John Bent

27th Mar 1776 - 6th Oct 1848

Claimant or beneficiary


John Bent from Devon, MP for Sligo 1818-1820 and Totnes 1820-1826; his mother’s family were tradesmen at Ashburton. He made a counterclaim as mortgagee on British Guiana No. 2398A&B for Plantation Vrouw Anna, of which the 1817 Slave Register shows him as the proprietor and which he presumably had subsequently sold, taking back a mortgage as security for the payment(s) for the sale from the new owner(s): in this claim, Bent was described as of Surinam.

  1. According to the History of Parliament ‘He certainly had money, was known in the City and invested substantially in landed property in the Lindfield and Cuckfield area of Sussex, but no evidence has been found to corroborate an assertion of 1823 [of John Wade, Black Book (1823 edn.), p. 139, cited in Fisher] that he was “a West India planter”.’ He was described as being 'a commissioner in Demerara' when being put forward for the Sligo seat. In 1825-1826, Bent was involved in the scandal of the Arigna Iron and Coal Mining Company. The case concerned the alleged fraudulent appropriation of shareholders' money by Bent and other directors of the company. A Select Committee investigated; Bent was cleared but censured for imprudence. 'Bent passed the rest of his life in comparative obscurity as a Sussex squire.' He died October 1848 at Oat Hall, which he left to his only son, Gibbs Francis Bent.

  2. Will of John Bent of [Oat Hall] Lindfield Sussex proved 11/11/1848.


T71/887 British Guiana claim nos. 2398A&B (Vrouw (?) Anna).

  1. D. R. Fisher (ed.), The House of Commons 1820-1832 (7 vols., Cambridge, Cambridge University Press for the History of Parliament Trust, 2009), vol. 4; extends and corrects the entry for Bent in R. G. Thorne (ed.), The House of Commons, 1790-1820 (5 vols., London, Secker & Warburg for the History of Parliament Trust, 1986), vol. 3.

  2. PROB 11/2082/385.


Further Information

m. 17 Feb. 1801, Maria, da. of John Brown
1 son 4 daughters

Associated Claims (1)

£14,904 0S 5D
Unsuccessful claimant (Mortgagee)

Legacies Summary

Commercial (2)

Equitable Loan Co.
Financial services - credit  

Political (1)

election →
Sligo Sligo
1818 - 1820
election →
Totnes Devon
1820 - 1826

Addresses (2)

Oat Hall, Lindfield, Hayward’s Heath (near), Sussex, South-east England, England
Weaton House, Devon, Devon & Cornwall, England