Died 1787. He was of Yorkshire descent, being the third son of Andrew Wilkinson, the M.P. 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, serving in the Mediterranean for a couple of years and fighting an inconclusive engagement with the French frigate Oiseau 30 near Sardinia in May 1759. In August he joined the Jersey 60, also employed on the Mediterranean station, and in June 1763 this ship was paid off.
During the peace Wilkinson commanded the Niger 32 from November 1766 until the end of 1769, 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 on 24 May 1787.
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’.