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Charles was born on 6 July 1737, and baptised at St Anne's Church, Soho, on 18 July. He was the second, but only surviving son of William Mellish of Blyth and his first wife Catherine da Costa Villa Real. His mother died in 1747, and in 1762 his father married Anne Gore and began a second family.
He entered Lincoln's Inn in 1761. From 1770-1777 and 1779-1794 he was Recorder of Newark. In 1774 he became M.P. for Pontefract on behalf of the Galway interest (his half-sister Elizabeth having married the 2nd Viscount Galway). In 1780 he was placed instead, by the Duke of Newcastle, as M.P. for Aldborough.
Charles' political career ended in 1784 when he disagreed with Newcastle and was asked to resign his seat. He did not stand in the General Election of 1784, and stood unsuccessfully for Pontefract in 1790. Between 1793 and 1796 he was Commissioner of Stamps. He was interested in the history of Nottinghamshire and in antiquarian study
His estates were inherited by his second son Henry Francis Mellish, the elder son Joseph Charles having been disinherited on account of his extravagance.