Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lamb, Matthew

1433572Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 31 — Lamb, Matthew1892Lloyd Charles Sanders

LAMB, Sir MATTHEW (1705–1768), politician, second son of Matthew Lamb or Lambe, an attorney of Southwell, and the legal adviser of the Cokes of Melbourne Hall, Derbyshire, was born in 1705, was educated to the law, and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn. Robert, bishop of Peterborough, was his elder brother. In 1734 the death of his uncle Peniston Lamb, who had been a successful ‘pleader under the bar,’ placed him in the possession of a considerable fortune. He rapidly extended his business, became the confidential adviser of Lord Salisbury and Lord Egmont, and according to Hayward (Celebrated Statesmen, i. 332), feathered his nest at their expense. He was probably the Councillor Lamb of Lincoln's Inn who in 1738 was appointed solicitor to the revenue of the post office (Gent. Mag. 1738). Two years later he married Miss Charlotte Coke, who, on the unexpected death of her brother, George Lewis Coke, in 1751, inherited Melbourne Hall. He acquired Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, by purchase from the representatives of Sir Thomas Winnington in 1746. Lamb was already in parliament, having been returned for Stockbridge in 1741, and he was elected for Peterborough in 1747, which borough he represented until his death. On 17 Jan. 1755 he was created a baronet, and in the following year removed from Red Lion Square to Sackville Street, Piccadilly. He died on 5 Nov. 1768, leaving property estimated at nearly half a million, besides half a million in ready money. Lamb had three children: Peniston, who succeeded to the baronetcy, and was created first lord (1770) and viscount (1781) Melbourne in the Irish peerage; Charlotte, who married Henry, second earl of Fauconberg, in 1766, and died in 1790; and Anne, who died unmarried in 1768.

[Torrens's Memoirs of Lord Melbourne, vol. i. chap. i.; Lord Melbourne's Papers, ed. Sanders, chap. i.]

L. C. S.