honourable
William Sturges-Bourne
Home Secretary
In office
30 April 1827  16 July 1827
Monarch George IV
Prime Minister George Canning
Preceded by Robert Peel
Succeeded by The Marquess of Lansdowne
Personal details
Born 7 November 1769 (2016-12-22UTC22:32:01)
Died 1 February 1845 (1845-03) (aged 75)
Testwood House, New Forest, Hampshire
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

William Sturges-Bourne PC (7 November 1769 – 1 February 1845), known as William Sturges until 1803, was a British Tory politician. He was briefly Home Secretary under George Canning in 1827.

Background and education

Born William Sturges, he was the only son of the Reverend John Sturges and his wife Judith (née Bourne). He was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1793. In 1803, Sturges inherited property from his uncle Francis Bourne, requiring him to add the surname Bourne to his own.

Political career

At Oxford he became good friends with George Canning, who helped him become elected to parliament for Hastings in 1798. In Pitt's second government, Sturges Bourne became Secretary to the Treasury, and, after a period out of government during the Ministry of All the Talents, he became a Lord of the Treasury from 1807 to 1809, retiring along with his ally Canning from the government. Sturges Bourne left parliament after the 1812 general election, but, due again to Canning's influence, became a Privy Councillor in 1814, and returned to parliament for Bandon Bridge in 1815. In 1814 he became a commissioner on the Board of Control, remaining in this office until 1822. He also served from 1818 to 1819 as Chairman of a Committee to reform the Poor Laws, which was successfully carried out as the Sturges Bourne Acts.

Although he retired from government in 1822 due to a large inheritance, he returned to government as Home Secretary when Canning became prime minister in April 1827. He only served briefly in this post, becoming instead First Commissioner of Woods and Forests when the Whig grandee Lord Lansdowne joined the ministry as Home Secretary a few months later. He was offered the Chancellorship of the Exchequer several times by Canning's successor Lord Goderich, but turned it down, leading Colonial Secretary William Huskisson to accuse him of sabotaging the ministry. Sturges Bourne retired from government with Wellington's accession as premier in February 1828. Sturges Bourne supported Catholic emancipation, but opposed the Whig Reform Bill, and retired from parliament in 1831. In his later career, he served as a member of the Royal Commission on the Poor Laws.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in April 1826 [1]


Sturges Bourne married Anne, third daughter of Oldfield Bowles, in 1808. He died at Testwood House, New Forest, Hampshire, in February 1845, aged 75.


  1. "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Chamberlayne
William Stewart Rose
Member of Parliament for Christchurch
With: William Stewart Rose
Succeeded by
William Edward Tomline
William Stewart Rose
Preceded by
Richard Boyle Bernard
Member of Parliament for Bandon
Succeeded by
Augustus Clifford
Preceded by
Sir Lawrence Palk, Bt
John Copley
Member of Parliament for Ashburton
With: Sir Lawrence Palk, Bt
Succeeded by
Charles Arbuthnot
Sir Lawrence Palk, Bt
Preceded by
John Henry North
Arthur Chichester
Member of Parliament for Milborne Port
With: George Stevens Byng
Succeeded by
Richard Lalor Sheil
George Stevens Byng
Political offices
Preceded by
John Sargent
Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
John King
Preceded by
Robert Peel
Home Secretary
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Lansdowne
Preceded by
The Earl of Carlisle
First Commissioner of Woods and Forests
Succeeded by
Charles Arbuthnot
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