John Calcraft the Elder (1726 – 23 August 1772), of Rempstone in Dorset and Ingress in Kent, was an English army agent and politician.
The son of an attorney who was Town Clerk of Grantham, Calcraft set out on a career as an army contractor under the patronage of Grantham's Member of Parliament (MP), the Marquess of Granby, at this period a rising army officer, and of one of the Whig leaders in Parliament, Henry Fox, to whom he was apparently related. (The nature of the relationship was never made clear, and insinuations were made that he was Fox's natural son.)  Calcraft was deputy paymaster of the Duke of Cumberland's army at the time of the Jacobite rising of 1745,  and subsequently a clerk in the War Office (1747–56), paymaster of widow's pensions (1757–62) and deputy-commissary of musters (1756–63). All of these posts offered lucrative opportunities for enrichment, both legitimate and less so. As well as the functions directly arising from the offices he held, he was involved with the rebuilding of Horse Guards, held contracts for delivering coal to Gibraltar, and became agent to many regiments of the army, a role with both administrative and financial responsibilities and offering considerable opportunity for profit if ably handled. By 1761, he was acting for no less than 49 colonels. Calcraft amassed a considerable fortune.
In 1757 Calcraft purchased an estate at Rempstone on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, which gave him an interest in three nearby parliamentary boroughs, Corfe Castle, Poole and Wareham. He quickly set out to buy further property which would increase his influence in each borough: he was unsuccessful at Corfe Castle, but acquired sufficient sway at Poole to secure the election of his brother, Thomas Calcraft, in 1761 and 1768, and became landlord to enough of the voters to gain complete control of Wareham,  which remained a Calcraft pocket borough until the Reform Act. In 1760 he bought a further estate, at Ingress near Dartford in Kent.
Calcraft was by now one of the most influential behind-the-scenes figures in British politics, working hand-in-glove with Fox, and was particularly deeply involved in the discussions to construct a government following the fall of Bute in 1763. But at this point he fell out with Fox, who he believed should give up the Pay Office, and became more closely associated with Shelburne and Pitt, and there was talk that he would be offered an Irish peerage. However, he lost his office as deputy-commissary of musters when the Shelburne group joined the opposition at the end of 1763, and the vindictive Fox considered attempting to have him dismissed also from some of his regimental agencies; but in any case, he soon after retired from the agency business and turned his attention to finding a seat in Parliament. In 1765 he acquired Leeds Abbey in Kent and made considerable improvements and additions to the house and its grounds. On his death on 1772, he devised it with the rest of his estates, to his eldest son, John Calcroft. 
A vacancy arose at Rochester in November 1765, and Calcraft stood on the independent interest but was narrowly defeated by the government candidate; Rochester was generally considered to be a safe government borough, and a less wealthy candidate would have had no chance. In April the following year, however, he was returned as member for Calne, one of Shelburne's boroughs, and supported the Chatham ministry in the House. At the end of the Parliament he secured government support for his second candidacy at Rochester, where he was duly elected. Nevertheless, after Chatham's resignation he consistently spoke and voted with the Opposition. He was also an enthusiastic supporter of Parliamentary Reform. He died in 1772.
Calcraft married a wife, Bridget, in 1744, but they soon separated and he seems to have been able to conceal her existence, for in 1762 there was speculation about his intentions to marry a Miss Wriothesley; nevertheless, she survived him and made a successful claim against his estate after his death. They had no children, but he had illegitimate children with at least two other women, Mrs George Anne Bellamy and Mrs Elizabeth Bride, both actresses. He made John Calcraft (the younger), his eldest son by Mrs Bride, his main heir. The younger Calcraft followed his father into Parliament, initially as member for Wareham. His brother Thomas Calcraft was MP for Poole.
Isaac Barré was an Anglo-Irish soldier and politician. He earned distinction serving with the British Army during the Seven Years' War and later became a prominent Member of Parliament, where he was a vocal supporter of William Pitt. He is known for coining the term "Sons of Liberty" in reference to American colonists who opposed the British government's policies.
William Petty Fitzmaurice, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne,, was an Irish-born British Whig statesman who was the first home secretary in 1782 and then prime minister from 1782 to 1783 during the final months of the American War of Independence. He succeeded in securing peace with America and this feat remains his most notable legacy.
Thomas Robinson, 2nd Baron Grantham PC was a British statesman. He notably served as Foreign Secretary between 1782 and 1783.
Wareham is a historic market town and, under the name Wareham Town, a civil parish, in the English county of Dorset. The town is situated on the River Frome eight miles (13 km) southwest of Poole.
Ralph Burton was a British soldier and Canadian settler.
Sir Robert Palk, 1st Baronet of Haldon House in the parish of Kenn, in Devon, England, was an officer of the British East India Company who served as Governor of the Madras Presidency. In England he served as MP for Ashburton in 1767 and between 1774 and 1787 and for Wareham, between 1768 and 1774.
Corfe Castle was a parliamentary borough in Dorset, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1572 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act.
Wareham was a parliamentary borough in Dorset, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1302 until 1832, and then one member from 1832 until 1885, when the borough was abolished.
Sir Thomas Pym Hales, 4th Baronet, of Beakesbourne in Kent, was an English Member of Parliament.
Sir George Colebrooke, 2nd Baronet, of Gatton in Surrey, was an English merchant banker, Member of Parliament for Arundel from 1754-1774 and chairman of the East India Company from 1767-1772. He was conspicuous by his wealth and ostentation, and the ambitious and speculative nature of his financial activities. Colebrooke was known as a stockjobber and a Nabob with close ties to Robert Clive and Alexander Fordyce. Colebrooke bankrupted himself through unwise speculations in the crisis of 1772.
John Calcraft the Younger, of Rempstone in Dorset and Ingress in Kent, was an English landowner and Member of Parliament.
Denis Bond (1676–1747), of Creech Grange, Dorset, was English lawyer and Whig politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1709 and 1732, when he was expelled for financial misconduct.
Ingress Abbey was a Neo-gothic Jacobean-style country house in Greenhithe, Kent, England. It was built on the Ingress Estate, owned by the Viscount Duncannon in the 18th century and after having been passed on among many owners the buildings were demolished in 1820. The current buildings were built in 1833 in Elizabethan style.
John Bond was a British barrister and politician.
Leeds Priory, also known as Leeds Abbey, was a priory in Leeds, Kent, England, that was founded in 1119 and dissolved in 1539. A mansion was later built on the site of the priory; it was demolished in the late 18th century. The site of the former priory is a scheduled monument.
George Bankes (1788–1856) was the last of the Cursitor Barons of the Exchequer, the office being abolished by Conservative ministry of the Earl of Derby in 1852. Without any legal experience at the bar, he was the last barrister to be appointed to the post considered to be a medieval anachronism.
Humphry Morice was a Whig Member of Parliament for the Cornish parliamentary borough of Launceston from 2 February 1750 until 1780.
Thomas Strangways (1643–1713) of Melbury House in Melbury Sampford near Evershot, Dorset was an English landowner and Tory politician who sat in the English and British House of Commons between 1673 and 1713. As a militia colonel he was active in opposing the Monmouth rebellion. For his last nine years in Parliament, he was the longest sitting member of the House of Commons.
John Hales Calcraft was a British Whig, Conservative and Tory politician.
Granby Hales Calcraft was a Whig member of parliament for the constituency of Wareham (1831-1832) and a captain in the army (1824-1833).