ARUNDELL, Henry (1608-94)

ARUNDELL, Henry (1608–94)

suc. fa. 19 May 1643 as 3rd Bar. ARUNDELL of WARDOUR

First sat 21 May 1660; last sat 24 Oct. 1678

bap. 23 Feb. 1608, s. of Thomas Arundell, 2nd Bar. Arundell of Wardour and Blanche, da. of Edward Somerset, 4th earl of Worcester. educ. Univ. of Padua 1658; G. Inn 1669 (hon. admiss.). m. (settlement c.1629),1 Cicely (d.1676), da. of Sir Henry Compton KB of Brambletye, Suss. and Cicely, da. of Robert Sackville, 2nd earl of Dorset, wid. of Sir John Fermor of Somerton, Oxon. 2s. 1da.2 d. 28 Dec.1694; will n.d., pr. 12 Aug. 1695.3

PC 1686-9; ld. privy seal 11 Mar. 1687-8.

Dep. lt. Cornw. July 1688; ld. lt. Dorset July 1688.4

Associated with: Wardour, Wilts.; Breamore, Hants; and Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Westminster.5

Likenesses: oil on canvas by Sir G. Kneller, sold by Christies, 8 June 1995.

Before the Restoration

Arundell of Wardour represented an ancient Catholic family whose extensive estates were based in the west country around the family seat of Wardour Castle in Wiltshire and extending into Somerset, Dorset and Devon as well as Hampshire and Middlesex. Even before the Civil War these estates were said to have been heavily encumbered.6 During the Civil War he was an active royalist who was so dedicated to the king’s cause that after he recaptured Wardour Castle in March 1644 he destroyed it to prevent it being recaptured and used as a fortress by the rebels. It is possible, though, that he was grateful for the opportunity of doing away with a building that he may by then have been hard pressed to maintain. He subsequently moved the family residence to nearby Breamore on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border, a house owned by the Dodington family. The loss of his two sons as captives to the parliamentarians in 1643, threats to educate them at a dissenting academy in Essex and the need to negotiate their release from the custody of Sir Edward Hungerford as part of an exchange of prisoners in the summer of 1644, provided powerful incentives for him to secure his own rehabilitation with the Cromwellian regime, especially as he must have realized that the royalist cause was lost.7 The threat of forfeiture of lands no doubt also concentrated his mind. An undated petition amongst his papers (probably drawn up as part of the proceedings in the Commons in the summer of 1652) reveals that he claimed to have been ‘only engaged one summer in the first war’ and stressed his good conduct towards the rebels including his ‘good fortune’ in saving the life of his opponent General Edmund Ludlowat ‘the hazard of his own’. After a brief sojourn overseas he had returned to England where he lived ‘in a humble conformity to the government’. Arundell’s good offices towards Ludlow and his subsequent retirement from royalist activity appear to have provided the basis for his successful claim to be exempted from the act authorizing the forfeiture of lands to the Commonwealth.8 Two manors in Oxfordshire that were forfeited were bought back on his behalf by his maternal aunt’s husband, Humphrey Weld.9

Arundell was involved in at least one high-profile scrape during the Interregnum; he was convicted of manslaughter in 1652, after acting as second in a duel which led to the death of his brother-in-law Colonel Henry Compton (he appears to have been acting against Compton in the fray).The House of Lords having been abolished, he was refused privilege and had to fall back on benefit of clergy to save his life.10 He, and his partner in the action, James Brydges, 6th Baron Chandos, were in consequence subjected to the standard sentence of being burnt in the hand and imprisoned for one year.

From the Restoration to the Popish Plot, 1660-78

Arundell took his seat in the Convention on 21 May 1660. He was present on just over 94 per cent of the remaining sitting days of the session prior to the September adjournment (79 per cent of the whole), but was appointed to only two committees. It is possible that he was present on a higher proportion of days than the attendance lists suggest. For example, although his name does not appear in the attendance list that day, on 19 June he was named to the committee to inspect acts and ordinances. Arundell clearly had personal reasons for participating in parliamentary business. On 30 June he obtained orders from the House to enable him to recover goods taken away during the wars. Later that same day he obtained an order specifically authorizing him to search the premises of Colonel Ludlow, Lady Hungerford, and Mr. Stroud, and to break open ‘any doors, trunks, chest, or box, that shall not be opened in obedience to this order’. During the session he also introduced a bill to restore him to his estates. The Journal notes a second reading for the bill on 30 Aug. but this is perhaps an error since no first reading is recorded. Arundell returned to the House following the September adjournment on 6 Nov. and was again assiduous in his attendance, being present on 80 per cent of all sitting days. Either the bill first introduced in the previous session for the restoration of his estates or a similar bill received a second reading on 6 Nov. and the royal assent on 29 December.

At the beginning of 1661 Arundell was noted as one of those peers yet to pay his contribution to the poll bill. He does not seem to have exercised any obvious interest in his native Wiltshire in the elections to the new Parliament. He took his place in the first session on 8 May and was then present for just over 91 per cent of sitting days. On 26 May he was entrusted with the proxy of fellow Catholic, Edward Vaux, Baron Vaux, who had been granted leave of absence at a call a few days earlier.11 On 21 June when the House intended to debate the sanguinary laws against Catholics, Arundell presented a paper from and on behalf of the Catholic community. The House then heard a recital of the statute of Elizabeth concerning the oath of supremacy and ‘fell into a long debate’. When the debate was resumed a week later, on 28 June, the House resolved ‘that nothing hath been offered to this House to move their Lordships to alter any thing in the said oaths’ and referred the question to a select committee. Although Arundell was named to the committee, along with other prominent Catholic peers such as George Digby, 2nd earl of Bristol, and John Belasyse, Baron Belasyse, they were more than outnumbered by conventional Anglicans and Dissenting sympathizers, including Philip Wharton, 4th Baron Wharton, whose notes suggest that he had led the debate against Arundell.12 Nevertheless, on 16 July Arundell was named to the committee to prepare a bill repealing certain parts of the penal laws against Catholics. The committee’s proposals, which would have brought a considerable measure of Catholic relief, were never implemented. According to Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, they failed because of divisions amongst the Catholics; for their part the Catholics blamed Clarendon. The French ambassador agreed with them; so it seems did the king.13 If a pamphlet that was circulated at this time can be identified with Arundell, it suggests that although he wanted toleration for Catholics his support for toleration for Dissenters was decidedly lukewarm, for the writer described Presbyterians as men ‘whose phrenetical [sic], giddy zeal, will be confined within no circle of order’.14

Despite the failure of the committee’s attempts to reform the penal laws, his participation in its work seems to have marked Arundell’s arrival as a parliamentary figure of some note. On 18 July he was named to the committee considering the bill for regulating corporations. Earlier that month he had been thought to be a supporter of the bid by Aubrey de Vere, 20th earl of Oxford, for the great chamberlaincy.

Arundell returned to his seat in the House following the summer recess on 21 November. He may have been suffering from poor health as on 25 Nov., although he was present on the attendance list for that day, he was later noted missing at a call of the House. If he was sick, it did not impair his attendance significantly and he was back in his place the following day. On 24 Jan. 1662 he was named to the committee for drawing up a bill to repeal acts of the Long Parliament. Over the course of the whole session Arundell was named to over 26 committees, including those to consider bills for Sir Edmund Powell and Charles Stanley, 8th earl of Derby. Both bills sought to use the legislative power of Parliament to overturn earlier land sales. Presumably his voice was not always heard at committee, for on 26 Feb. 1662 he entered a dissent to the passage of Derby’s bill, arguing that it was wrong to use the law to overturn a valid and voluntary transaction. He chaired one session of a select committee on 1 Mar. 1662; he then chaired meetings of the committee considering Thomas Peck’s bill on 26 Mar. and 2 Apr., before reporting it on 9 April.15 He was also named as one of the mediators in the bill to confirm the king’s award for composing the differences between John Paulet, 5th marquess of Winchester, and his eldest son Charles Powlett, then styled Lord St. John (later duke of Bolton). On 26 Apr. he was added to the committee considering the distribution of £60,000 among commissioned officers who had served in the former royalist army. It was perhaps an indication of Arundell’s standing at court that some months after the close of the session, in October 1662, Gilbert Sheldon, bishop of London, felt obliged to write to John Cosin, of Durham, warning him that his ‘severity’ against Arundell’s son ‘will not well comply with the lenity of his Majesty’s government’.16

Arundell was present on just under 77 per cent of sitting days in the 1663 session. He was named to the committees for privileges and petitions and to 11 other committees, including that to review and repeal acts of the Long Parliament and for the bill to compose differences between Winchester and his son (in which he was again named as one of the mediators). He was named one of the commissioners for the assessment of peers and was also appointed one of the mediators in the dispute between George Nevill, 11th Baron Abergavenny, and his wife. He held the proxy of the superannuated Thomas Brudenell, earl of Cardigan, from 5 Mar. and that of Marmaduke Langdale, 2nd Baron Langdale, from 12 March. The impetus to hold the proxies was probably related to the debates of that month over the king’s powers in ecclesiastical affairs – a subject about which Arundell’s detailed but undated notes still survive.17 Later in the session Wharton thought that he intended to use the proxies in support of Bristol’s abortive attempt to impeach Clarendon.18

Arundell was present on every day of the short spring session of 1664. He was named to the committees for privileges and petitions and to three select committees considering the bills for transportation, for the sale of Sir William Armine’s lands in Lincolnshire and for the prevention of ‘deceitful, disorderly and excessive gaming.’ His attendance remained high during the following (1664-5 session) when he was present for 81 per cent of sitting days. He was named to the committee for privileges and to five select committees for bills in which he may well have had a personal interest. They related to legislation promoted by fellow Catholic Philip Smythe, 2nd Viscount Strangford [I], by Arundell’s kinsman, Nicholas Tufton, 3rd earl of Thanet, and by his fellow anti-Clarendonian, Sir Robert Carr. One of the remaining two bills concerned a matter of local interest, the navigation of the River Avon. The only bill in which he had no obvious interest was that relating to Deeping Fen, although it is possible that this related to his activity in relation to the estate of Sir William Armine in which a fellow Catholic peer, Belasyse, certainly did have an interest. Arundell held the proxy of William Stourton, 11th Baron Stourton, for the whole of the session. Stourton was not only his Wiltshire neighbour, he was a fellow Catholic and also an opponent of Clarendon.

Arundell attended only two days (though three sittings) of the autumn 1665 session in Oxford. He was then present on 70 per cent of sitting days of the following (1666-7) session during which he was nominated to the committee for privileges. He again held Stourton’s proxy for the whole of the session. He was also named to nine select committees: to naturalize the wife of Denzil Holles, Baron Holles, to prevent atheism and swearing, for Bedford Level (to which he was added on 5 Feb. 1667), for the rebuilding of London and for the estates of Leicester Grosvenor, Henry Mildmay (to which he was added on 8 Jan.) and Sir Seymour Shirley. He was also named to the committee to examine the French merchants and to wait on the king to represent the ‘sad condition’ of his kinsman Edward Somerset, 2nd marquess of Worcester, and his wife.

During the troubled session 1667-9, Arundell was present on 91 per cent of sitting days and was again named to the committee for privileges. He held Stourton’s proxy throughout. On 7 Dec. he was also added to the committees for privileges, and the Journal. The same day he was named to the committee for the bill for banishing Clarendon. Between the opening of the session in October and the end of the year he was named to 13 committees. Some, such as those to consider the Irish cattle bill, the banishing of Clarendon and public accounts were of major political importance; others may have reflected personal interests and alliances. On 9 Dec. he was one of five peers (four of them Catholic) to be added to the committee for Sir William Juxon’s bill. His nomination to the committee for adventurers in the fens may have reflected expertise gained on earlier bills. He was also nominated to the bill for Sir Richard Wiseman: Wiseman had entered Parliament on the recommendation of James, duke of York; he drew up the heads of accusations against Clarendon; and was or was about to become a client of Henry Bennet, Baron (later earl of) Arlington. However, he was also nominated to the committee for the bill for William Palmes, who entered Parliament the following year and subsequently proved to be an anti-Catholic and a supporter of the Test Act. During 1668 he was named to a further 11 committees. Again some, such as the bills for the inspection of acts, additional hearth money and for the prevention of robberies, were of national importance. Others, such as Sir John Weld’s bill, probably had personal significance. Weld was a kinsman by marriage. He was also a Wiltshire neighbour, having bought the manor of Compton Bassett in 1663; he was a prominent Catholic with close ties to the impoverished Catholic peers, Stourton and Thomas Parker, 15th Baron Morley.19

According to James II’s account, Arundell was present at a meeting on 25 Jan. 1669 to discuss what was to become known as the secret treaty of Dover. The reliability of this account has been called into question since although James claimed to have been present himself, another source suggests that he did not learn of his brother’s intentions until the following March.20 Whatever the truth of the matter, Arundell was clearly deeply in the king’s confidence and was entrusted by him to negotiate with the French. His instructions made it clear that secrecy was all-important so that although Arundell travelled to France that autumn for preliminary negotiations, the true purpose of his visit was cloaked by his appointment as one of the commissioners for overseeing the winding up of the estates and arranging the funeral of the Queen Dowager Henrietta Maria.21 He was not able to stay there long for fear of ‘giving a strong jealousy’ that would betray the secret.22

Arundell was back in England in time to attend the opening of the 1670-71 session on 14 Feb. 1670. He was thereafter present on nearly 77 per cent of sitting days. He was named to the committees for privileges and petitions, to the committee to enquire into the plight of poor prisoners for debt and, when its proposals were incorporated in a bill, to the committee responsible for considering the measure. During the course of the session he was also nominated to 20 other select committees, including that to consider ways of preventing the growth of popery (to which all present were nominated) and two committees responding to the problems of poor prisoners. On 17 and 18 Mar. 1670 he entered protests against the passage of the Roos divorce bill and in May he was one of the signatories to the secret treaty of Dover. He again held Stourton’s proxy for the whole of the session. On 24 Oct., the day on which Parliament resumed after the summer recess, he joined with Arlington in introducing his co-religionist, Henry Howard, as Baron Howard of Castle Rising (the future 6th duke of Norfolk).

Arundell again stood sponsor to a prominent new Catholic peer on 30 Oct. 1672 when he introduced Thomas Clifford, as Baron Clifford of Chudleigh. When Parliament resumed in February 1673, attitudes towards Catholics, prompted by opposition to the declaration of indulgence, had hardened. Some moderate Catholics had foreseen just such a reaction. Together with Protestant opponents of the Declaration they blamed the king’s actions on the influence of Arundell and Clifford, who were too ‘furious’ in their pursuit of toleration.23 Yet according to James II’s memoirs, his brother had used Arundell and Clifford as intermediaries in an attempt to persuade him to take the Anglican sacrament at Christmas 1672.24 Arundell was present on nearly 78 per cent of sitting days. He was not named to the committee for privileges, though he was named to that for petitions. On 13 Feb. he was named to the committee for Sir Robert Berkeley’s bill and on 14 Feb. he was named to the committees for Sir Ralph Banks’ bill and for the bill for regulating the multiplicity of attorneys. On 28 Feb. 1673 the Commons voted in favour of an address to the Crown for the suppression of popery and for the preparation of a bill incapacitating all persons from public office who refused the oaths of allegiance and supremacy and who failed to take the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England.25 A week later, on 5 Mar., in what must have seemed to have been a direct and deliberate retaliation, Arundell was named to the committee to prepare a bill of advice to the king in response to the Commons’ complaint over the Declaration of Indulgence. Arundell’s position of trust at court made him an obvious target for the anti-Catholic opposition and on either 15 (according to Grey’s Debates) or 17 Mar. 1673 (according to the Commons Journal) Robert Thomas sought to include ‘the hazard of the king’s person, by having the Lord Arundell of Wardour, Father Patrick, and Colonel Talbot near about him’ included in the Commons’ list of grievances.26 Perhaps significantly, Arundell was named to no more committees that session.

Arundell was present for three of the four sitting days of the autumn 1673 session during which he was named to the committees for privileges and petitions; his attendance dropped to a little under 24 per cent in the 1674 session (nine days of a possible 38), but as he was present at the opening of the session he was again named to the committees for privileges and petitions. He was named to just one other committee – that to consider the bill for encouraging manufactures. His enemies were clearly growing in confidence and began a prosecution against him for recusancy. Arundell was not present on 28 Jan. 1674 when the House ruled that as he was not a convicted recusant he was entitled to privilege and that any indictment brought against him should be brought before king’s bench by a writ of certiorari, in which event it was ordered, ‘the king’s attorney shall enter a non pros. upon the same.’ Belasyse’s proxy was registered to him on 14 Feb. but its use must have been limited as Belasyse was listed as present both on 14 Feb. and the next sitting day, Monday 16 February.

Arundell was present on all but two days of the sittings during the April-June 1675 session. On 29 Apr., although he was present on the attendance list, he was noted missing at a call of the House and he was also noted as one of the Lords yet to take the oath of allegiance. As usual he was named to the committees for privileges and petitions. He was, though, named to no select committees at all. During the bad-tempered autumn 1675 session he was present on all but two sitting days and was again named to the committees for privileges and petitions. He was named to two select committees: for the bills to prevent frauds and perjuries and for Alexander Davies. On 20 Nov. 1675 he voted in favour of the address to the crown to dissolve Parliament as the only solution to the impasse over Sherley v. Fagg.27

During the 1677-8 session Arundell was present on every day. He was named to the committees for privileges and petitions and to 16 select committees, including the committee to enquire into the authorship and publication of the pamphlet Some Considerations upon the Question, whether the Parliament is dissolved by Prorogation for Fifteen Months and for the bills concerning church rates, the prevention of incestuous marriages and Ledbury Vicarage. He held Langdale’s proxy from 10 Mar. 1677 for the remainder of the session. Not surprisingly Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, listed him as triply vile. On 4 Apr. he voted with the majority to find Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke, guilty of manslaughter.

Arrest and imprisonment 1678-84

Arundell attended every day bar one of the May-July 1678 session. He was named to the committees of privileges and petitions and to seven select committees, including that considering the bill to prevent abuses in returning jurors. Arundell was then present for the opening of the autumn 1678 session on 21 Oct., when he was nominated to the committees for privileges and petitions. If he had hoped that his nomination to select committees in the previous session signalled the end of fears of his Catholicism, he was sadly mistaken. He continued to attend the House until his arrest on the evening of 24 Oct. on a charge of high treason, having been named by Titus Oates in information provided to the Commons the previous day as one of the chief conspirators in the Popish Plot. He also featured prominently in the testimony of Oates’s allies. According to Oates, Arundell was to be lord chancellor in the regime to be established after the king’s assassination. Bedloe later further elaborated that Arundell was to be one of five Catholic peers entrusted with the running of the country in the event of York refusing to accept the throne. Another informant emphasized how close Arundell was to York.28 It was perhaps symptomatic both of the standing of the Arundells and of the generalized suspicions that were evoked by the depth of their commitment to Catholicism that Arundell now found himself the third generation of his house to be accused of leading a Catholic plot against the Crown.29

The investigation into the Popish Plot had little difficulty in establishing that Arundell was in frequent contact with Edward Coleman and a search of his papers corroborated Oates’ allegation that Arundell’s grandson was being educated at St. Omer – a piece of information that was almost certainly already well known.30 Exaggerated rumours spread very readily. ‘It is whispered’ wrote Dr. William Denton ‘that opening Lord Arundell of Wardour’s trunks the first thing they lighted on was a draft of an act of Parliament for the suppressing the Protestant religion.’31 On 5 Dec. 1678 Arundell was formally impeached – a move that may well have been designed to wrong-foot the court. It certainly surprised Henry Somerset, 3rd marquess of Worcester (later duke of Beaufort), who had expected a trial in the court of the lord high steward on the indictment that had been returned by the Middlesex grand jury on 3 December.32 The court of the lord high steward, consisting as it did of nominated peers, would have been far more amenable to royal pressure than a trial in the whole House. It could also be held when Parliament was not in session.

On 13 Jan. 1679, as a result of information provided to the committee examining the plot by Stephen Dugdale, Arundell was ordered to be kept a close prisoner. One of his servants, George Messenger, was also implicated as one of the supposed assassins. On 21 Jan. Arundell was examined in the Tower (as were the other imprisoned peers). Asked whether he knew the Jesuit, Ireland, he replied that he did but insisted that he had been in Wiltshire throughout September (when secret meetings were supposed to have taken place) and that having returned to London at the close of September he almost at once set out for Newmarket. Further evidence in his favour was provided by the imprisoned William Howard, Viscount Stafford, who insisted that he was unlikely to be caballing with Arundell as they had been on poor terms since 1654 when Arundell had sided with Henry Howard, who had since succeeded as 6th duke of Norfolk, against Stafford in a family quarrel.33

After this brief flurry of activity, the progress of the impeachment slowed as the Commons had become convinced that it was necessary to deal with the trial of Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby (later duke of Leeds) first. The dissolution of 24 Jan. 1679 would under normal circumstances have put paid to the impeachment process, but on 19 Mar. 1679 the House voted, contrary to former practice, that ‘the dissolution of the last Parliament doth not alter the state of the impeachments brought up by the Commons in that Parliament.’ By early May it was reported that ‘although every body is weary of this plot yet we cannot get rid of it’ and that the trials would go ahead, but when on 27 May 1679 Arundell and the other Catholic peers were brought to the House to take their trials, continuing disputes between Lords and Commons about procedural issues led instead to prorogation.34

In November 1680 with the campaign for exclusion in full swing and as Arundell began the third year of his imprisonment, he was dismayed to learn of a threat to remove his four Catholic servants from him and replace them with Protestants. He petitioned the House to have some consideration for his old age – he was by now 72 – but the petition was not read and the fate of his servants remains unknown.35 In the meantime the case against him continued to build as witnesses came forward prepared to testify that Arundell had offered them money to assassinate the king.36 Nevertheless, Arundell retained considerable influence as exemplified by his correspondence in May 1682 with William Sancroft, archbishop of Canterbury, recommending a candidate for promotion in the church.37 Arundell made several petitions for release and although in one draft speech he claimed to be ‘a weak old man totally ignorant in the law and unskilled in the method and management of a defence of this nature’, his surviving papers demonstrate the contrary. The prospect of martyrdom for the Catholic faith (embraced by Stafford) clearly held no attractions and Arundell put together a careful and well-thought-out case for the defence. He drew up a detailed account of his whereabouts on every day between his departure from London on 29 July 1678 until his arrest. He also compared Titus Oates’ evidence as given on different occasions and produced a list of contradictions. A further extensive set of notes, amounting to a brief for the defence, lists point by point those facts that Arundell sought to prove (including Oates’ homosexuality) and the witnesses that it would be necessary to produce for the purpose. The notes also indicate the questions that he intended to put to Oates and include observations from counsel on issues to be proved at trial and how to prove them. There are several working drafts of the speech that he would make in his own defence, in which he stressed his past service to the Crown and the malice of his accusers (‘such obscure men whose faces I never saw nor whose names I never heard of but upon this occasion’). So complete was his case that it is difficult to believe that Arundell could have been found guilty. Yet he himself was far from confident of the outcome of the trial: the papers also include several versions of his dying speech.38

Arundell’s prolonged imprisonment without trial, punctuated as it was by three dissolutions, raised important constitutional issues about parliamentary judicature in which the ordinary courts were clearly reluctant to meddle, but on 12 Feb. 1684 the then lord chief justice of king’s bench, George Jeffreys, later Baron Jeffreys, probably at the instigation of the government, admitted Arundell and the other impeached peers to bail. Arundell clearly knew in advance that bail would be granted and approached James Butler, duke of Ormond, on 2 Feb. to stand as one of his sureties.39 Perhaps he was refused for on the day his sureties were Charles Sackville, 6th earl of Dorset, Robert Leke, 3rd earl of Scarsdale, John Granville, earl of Bath, and Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon.40 All four were close to the court. Three months later, on 22 May, the House of Lords voted to overturn its previous resolution that impeachments were not vacated by dissolution, thus enabling the impeached peers to be discharged.

From the accession of James II to death, 1685-94

By now 76 years of age and barred from the House of Lords by the Test Act, Arundell might have been expected to have been content to retire into obscurity. Instead his friendship with York propelled him once again into public life. With the duke’s accession as James II in February 1685 his position as a trusted Catholic elder statesman was assured. In 1686 Arundell was in receipt of letters patent that enabled him, in common with other Catholics, to attend court without taking the oath of supremacy.41 In July of that year he was one of four Catholic peers to join the Privy Council. It did not go unnoticed that all four had been under suspicion at the time of the popish plot. He was also a member of the ‘particular cabinet council’ that met under the auspices of Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland, every Friday to decide what matters should be debated before the king.42 Rumour suggested that Arundell would be promoted still further. In November he was tipped to become deputy lord lieutenant of Ireland, and in December lord treasurer.43 By January it had become clear that he would be appointed lord privy seal.44 His role within government, however, was clearly contentious. On 28 Apr. 1687 he was named as one of the commissioners to prorogue Parliament, as were Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough, and Belasyse, whilst, equally controversially, some protestant peers in the Privy Council were left out of the commission. Some thought it fortunate that the three Catholic peers chose not to attend the House for the prorogation as it ‘would have occasioned some debate if they had been present or come to the House of Lords.’45 During 1688 Arundell was one of the regulators of corporations and in June 1688 he presented an address from English Catholics thanking James II for his Declaration of Indulgence.46 He was also present at the birth of the prince of Wales. The gossips referred to Arundell and Father Petre as Sunderland’s Catholic counsellors.47 Arundell was more attuned than Father Petre to the political turmoil being created by James II’s catholicizing policies, though, and was listed amongst the ‘moderate Catholic lords of large estate and great influence’ who advised moderation over the case of the Seven Bishops in the summer of 1688.48

With the deterioration in the political situation Arundell was ‘stepped aside’ in December 1688.49 Not surprisingly he took no further part in government after James II’s flight. It must have been John Arundell, 2nd Baron Arundell of Trerice, rather than Arundell of Wardour who was intended in a list compiled of those peers who had voted against the motion that James had abdicated and the throne was vacant.50 Arundell of Wardour’s last public act appears to have been in May 1691 when his evidence about the date on which a warrant in favour of Roger Palmer, earl of Castlemaine [I], was sealed established that Castlemaine might have a legitimate claim to a grant of plate worth some £4,000.51 Arundell’s reputation as a staunch supporter of the now exiled king kept him under perpetual suspicion until his death shortly before his 87th birthday in December 1694.52 Having settled his estates during his lifetime (possibly in a debt trust) his will was a short and simple one leaving generous legacies to two servants, £500 to his younger son Henry and the remainder of his property to his heir, Thomas Arundell, who succeeded as 4th Baron Arundell of Wardour.


  • 1 WSHC, 2667/4/39.
  • 2 Collins, Peerage (1715 edn) ii. 62.
  • 3 TNA, PROB 11/427.
  • 4 CSP Dom. 1687-9, pp. 226, 229.
  • 5 Survey of London, iii. 85-89.
  • 6 CSP Dom. 1638-9, pp. 475-7; VCH Wilts. v. 132-54.
  • 7 CJ, iii. 131, 488, 553, 573.
  • 8 WSHC, 2667/22/4/2; CJ, vii. 157, 197, 204, 206.
  • 9 JMH, xxvi. 193-4.
  • 10 HMC Leeds, 84; HMC Portland, iii. 201.
  • 11 PH, xxxii. 249.
  • 12 Bodl. Carte 81, ff. 183, 185-8.
  • 13 Seaward, Cavalier Parlt. 170.
  • 14 A Letter from a Person of Quality … Occasioned by the Present Debate upon the Penal Laws [1661].
  • 15 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/1, pp. 154, 214, 226.
  • 16 Durham UL (Palace Green), Cosin letter book 1b, n91.
  • 17 Add. 65139, ff. 40-41.
  • 18 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 224.
  • 19 Hist. County of Wilts. ed. D.A. Crowley, xvii. 146-59; VCH Wilts. iii. 90; Essex RO, D/DB/T15/27, 32; TNA, C22/172/3, C5/632/89, C6/92/47.
  • 20 JBS, i. 64; Life of James II, i. 440-2; Hartmann, Charles II to Madame, 241.
  • 21 Add. 36916, f. 143; CSP Ven. 1669-70, pp. 111, 116.
  • 22 Add. 25138, ff. 56-57.
  • 23 Dublin City Lib., Gilbert ms 227, ff. 33-34.
  • 24 Life of James II, ii. 482.
  • 25 CJ, ix. 259-60.
  • 26 Grey, ii. 110; CJ, ix. 270.
  • 27 Add. 35865, f. 224.
  • 28 Kenyon, Popish Plot, 93-94, 140.
  • 29 EHR, xxv. 126-7.
  • 30 HMC Lords, i. 8-9; 13th Rep. pt. vi. 113.
  • 31 Verney ms mic. M636/32, W. Denton to Sir R. Verney, 28 Nov. 1678.
  • 32 HMC Beaufort, 75; PA, HL/PO/JO/10/1/381/6r.
  • 33 Bodl. Rawl. A136, pp. 2, 49, 116, 120.
  • 34 WSHC, 2667/23/50, T. Wyndham to ?, 13 May 1679.
  • 35 HMC Lords, i. 41.
  • 36 HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 487-8; Luttrell, Brief Relation. i. 60.
  • 37 Bodl. Tanner, 35, f. 13.
  • 38 WSHC, 2667/25/1.
  • 39 HMC Ormonde, i.58.
  • 40 Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 300-1; HMC Lords, i. 45.
  • 41 WSHC, 2667/3/53.
  • 42 HMC Stuart, vi. 3; Life of James II, ii. 74-75.
  • 43 Verney ms mic. M636/41, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 3 Nov. 1686; HMC Rutland, ii. 111.
  • 44 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 42, f. 95; see WSHC, 2667/3/54, for letters patent of appointment.
  • 45 NAS, GD 406/1/3117.
  • 46 Thynne pprs. 22, f. 77; Luttrell, i. 405.
  • 47 UNL, PwA 2103.
  • 48 Add. 34510, f. 123.
  • 49 Verney ms mic. M636/43, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 6 Dec. 1688.
  • 50 CUL, Add. 4879, f. 324.
  • 51 Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 232-3.
  • 52 HMC Kenyon, 297, 300, 369-70.