Died 1785. He was of Yorkshire descent, being the third son of Andrew Wilkinson, the MP for Aldborough in the Duke of Newcastle’s interest from 1735-65 and 1768-72, and of his wife, Barbara Jessop, the sister of Lord D’Arcy of Navan.
Commissioned lieutenant in August 1747, Wilkinson was promoted commander on 2 August 1756. He was posted captain on 23 March 1757 when he commissioned the new Glasgow 20, sailing for the Mediterranean where he remained for a couple of years. In 1759 he joined the Jersey 60, also serving on the Mediterranean station and in June 1763 this ship was paid off.
During the peace Wilkinson commanded the Niger 32 from 1767 until the middle part of 1771 seeing service on the Newfoundland and Mediterranean stations.
In the autumn of 1777 he commissioned the new Grafton 74 which formed part of Vice-Admiral Hon. John Byron’s fleet that went out to North America on 8 June 1778, arriving at Sandy Hook under Rear-Admiral Hyde Parker’s orders on 28 August. He left the vessel before she sailed with the fleet for the Leeward Islands and retired from the service shortly afterwards.
Captain Wilkinson died in 1785.
He married his cousin, Dorothy Lawson, the daughter of the mayor of York, Richard Lawson. Wilkinson’s portrait, painted after his retirement from the Navy, suggests a round-faced elderly country gentleman who clearly had a passion for fox-hunting, his clothing being a hunting coat and fox-brush hat. His father was a keen race-horse breeder and Wilkinson himself was described as a ‘sportsman’.