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University of Oxford, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3PA
University of Cambridge, 4 Mill Ln, Cambridge CB2 1RZ
Nether Hall, Church Hill, Bury Saint Edmunds IP31 2LN, UK
19 Richmond Terrace, London SW1A 2JL, UK

Joseph Alfred Hardcastle (September 15, 1815 - August 8, 1899)[3][4] was an English Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1847 and 1885. He was part of the Cambridge Apostles.

Joseph Alfred Hardcastle was born on 15 September 1815 at Clapham, London. He was the son of Alfred Hardcastle of Hatcham House, New Cross (then in Surrey) and the grandson of Joseph Hardcastle. He was educated at Mill Hill School and the Grammar School at Bury St Edmunds. He then studied at King's College, London and, after matriculating at Wadham College, Oxford, on 7 June 1834, he matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge where he obtained a scholarship in 1836.

Hardcastle married firstly Frances Lambirth, daughter of H. W. Lambirth of Writtle on 24 February 1840, and had five children: Henry, Alice, Winifred, Mary Josephine Hardcastle (1850-1930) and Emily E. Hardcastle (born 1853). Hardcastle spent most of his life in pursuit of his own satisfactions. He married a wealthy heiress called Frances Lambirth, a main part of whose dowry was the brewery at Writtle in Essex, and thereafter devoted himself - and his wife's money - to having a good time in intelligent society. He became Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds - in those days the House of Commons was a part of intelligent society - and later took a very agreeable house, Nether Hall, within easy reach of his constituency and with excellent shooting. When Parliament was sitting he lived in London in one of those magnificent houses off Whitehall, 19 Richmond Terrace, within five minutes' walk of Westminster. In both these establishments, but especially in London, he entertained liberally and delightfully. He was a splendid host and an excellent raconteur, and there were few who did not take pleasure in his company.

Henry, Winifred and Alice Hardcastle
Henry, Winifred and Alice Hardcastle

Frances Hardcastle with Alice
Frances Hardcastle with Alice

He was admitted at the Inner Temple on 2 December 1837 and called to the Bar on 11 June 1841.[5]  He was a Deputy Lieutenant for Surrey and a Justice of the Peace for Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.[6] Hardcastle was elected at the 1847 general election as Member of Parliament (MP) for Colchester,[3] but was defeated in 1852.[7] At the 1857 general election he was elected for Bury St Edmunds,[4] and held the seat until his defeat at the 1874 general election.[7]

In 1865 his long-suffering wife Frances died; the £40,000 for which her life was insured cleared off quite a lot of debts. By the death of their mother, the five children became entitled to their respective shares in the capital of the business, but Joseph Alfred Hardcastle remained as a tenant of the brewery and took the profits till 1 October 1868. Sums were paid out from time to time to the children, but no settlement or statement of accounts was made till 1 October 1868; nor did the trustees draw up any statement of the trust funds, except that a valuation of the real property was made in the course of the years 1866-67; the realty being put at £65,000 and so each share was £13,000. (Joseph Alfred Hardcastle, on the death of Dr Fletcher in 1860, was appointed trustee and the others left matters in his hands.)

He married secondly Hon. Mary Scarlett Campbell, daughter of of John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell of St. Andrews and Mary Elizabeth Scarlett, Baroness Stratheden of Cupar, on 8 July 1869 at St. George's Church, St. George Street, Hanover Square, London.[6]

He was re-elected at the 1880 general election, but when the borough's representation was reduced to one seat for the 1885 general election, he was defeated by the Conservative candidate, and did not stand again.[8]

He died on 8 August 1899 at age 83 at Woodlands, Beaminster, Dorset.

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