Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Maberley, Frederick Herbert

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Surname Maberly in later editions.

MABERLEY, FREDERICK HERBERT (1782–1860), politician, born 18 April 1782, was son of Stephen Maberley of London. After education at Westminster School, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, 23 April 1802, aged 21 (Trin. Coll. Reg.) He graduated B.A. in 1806 and M.A. in 1809, and was ordained to the curacy of Bourn, near Caxton, Cambridgeshire. He early began to display the eccentricity for which he afterwards became notorious. At Chesterton, near Cambridge, he erected, for undefined objects and at great expense, a large dwelling, of which all the rooms were on one floor. In politics he was at this time a whig, but his anti-popish zeal was so fanatical that he resisted the movement for catholic emancipation with the utmost determination. About 1812 he travelled all over England in a van distributing tons of protestant tracts. His pamphlet in 1818 upon the drowning of an undergraduate named Lawrence Dundas of Trinity College, Cambridge, though absurd in its tone, called attention to the lax supervision of undergraduates in lodgings in the town of Cambridge, and led to the introduction of a system of licenses, 27 March 1818. In 1826 he took an active part in the opposition to Lord John Russell's re-election for the county of Huntingdon. In 1829, when the sheriff of Cambridgeshire declined in answer to a requisition to call a meeting to oppose the Catholic Relief Bill, Maberly issued a manifesto, dated 2 April (Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, iv. 560), declaring that he would on 11 April, on the occasion of the execution of a criminal then under sentence of death, address the crowd and move a resolution in favour of a petition for the impeachment of Wellington and Peel. Under pressure from the county magistracy he abandoned his intention on 9 April, but he subsequently appeared at the bar of the House of Lords to impeach the Duke of Wellington, and was summarily ejected. On the introduction of the new poor laws he strenuously opposed them. On 11 June 1836 he assembled a large meeting of labourers, principally from outlying villages, on Parker's Piece in Cambridge, and harangued them on the Poor Law Amendment Act. His proceedings caused the magistrates and the home secretary much anxiety about the public peace. Though in 1829 the House of Lords had spared him any punishment, on the ground that he was a lunatic, he now, in 1835, received from the Bishop of Ely the rectory of Finborough in Suffolk as a reward for his staunch support of the tory party. He remained in the seclusion of his living until he died at Stowmarket, 24 Jan. 1860, leaving a family much impoverished by his rash and miscellaneous benevolence.

[Gent. Mag. new ser. viii. 511, 512; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge]

J. A. H.