HASTINGS, Theophilus (1650-1701)

HASTINGS, Theophilus (1650–1701)

styled 1650-56 Ld. Hastings; suc. fa. 13 Feb. 1656 (a minor) as 7th earl of HUNTINGDON

First sat 20 Oct. 1673; last sat 26 May 1701

b. 10 Dec. 1650, 4th but o. surv. s. of Ferdinando Hastings, 6th earl of Huntingdon and Lucy (1613-79), da. of Sir John Davies of Englefield, Berks; educ. private (tutors, Jean Gailhard 1657-60, John Davys 1660-66, Howard Beecher 1666-?71). m. (1) 19 Feb. 1672 (with £4,000) Elizabeth (1654-88), da. of Sir John Lewis, bt. of Ledstone, Yorks., 2s. (1 d.v.p.), 6da. (5 d.v.p.), 1 (2) 8 May 1690 Frances (d.1723), da. of Francis Leveson Fowler of Harnage Grange, Salop., wid. of Thomas Needham, 6th Visct. Kilmorey [I], 2s., 5da. (1 d.v.p.).2 d. 30 May 1701; will 18 Apr. 1698-13 Mar. 1700, pr. 19 June 1701.3

Capt., gent. pens. 1682-9;4 PC 28 Feb. 1683-24 Dec. 1688; commr. claims at coronation of James II 1685,5 ecclesiastical causes 1687-8;6 c.j. in eyre, south of Trent 1686-9; 7 groom of stole to Prince George of Denmark, later duke of Cumberland, 1687-9.8

Custos rot., Leics. 1675-80, 1681-9; recorder, Leicester 1684-9;9 steward, honour of Leicester 1685-9;10 ld. lt., Leics. 1687-9, Derbys. 1687-9.11

Col., regt. of ft. (later 13th Regt) 1685-9.12

Associated with: Donington Park, Leics. (to 1677); Gerard Street, Westminster (from 1677).13

Likenesses: mezzotint by Robert Williams, aft Sir Godfrey Kneller, c.1687, NPG D30851.

Youth and earliest days in the House, 1650-1676

Theophilus Hastings’s distant ancestor William Hastingswas made Lord Hastings in 1461 for his services to Edward IV. He was granted the manor of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, which became the base of the family’s influence in the midlands for the next several centuries. George Hastings, 3rd Baron Hastings, a follower and companion of Henry VIII, was created earl of Huntingdon in 1529 and in succeeding years he helped the king to enforce and implement the Reformation settlement in the midlands. From that time the family became associated with the ‘puritan’ strand of protestantism. Theophilus was born, by his own account, on 10 Dec. 1650 into a troubled family, wracked by debt and with its principal seat at Ashby-de-la-Zouch sacked by Parliamentary troops while being used as a royalist garrison by Henry Hastings, later Baron Loughborough, the younger brother of Theophilus’s father the 6th earl. Ferdinando died in February 1656 leaving his five-year-old heir an estate reduced to £900 p.a. From this point the late earl’s redoubtable and highly educated widow Lucy, the daughter of the former attorney-general of Ireland Sir John Davies and the notorious prophetess, Lady Eleanor Davies, became the main force in the new earl’s life, managing her own estates in Ireland efficiently and ensuring that sales her husband had made of land during the Interregnum were confirmed by parliamentary statute. Indeed Huntingdon began his experience of the House of Lords early, for in one of his many draft autobiographical accounts he reminisces that ‘this winter [i.e. 1661-2] it was that a bill was brought into the Lords house of Parliament to confirm the sales of Loughborough, Alton, etc[.] My mother attending the committees of both houses carried me (though not 11 years of age) several times with her to declare my consent to the passing of the bill into an act which was effected’. The bill to confirm the late earl of Huntingdon’s sales of some of his lands was first read in the House on 5 Dec. 1661, and committed nine days later. It was not actually discussed in committee until 16 Jan. 1662, where the crux of the matter was whether these sales, effected through an act passed by Parliament in 1653, benefited the new earl. On 8 Feb. the dowager countess insisted in committee that the bill was to the advantage of her young son, who otherwise she feared could be involved in suits over the lands for many years to come, and it was probably at this time that the young Huntingdon signified his own consent to the bill. Richard Sackville, 5th earl of Dorset, reported the bill on 14 Feb., it was passed by the House three days later and received the royal assent at the end of the session on 19 May 1662.14 The dowager countess also took over the young earl’s education in political affairs so that he could later take his rightful place among the country’s governors, employing a multitude of newsletter writers to keep him informed of events in Westminster throughout the 1660s.15 Another important figure in Huntingdon’s early life and education was his uncle Loughborough. As early as September 1660, when Huntingdon was still only nine years old, Loughborough, recently appointed lord lieutenant of Leicestershire, promised him that he would resign the office over to him ‘so soon as you are capable to serve so good and great a king‘. But when Loughborough died in January 1667 Huntingdon, the sole beneficiary of his will, was still too young to take up the office and it was given instead to John Manners, 8th earl of Rutland, the head of a family rising in Leicestershire politics at the expense of the indebted Hastings family. Huntingdon was later to deeply regret Loughborough’s passing: ‘This noble person’s death was very much to my loss who, though by his will left me heir to all his estate which by his sudden death was so perplex that it did not prove any advantage to me, but his friendship and advice would have contributed very much to my first appearing in the world’.16

Huntingdon was ready to ‘first appear in the world’ when he reached his majority at the end of 1671, but at that time there was little scope for him to do so in the House of Lords, as Parliament had been prorogued at the end of April 1671 and was to remain so until February 1673. Whilst the political world became increasingly concerned with the effects of Charles II’s secret treaty with France—the third Anglo-Dutch war, the Declaration of Indulgence and the stop of the Exchequer—Huntingdon looked to more domestic and personal concerns. On 19 Feb. 1672, after negotiations for a match with Lady Mary Langham, a daughter of Sir James Langham, had fallen through, Huntingdon married Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir John Lewis. She brought with her a portion of £4,000 and the promise of the inheritance of land in Yorkshire worth £600 p.a.17 He also gained by this match a brother-in-law and friend, Robert Leke, Baron Deincourt (later 3rd earl of Scarsdale), who abducted and married Elizabeth’s underage sister Mary at about the same time. Huntingdon and his wife lived in the surviving Hastings family home of Donington Park on the Leicestershire-Derbyshire border from May 1672 but throughout this period he continued to receive news from his many correspondents in the capital.18 Huntingdon made his first political inclinations clear when, through the offices of one of these correspondents, Benjamin Woodroffe, a canon of Christ Church, Oxford and chaplain to James Stuart, duke of York, he registered his proxy with York on 11 Feb. 1673 for the session of Parliament which had begun, after the long prorogation of almost 22 months, on 4 February. 19 The Journal records that on 15 Feb. 1673 Huntingdon ‘sat first as a peer in Parliament, by descent, by his proxy’, the only known occasion where this unusual practice, a first sitting done by proxy, is noted in the Journal. The controversial session was adjourned on 29 Mar., when the Test Act against Catholic office-holders received the royal assent, to 20 October. After York had refused to take the Test in June 1673 and resigned his position as lord high admiral, Huntingdon may have been anxious to disassociate himself with a prince so clearly declaring himself a Catholic, and he vacated his proxy by appearing in the House himself in person on 20 Oct. 1673, when the tumultuous session was prorogued by the king. So efficient was his network of newsletter writers that he received a dispatch from one describing the events of that day, though he himself had been there.20 Huntingdon proceeded to sit in all four meetings of the short, and ill-tempered, session of 27 Oct. to 4 Nov. 1673, but did not, however, attend any of the following three sessions in 1674-5. Instead he entrusted his vote to representatives of the court. He registered his proxy with the lord privy seal Arthur Annesley, earl of Anglesey, on 14 Jan. 1674 for the session of the first two months of 1674 and the lord chancellor, Heneage Finch, Baron Finch (later earl of Nottingham), held his proxy for both sessions of 1675, registered on 29 Apr. and 25 Oct. 1675 respectively. Finch assured Huntingdon that his proxy would ‘be used to promote the king’s service’, as he did when he used the proxy to vote against the address to the king calling for a dissolution of the Parliament on 20 Nov. 1675.21 In December 1675 the king rewarded Huntingdon for his loyalty to the court interest with the office of custos rotulorum in Leicestershire, made vacant by the death of Basil Fielding, 2nd earl of Denbigh, earlier that year.22 Huntingdon tried to use his family’s long-standing interest in the borough of Leicester to promote the candidacy of Finch’s younger son Heneage Finch, later earl of Aylesford, for burgess of the corporation in a by-election in the first days of March 1677. He wrote to the mayor personally in favour of Finch and even promised to spend £800 on the election and to appear in person in the borough with the candidate. When the corporation was resistant to this influence, Huntingdon threatened to issue a writ of quo warranto against its charter. Ultimately, with the support of Rutland and his son John Manners, styled Lord Roos (later duke of Rutland), John Grey, a younger son of Henry Grey, earl of Stamford, and brother of the parliamentary diarist Anchitell Grey, was selected for the borough.23

Court follower, 1677-9

Huntingdon sat in the House again on 3 Mar. 1677, just over two weeks after Parliament had reconvened for business after another long prorogation of over 15 months. On his first day he was named to the committee to consider the bill to prevent the increase of new buildings in London. The notes for a speech on this bill among his papers suggests that, after several years of rural retreat, he had a deeply cynical attitude to the metropolis, seeing it as the ‘rendezvous of desperate seditious persons and the seminary of treasonable practises, an attitude he was to retain well into the 1690s as he forbade his son and heir to live in the capital out of fear of its corrupting influence. 24 He also spoke against the bill to secure the Protestant religion through the education of the royal children by tutors chosen by the archbishop of Canterbury, which he saw as a derogation of the prerogative rights of the king both as a king and a father. He later dissented from the resolution to engross this bill on 13 Mar. and again when the bill was passed two days later. He prepared a speech against the bill for the more effectual conviction of papists, arguing strongly that there were already sufficient statutes and penalties in place to deter recusants and discourage conversions to Catholicism: ‘What are your fears, what are your apprehensions? Why will you make the world imagine such danger from an handful of men, who are loaden with penalties, who are under the terrors of death and excluded from all that can let them in, into places of honour or profit?’. He also made notes for a speech in favour of the bill to prevent clandestine marriages.25 Having come to almost three-quarters of the sitting days of this first part of the session before the adjournment of 16 Apr. 1677, Huntingdon was not present for any of the meetings when the House reconvened briefly in the period 21-28 May. He had made suitable preparations by registering his proxy on 9 May once again with Finch. With such positions taken in the House, and such proxy recipients, it is not surprising that Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, considered the earl ‘triply vile’ at this time.

In his account of his own life Huntingdon notes that in early December 1677 he permanently ‘removed with his family to London’ (regardless of his suspicions of the capital expressed earlier in the year) and that ‘making his residence in and about that town [he] gave his constant attendance in the several parliaments’.26 This is corroborated by his increased attendance levels; he came to all but two of the meetings held in the first five months of 1678, after a series of adjournments had postponed it for close to a year. He prepared a strongly-worded speech against the bill to prevent the growth of popery, which preoccupied the House for much of early March 1678, showing once again his view that this measure levied excessive and vindictive penalties on a small and harmless portion of the population. He even demanded in the House that the bill’s supporters produce evidence that the number of Catholics in England had increased since the 1673 Test Act and moved for the rejection of the bill. He also spoke on 15 Mar. against the Commons’ address urging the king to declare an ‘immediate’ war on France, arguing that it was foolish to act so precipitously when England was so clearly militarily unprepared.27 The notes he took on 9 Mar. on the bill to raise money for the war through a poll tax show his concern with the breach of the rights of the peerage he saw in this measure and the final bill placed Huntingdon himself as one of the commissioners to assess and collect the poll money from his peers.28

Indeed much of his attention throughout 1678 was devoted to matters involving the privilege and honour of the peerage, and these concerns may have sprung from Huntingdon’s own intense interest in the history and genealogy of individual noble families (including of course his own), as suggested by his ongoing correspondence and collaboration with William Dugdale, who looked to Huntingdon as a leading patron and indeed colleague. Judging by a brief marginal annotation in the manuscript Journal, on 12 Apr. 1677 he requested the clerk of the Parliaments to supply him with a copy of the order, based on a report of 6 Apr. from the Committee for Privileges, concerning the proper precedency of eldest sons of younger sons of peers, and his personal papers are mostly concerned with such antiquarian and genealogical interests.29 He certainly showed his knowledge of obscure aspects of medieval peerage law and nobility in his contribution to the debate of early March 1678 on the petition of John Frescheville, Baron Frescheville, to claim a more ancient barony than his 1665 creation through a writ of summons granted to a distant ancestor in 1297 which had descended to him through the female line. Huntingdon pointed out that ‘If it be objected that this barony is not an original and therefore cannot descend lower than one family, most of the baronies of England will be destroyed’, before going on to give copious examples of titles that had been transferred among families through female inheritance.30 His concern for the rights and privileges of the nobility also led him to defend in late March 1678 the right of the violent Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke, to be tried by his peers rather than by a grand jury. On 4 Apr. 1678 he was one of only 18 peers who found Pembroke not guilty of either murder or of the lesser offence of manslaughter.31 There are also among his papers scrappy notes for a speech against the bill to allow the trustees of Brien Cockayne, 2nd Viscount Cullen [I] to sell land at Elmsthorpe, in Huntingdon’s own county of Leicester.32

He was greatly exercised throughout the session of May-July 1678, when he was present at all but seven of the meetings, by the damage to the dignity of the peerage he saw in the petition of Robert Villiers, claiming the viscountcy of Purbeck. Villiers was the son of Robert Villiers or Danvers, a bastard, who had voluntarily extinguished his title by a fine at the Restoration. Huntingdon felt (and may have so spoken in the House) that ‘From the times of Henry III to this day I dare be bold that if this [cause?] be admitted to be good there has not been so great a blow to the nobility of England as this would be’, and on 7 June 1678 he entered his dissent against the House’s decision to consider the matter as a whole, instead of debating the individual points raised by it.33 On 5 July he also dissented from the decision to ascertain the relief due to Darrell in the cause of Marmaduke Darrell v. Sir Paul Whichcot, and there are among his papers brief notes for a speech on this matter.34 In the debate of 8 July he supported the petition of Louis Duras, 2nd earl of Feversham, claiming the portion promised to him in his marriage settlement, regardless of his inability to fulfil the conditions placed on him owing to the premature death of both his wife and father-in-law. He argued that ‘I cannot see but my Lord Duras has done all that lies in him for the performance of these articles and if so it is very hard he should suffer so extremely by his own default’.35 In other matters, on 19 June he was appointed to manage a conference to inform the Commons of the king’s message that Louis XIV was refusing to vacate the Spanish Netherlands until the Swedes were restored to the places taken from them.

Huntingdon attended all but two of the meetings in the following session of the last three months of 1678. On its third day, 23 Oct., he was placed on the large committee assigned to examine the evidence of the Popish Plot and Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey’s murder. His notes of the testimony heard regarding the plot suggest that he was devoting much of his attention to this matter and seems to have believed the allegations. He made notes of the allegations of the queen’s complicity in the plot and on 28 Nov. was appointed a reporter for a conference on the Commons’ motion to remove her from Whitehall.36 On that day he was also added to the committee to examine and interrogate the prisoners under suspicion of involvement in the Plot. He was also involved in framing the legislation against Catholics of this session. Huntingdon voted on 15 Nov. against the motion that the proposed declaration against transubstantiation in the test bill should be under the same penalties as the oath of allegiance.37 In his notes for a speech which he may have delivered at the debate on 20 Nov., he argued in favour of the proviso exempting the duke of York from the Test. He felt that the bill was dangerous and unprecedented enough already, as by it the peers parted ‘with their inheritance, inheritances of the most valuable sort, by a new and unheard of example’. Nothing further, he felt, would be gained for the safety of the nation by also excluding York, for ‘it will make so ill a sound at home and abroad, and thereby his royal highness will be deeply touched in honour’.38 Between 13 and 16 Dec. he was chairman of the select committee considering the bill to prevent children of Catholics from being sent abroad to be educated in foreign seminaries, and he reported the amended bill to the House on 17 December.39 On 26 Dec. he voted to insist on the House’s amendment to the bill for the disbandment of the army which would place the funds raised in the exchequer and was appointed to the committee to draw up the House’s justification for their adherence. The following day he voted against committing Thomas Osborne, earl of Danby (later duke of Leeds), pending his impeachment hearings.40 The increasing attacks on the lord treasurer led to the prorogation of Parliament just a few days after this vote, and its eventual dissolution on 24 Jan. 1679.

Country peer and Exclusionist, 1679-81

In the days preceding the opening of the new Parliament on 6 Mar. 1679 Danby’s assessment of Huntingdon went from considering Huntingdon a likely supporter to marking him as an opponent. The lord treasurer’s political antennae were unusually alert, for between the time of the dissolution of the Cavalier Parliament and the convening of the first Exclusion Parliament Huntingdon changed his political colours to the point where throughout 1679-81 he was as violent a partisan for Exclusion and the succession of James Scott, duke of Monmouth, to the throne as he had previously been for the rights of York, ‘loyal Catholics’ and Danby. Perhaps as a political opportunist Huntingdon felt that the wind was blowing in favour of the country opposition. He may also have felt betrayed by the court when, after having made an application to York to replace the ailing Rutland as lord lieutenant of Leicestershire in July 1677, insisting on his family’s traditional influence in that county, he found himself usurped by Rutland’s son and heir, Lord Roos, who was appointed to that position and continued in it as the 9th earl (and later duke) of Rutland well after his father’s death in 1679.41 This may have also contributed to Huntingdon’s decision to decamp from Leicestershire to the capital at the end of 1677. Huntingdon certainly appears to have been keeping a close look at the composition of the Commons, perhaps to gauge the potential mood at Westminster, for there survives among his papers a printed list of the Members elected for the Parliament of spring 1679, with marginal annotations made by Huntingdon next to each name, probably with a view to classifying each as either court or country Members.42 Huntingdon himself most likely had a role in the return of Sir Henry Beaumont, in the country interest, for the borough of Leicester in February 1679.

Huntingdon had the zeal of a convert and attended every meeting of the first Exclusion Parliament in the spring of 1679 and was named to all but five select committees established. He was now at the forefront of the attack against Danby. His notes show that he was paying careful attention to the debate of 18 Mar. 1679 which resolved that Danby’s impeachment proceedings of the last days of the previous Parliament were still in force and under consideration in the new Parliament.43 When the Commons requested the House on 21 Mar. to commit Danby pending his impeachment trial a debate arose whether the House could comply with the Commons seeing as they had the day before resolved to give the lord treasurer a week’s freedom in order to submit his answers to the articles of impeachment. Both his own notes and those of a contemporary show that in the debate Huntingdon argued, from Jacobean precedents (Lionel Cranfield, earl of Middlesex, and Francis Bacon, Viscount St Albans) for the commitment of the lord treasurer, as by not committing him they were prejudging the case of the Commons.44 The following day he was appointed a manager to consult with the Commons regarding the king’s royal pardon of the former lord treasurer and the proposed bill to bar Danby henceforth from the king’s presence or any office. Danby himself changed the stakes by, at the urging of the king, going into hiding to avoid prosecution. Both houses developed separate bills to force Danby to surrender himself, the Lords merely threatening him with banishment in case he did not comply, the Commons with the more serious alternative of attainder. The Commons rejected the House’s bill out of hand and when their bill of attainder was brought up on 2 Apr. there was a move by some of the House, principally Danby’s supporters, to treat it similarly. In the ensuing debate Huntingdon argued that the Commons bill should nevertheless be committed to a committee of the whole House. The following speaker in this debate, Thomas Colepeper, 2nd Baron Colepeper, also moved that it be committed, but with directions to the Committee ‘to leave out the attainder’, and indeed in the committee of the whole the content of the bill was so altered through amendments as to make it effectively another bill for Danby’s banishment. 45 On 4 Apr. Huntingdon voted for this altered bill to pass the House and then was appointed a manager for the conference at which it was presented to the Commons. Four days later he was involved in two further conferences as the Commons made clear its opposition to the lesser penalty the House envisaged for the Danby’s non-compliance. Huntingdon himself reported the results of the conference held on the afternoon of 8 Apr. and then attended three further conferences on 10 and 12 April. The Commons ultimately had the stronger argument, and on 14 Apr. Huntingdon voted to agree in extending the date by which Danby was to surrender himself and for the passage of the bill as originally envisaged by the Commons, with attainder as the threatened punishment.

Danby surrendered himself to black rod almost immediately after the bill’s passage by the House. From that point Huntingdon was closely involved in the discussions, and disputes, between the Houses on the pending trials of the impeached former lord treasurer and the five Catholic peers in the Tower and he kept among his papers manuscript accounts of the proceedings and debates of this Parliament.46 On 23 Apr. 1679 he chaired and reported from the committee of the whole House on the bill for regulating the trial of peers and the following day he was appointed to attend a conference to discuss the pleas and answers submitted by the Catholic peers. On 2 May he signed the protest against the resolution not to amend the bill for banishing popish recusants from London, as he felt the bill’s provisions could adversely affect Protestant nonconformists in the capital. There are also among his papers what appear to be scrappy notes on this bill and its debate.47 On 7 May he delivered a ‘set elaborate speech’ against the right of the bishops to vote in capital cases, arguing, using the precedent of Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, who had been formally condemned by a fellow bishop, that ‘a bishop is a priest and so comes under the canon [law]. A priest cannot be of common jury [and] the proposition hold the bishop not to judge here’.48 He was also a manager for a conference on 8 May concerning the supply bill to raise money for the disbandment of the army, which saw the House depart from its amendments in order to see the bill passed. On that same day he was assigned to manage a conference regarding the House’s decision to try the five Catholic peers before Danby and to request the king to appoint a lord high steward to preside over the trials. After it was reported that the Commons disagreed with the House’s decisions and requested the establishment of a joint committee of both houses to discuss this matter further Huntingdon was one of the country peers who dissented from the House’s peremptory rejection of this proposal, both on 8 May and again two days later when the Commons insisted on it with more urgency. After the protest he was appointed to manage a conference in which the contents of Danby’s petition to the House were to be conveyed to the Commons. He took the chair of another committee of the whole House on the bill for reforming the trial of peers on 12 May. By this time the two Houses were strongly disagreeing over the issue whether the bishops, as lords spiritual, could take part in Danby’s trial. On 13 May Huntingdon took part in the protest against the resolution that the bishops had a right to stay in the House and over the following days he took hurried notes on the continuing debates on this matter.49 The House having eventually relented to the Commons’ insistence and established a committee of both Houses on the trials, Huntingdon on 23 May subscribed to the protest against the decision to instruct the House’s committee members to tell their counterparts from the Commons that the Lords would not shift from their decision regarding the bishops’ place in the trials. In the last week of May he continued to vote with the country peers against attempts to block the Commons’ prosecution of Danby. He protested against the instructions to the House’s committee to insist to the Commons that the Catholic peers be tried before Danby (23 May); was a manager for a conference in a last-ditch attempt to ‘preserve a good correspondence’ between the houses (26 May); and entered his dissent, again, from the House’s continuing insistence that the bishops had a right to sit in the House during capital trials (27 May). With that final protest the deadlocked Parliament was prorogued and eventually, and surprisingly, dissolved on 12 July.

During the long interim of May 1679-October 1680, as the king continuously postponed meeting Parliament, Huntingdon became one of the inner circle of the aristocratic fringe of the country opposition. In the newsletters and political gossip of the time his name appears frequently in tandem with Shaftesbury, Anthony Grey, 11th earl of Kent, Ford Grey, 3rd Baron Grey of Warke, William Howard, 3rd Baron Howard of Escrick, Henry Herbert, 4th Baron Herbert of Chirbury, and James Brydges, 8th Baron Chandos, all of whom were notorious as ‘discontented lords’. This group of ‘opposition’ peers met regularly in the Swan Tavern in Fish Street in the winter of 1679, in order to devise a petition to the king to ensure a speedy sitting of the next Parliament. On 1 Dec. Huntingdon was at a dinner at the lord mayor’s house, at which were also present Shaftesbury, Grey of Warke, and most of the other members of the Swan Tavern group. An unexpected, and unwelcome, guest was the lord chief justice William Scroggs. After Huntingdon had proposed a toast to the duke of Monmouth, Scroggs replied with a toast to the duke of York, to which Huntingdon added ‘and to the confusion of popery’, which caused some consternation among the assembly.50 A week later, on 7 Dec., Huntingdon, as the one among them with the highest precedence, headed a delegation of nine lords to present the king with a petition from sixteen peers calling for the speedy summoning of Parliament. They included, apart from himself and the six peers mentioned above, William Russell, 5th earl (later duke) of Bedford; Gilbert Holles, 3rd earl of Clare; Henry Grey, 2nd earl of Stamford; William Fiennes, 3rd Viscount Saye and Sele; Denzil Holles, Baron Holles; and George Booth, Baron Delamer. Charles II gave the group a frosty reception, ironically remarking that he wished others took as much care and concern with the welfare of the nation as those peers did.51 He then proceeded to postpone Parliament for the following several months and personally punished Huntingdon by removing him from both the Leicestershire and Derbyshire commissions of the peace and divesting him of his office as custos rotulorum of Leicestershire.52 In June 1680 Huntingdon and his fellows took another tack, as they, in a great show of force and numbers, submitted to two separate Middlesex grand juries indictments of York as a recusant, and both juries were hurriedly dismissed before they could make their presentments.53

When the new Parliament did eventually meet on 21 Oct. 1680, Huntingdon was an assiduous attender, coming to all but nine of the meetings and named to all but two select committees. On 28 Oct., a week after Parliament was first convened, he reported the amendments made by the committee of the whole House to the bill for the regulation of the trial of peers, and on 8 Nov. was among those managers appointed by the House to deliver to the Commons in conference transcripts of papers recently received from the clerk of the Privy Council concerning the ‘Popish Plot’ in Ireland. His notes on the course of the debate on 15 Nov. 1680 on the Exclusion bill are among the only, if not the only, record we have of the arguments made by the different peers ranged for and against this bill.54 He appears to have contributed to this debate himself at length in strongly urging the second reading of the bill, arguing that ‘Government is of divine right, but the forms, qualifications and limitations are human and various’, and to support his contention of the human, and thus changeable, nature of the succession he produced, yet again, several precedents from English history, largely from the Wars of the Roses and the Tudor period, when the succession to the throne was altered by parliamentary statute.55 Huntingdon voted for the bill and registered his protest against the decision to reject it at its second reading. A week after the defeat of the exclusion bill he voted in favour of establishing a joint committee with the Commons to consider the state of the kingdom. On 7 Dec. he found William Howard, Viscount Stafford, guilty, while 11 days later he entered his name in the dissent from the House’s rejection of the Commons’ proviso to the bill for regulating the trial of peers which would exempt from its provisions those peers impeached by the lower house, such as the peers still incarcerated in the Tower.56 He joined in the attack on the lord chief justice, William Scroggs, dissenting from the resolutions of 7 Jan. 1681 not even to put the questions whether he should be committed or suspended from his duties pending his impeachment hearings. Three days after these tumultuous proceedings Parliament was prorogued, and shortly after dissolved on 18 January.

Huntingdon was one of the 16 peers who signed the petition of 25 Jan. 1681 requesting Charles II not to summon the forthcoming scheduled Parliament to Oxford, but to maintain it in Westminster, close to the Whig heartland of the city of London, instead.57 Huntingdon had already used his interest in Leicester to promote the election of Sir Henry Beaumont for the previous two Parliaments. He threw his weight behind him again in the elections of February 1681, but also joined with Shaftesbury and ‘others of that association’ in trying to defeat the candidate backed by Henry Hyde, 2nd earl of Clarendon, in the borough of Christchurch in Hampshire, with which Huntingdon had no connection.58 In the days preceding the Parliament at Oxford Danby still considered Huntingdon one of the peers who would be against his petition for bail. Yet he did advise his son Edward Osborne, Viscount Latimer, his agent at Parliament, to present Huntingdon and the earl of Clare, James Cecil, 3rd earl of Salisbury and John Egerton, 2nd earl of Bridgwater, with compliments and his letters requesting their assistance to his cause, suggesting that he saw cracks in the united front of opposition against him now that the cause of exclusion was seriously weakened.59 Huntingdon only arrived on the fourth day of the week-long session and does not seem to have taken part in the proceedings on Danby’s bail request. On 26 Mar. 1681 he did follow the opposition in dissenting from the House’s decision to try Edward Fitzharris by ordinary course of common law rather than by the impeachment brought against him from the Commons, and he also reported from a meeting of the committee of examinations which was still trying to dig up evidence and perpetrators in the Popish Plot.

Later testimony given in the wake of the Rye House Plot in 1683 consistently named Huntingdon as one of those involved in tentative plots to capture the king and set up a ‘Long Parliament’ in the wake of the dissolution of the Oxford Parliament.60 That was largely unknown at the time but contemporaries in 1681 were more or less agreed that Huntingdon was ‘well-hung Balaam’ mentioned fleetingly and coupled with ‘cold Caleb’ (whom most thought was Grey of Warke) and ‘canting Nadab’ (universally assumed to be Howard of Escrick) among those ‘lords, below the dignity of verse’, ‘kind husbands’ and ‘mere nobles’ who were part of ‘Achitophel’s’ (i.e. Shaftesbury) circle manipulating ‘Absalom’ (Monmouth) in John Dryden’s satirical poem, Absalom and Achitophel, attacking Shaftesbury and the campaign for exclusion.61 Dryden’s line clearly indicates a distinguishing physical characteristic of Huntingdon which, despite the attempts of Victorian critics to deny or gloss differently, contemporaries of a satirical bent were more than happy to comment on forthrightly. Another manuscript satire of 1681 on the earl and his fellows describes, ‘Huntington with his long tool/ Not as his mark of man but fool/ Whose tail and follies make his life/ Only useful to his wife’.62 Gilbert Dolben wrote to William Trumbull about Huntingdon in January 1686 (when the earl was being attacked for very different reasons than in 1681) that ‘he is a fellow whose abilities are all placed below the girdle and one would think nature took from his brains to enlarge his privities’.63

Tory and courtier, 1681-8

The attacks of 1681, and the failure of the Exclusionist movement, may have led Huntingdon to perform in November 1681 his second radical switch of allegiances in less than three years and by the end of that year was once again firmly in the court’s orbit and favour. As the nascent Whig movement was weakened by the failure of Exclusion, the dissolution of Parliament and the purges in the commissions of peace, Huntingdon must have begun to feel that he had backed the wrong horse, as he saw his own local influence ebb away. In his brief autobiographical account, Huntingdon is coy about the period 1677-81, when he was so active in Parliament and during which he was briefly a leading member of the Whig opposition, but he positively revels in his re-entry into the king’s favour:

The earl after this making his residence in and about that town [London] gave his constant attendance in the several Parliaments of King Charles the second, but coming very seldom to the Court, it was intimated to him that if he waited on the king he should be well received by his majesty, and accordingly he had the honour to kiss the king’s hand at Whitehall 21 October 1681 and received many gracious expressions of his favour, and from that time had access to him on all occasions.64

His own explanation of his change of heart, given, supposedly, when he attended the king on 21 Oct. was that he ‘had by experience found, that they who promoted the bill of exclusion were for the subversion of monarchy itself’. The court had made an important convert and on 15 Nov. 1681 Huntingdon was reinstated custos rotulorum of Leicestershire in the place of Basil Fielding, 3rd earl of Denbigh, who voluntarily resigned the post to the king’s new supporter.65

Huntingdon’s betrayal caused great anger among the Whigs and a brief print war flared up between Huntingdon and three of his former colleagues—Grey of Warke, Herbert of Chirbury and Monmouth—over the comments Huntingdon had reputedly made to the king concerning the exclusionists’ desire to subvert monarchy and which had been printed in Thompson’s Publick Intelligence of 25 October. The three Whig peers claimed to be satisfied by Huntingdon’s denials upon his honour that he had ever said these words, but demanded a published retraction from him to counter the damage done. Huntingdon refused to do this, insisting that his word should be sufficient, but did extract from Thompson a printed apology for being too free with publishing the earl’s reputed words. This was still insufficient for the other peers, who on 2 Nov. published their own defense and apology, with obscure aspersions on Huntingdon’s truthfulness. Huntingdon was prompted in turn to print his own broadside emphasizing his truthfulness, and making vague threats to the other peers for accusing him of slander. The matter became more ill-tempered when two of Huntingdon’s kinsmen, Knyvett and Ferdinando Hastings, tore down the Whig peers’ sheet from where it was posted up in Peter’s Coffeehouse in Covent Garden, leading to a series of challenges and counter-challenges between them and Herbert of Chirbury, which only the king’s intervention prevented from descending into bloodshed.66

This marked the end of Huntingdon’s brief flirtation with the Whigs and, never one to do things by halves, Huntingdon now became as much a zealot for the court interest and the Tory reaction as he had ever been for exclusion and Monmouth. The king took advantage of this new convert and showered Huntingdon with the offices and honours the young man evidently felt were his due. In June 1682 he was, for a consideration of £4,500 which was raised by mortgage from his wife’s Yorkshire estates, appointed captain of the band of gentleman pensioners, replacing his brother-in-law Scarsdale in this office.67 On 28 Feb. 1683 he was sworn to the Privy Council, a role which he appears to have taken seriously, for among his papers are notes he took at council on the withdrawal from Tangiers and on the Rye House Plot.68 His status continued to rise at court, and in December 1684 he was considered one of the candidates to take over the lieutenancy of Derbyshire after the death of William Cavendish, 3rd earl of Devonshire, though Scarsdale got the post instead.69

Despite this, Huntingdon was active in local affairs in Leicestershire for the court as custos rotulorum of the county and through his family’s traditional influence in the borough of Leicester. The borough’s loyalty to the crown was suspect, as there was a large Dissenting population, and three of the four members for Leicestershire (two for the county and two for the borough) returned for the Exclusion Parliaments in 1679-81 had voted in favour of Exclusion in May 1679, including Huntingdon’s own former client Beaumont. From September 1684 Huntingdon worked closely with his chaplain the Reverend Dr John Gery, whom he had preferred to the Leicestershire livings of Swepstone and Stony Stanton, and who was later to be appointed archdeacon of Buckingham, to persuade the corporation to surrender their charter to Charles II, less than 20 years since they had received a new charter in 1665. Even though Leicester’s common hall had voted in October 1684, with only four dissenting voices, to surrender the charter voluntarily, the mayor and aldermen found numerous reasons for delaying the official surrender of the charter to the king, reflecting perhaps a more seated reluctance to part with it. This was much to the irritation of Huntingdon, who was keen to show his usefulness to the crown and also intent to be made recorder of the borough in the new charter. Only after the threat of a writ of quo warranto did the borough’s recorder Nathan Wright (later the lord keeper) hand the old charter to the king on 2 November. During the rest of that month Huntingdon, from his house on Gerrard Street, maintained a correspondence with Gery in Leicester discussing the composition of the new remodelled and ‘loyal’ corporation. In the new charter issued on 10 Dec. 1684 Huntingdon replaced Wright as recorder, although he maintained the future lord keeper as his deputy to placate local opinion, and the purge of the corporation was not extensive, although it was reduced in size from 72 to 36.70

Reign of James II, 1685-8

By his own account Huntingdon was present in the royal bedchamber at the time of Charles II’s death on 6 Feb. 1685, suggesting (if true) that he was in the inner circles of the court.71 Huntingdon remained heavily involved in borough affairs throughout the following weeks, during which he received frequent letters from the mayor of Leicester, Thomas Ludlam, telling him of the activities of a number of traitors in the borough and informing him of the unanimous election of two court supporters in the parliamentary elections in March: Sir Henry Beaumont, Huntingdon’s previous client, and Thomas Babington, who was now Huntingdon’s preferred candidate.72

In the capital Huntingdon was well set to become a leading member of James II’s new regime. He was continued in his place on the Privy Council and helped to proclaim the new king throughout London. He played a prominent part in James II’s coronation, as a commissioner on the court of claims, captain of the gentlemen pensioners and cupbearer at the coronation banquet.73 When the new king’s Parliament first met on 19 May 1685 Huntingdon attended all but two of the meetings and was left off only two of the select committees established on his days of sitting. On 23 May 1685 he was named to the select committee considering another version of the bill to prevent the clandestine marriage of minors and he chaired the committee and reported from it with amendments on 3 June. The following day he chaired a committee of the whole House which further considered these amendments. Throughout early June he also frequently chaired the select committee considering the bill for the trial of murders at sea.74 It was during this session that a dispute in which he had been engaged since 1682 over the disposition of his father-in-law’s Yorkshire estate came to a head.75 On 25 June 1685 Bernard Granville, younger brother of John Granville, earl of Bath, submitted a petition to the House complaining that Huntingdon was claiming privilege in order to obstruct a cause between Granville and Elizabeth Lewis, the countess of Huntingdon’s aunt who claimed a protection from the earl. Huntingdon put in his answer on 2 July, but before the House could consider the case more fully Monmouth’s rebellion caused the king to end the sitting that day by adjourning Parliament to 4 August.76 Huntingdon himself was requested by the king to lead a regiment, but it is unlikely that he had raised enough men to take part in Monmouth’s defeat at Sedgemoor on 6 July. The regiment, though, was later incorporated into the new standing army, with Huntingdon as colonel, on 20 July 1685.77 In late October 1685 his influence in Leicester borough was made formal by his appointment as steward of the honour of Leicester, an office in the duchy of Lancaster long held by members of his family, but which had been given to Robert Bruce, earl of Ailesbury, in 1667 when Huntingdon was still a minor.78

Shortly after Parliament reconvened on 9 Nov. 1685 it was ordered that Granville’s petition against Huntingdon’s privilege would be taken up again and on 14 Nov., after a fracas involving Huntingdon’s threats to Granville’s counsel, both the earl and Granville agreed to waive their privilege. For the next several years this dispute over Sir John Lewis’s estate, in which Huntingdon was joined by his brother-in-law and co-heir Scarsdale (whose wife had died in 1684), continued to rumble on in the lower courts.79 Among the earl’s papers is a draft, dated 24 Sept. 1685, for a speech to introduce a bill to repeal the 1678 Test Act which, he claimed, ‘was a bill hurried into a law sent you by the then House of Commons to deprive your lordships of the most essential point of peerage, limitations to your seats in Parliament, by imposing oaths and tests which we nor our fathers ever knew before’, even during the days of Elizabeth I and James I, who, he pointed out, had much more to fear from rebellious Catholic subjects than the present king.80 Huntingdon may have been the peer delegated to introduce this bill to the House when it reconvened, but if so he never had the opportunity, as Parliament was prorogued after only sitting for a week in the face of the Commons’ intransigence against James II’s catholicizing policies.

Huntingdon was at the centre of James’s government for the remainder of his reign. The Jacobite loyalist Thomas Bruce, 2nd earl of Ailesbury, later recorded in his own memoirs, with some gloating, Huntingdon’s change of heart from his days as an exclusionist in 1679-81. At the time of the sentencing of Titus Oates, whose claims he had once promoted, ‘the earl of Huntingdon owned he had been too credulous (and I am almost sure he was one of the guilty lords at the Lord Stafford’s trial [i.e., those who had found Stafford guilty]), but that now he was convinced that the prisoner was one of the worst and most perjured men’.81 Huntingdon was also one of the select number of loyal peers chosen to try his former colleague Henry Booth, 2nd Baron Delamer (later earl of Warrington), on 14 Jan. 1686. Here, though, he joined his other peers in unanimously acquitting the Whig peer.82 Two days after the trial Huntingdon was appointed chief justice in eyre for lands south of the River Trent, replacing in this position his second cousin, Philip Stanhope, 2nd earl of Chesterfield, his local rival in Derbyshire, 83 He has been termed a ‘Whig collaborator’ of James II by some writers, but it is questionable whether he was ever a committed Whig in the first place, or whether his brief flirtation with the exclusionists was more an instance of self-serving opportunism than an attachment to the ideology. If he co-operated with James II because he appreciated the idea of religious indulgence to nonconformists (as many Whig collaborators did), it was Catholic rather than protestant nonconformists whom he wanted to see liberated. Huntingdon’s religious allegiances at this time and after are murky, but he veered so dangerously close to sympathy for Catholics and catholicism to convince many that he had indeed converted. There were rumours as early as 22 Jan. 1686 that Huntingdon ‘bended his left knee in the king’s chapel’ and in April it was reported to Sir Ralph Verney that Huntingdon, with James Cecil, 4th earl of Salisbury, and others, had turned Catholic, although Verney’s correspondent admitted ‘the truth [of this] I know not’.84 At the time of the Revolution, the countess of Huntingdon strongly urged her husband to make a visible show of taking the Anglican sacrament ’to convince the world what your principles are’, and Morrice’s comments of the same time clearly show that Huntingdon was popularly seen as a Catholic.85 However, a later family hagiographer of the earl insisted that he was always a faithful son of the English Church, to the point of being a ‘constant and bountiful benefactor’ to the non-juring clergy after the Revolution.86 Huntingdon’s religious attitude may be exemplified by his approach in April 1693 to Anne Belasyse, daughter of the strongly Catholic John Paulet, 5th marquess of Winchester, and the dowager baroness of James II’s Catholic favourite John Belasyse, Baron Belasyse, for a match between his son, George Hastings, styled Lord Hastings (later 8th earl of Huntingdon), and one of her daughters. Huntingdon insisted to her that ‘neither my son or myself can be prejudiced with violence or animosity towards those of your communion’, but by instancing many examples of the successful marriages of daughters of Catholic families to Protestant sons, he clearly saw himself as a member of the Church of England.87

Huntingdon’s acceptance of, indeed sympathy towards, the king’s religion was an unusual step for one who came from such a famously puritan family and when Laurence Hyde, earl of Rochester, having already resigned as lord treasurer in December 1686, was also removed from his place on the commission for ecclesiastical causes in January 1687, James II looked to the compliant Huntingdon to take his place. Huntingdon’s commission was dated 2 Jan. 1687 and he first took his seat on the commission eleven days later.88 After the Revolution his role in this discredited body was seen as one of the darkest marks against him, and became the principal reason why he was exempted from the Act of Indemnity in 1689-90.89 For this reason he drafted a retrospective defence of his role in the commission, claiming that, insufficiently versed in the law to have known that the body had been prohibited by previous statutes, he merely trusted the false advice of the king’s leading councillors and that, in addition, he was a reluctant member. Yet a separate table he or a secretary drew up showing his dates of attendance at meetings of the Commission shows that out of the 44 meetings from 13 Jan. 1687 to the commission’s last sitting on 30 Sept. 1688 Huntingdon was definitely present at 27 (while 9 are not accounted for), hardly suggestive of unwillingness. He insisted that he had had nothing to do with the suspension of Henry Compton, bishop of London, from his office, which was true, as that had been effected before he had joined the Commission, and he further emphasized, with some accuracy, that he had not been involved in the actions taken against the fellows of Magdalen College, that he had stopped attending meetings after the decision to criminalize ministers who refused to read the Declaration of Indulgence was taken, and that he only returned for the final meeting on 30 Sept. 1688 in order to vote to reinstate Compton in his bishopric.90

Huntingdon also tried to help further James II’s policies in the localities, and especially the Midlands. Morrice recounts a story from February 1687 when Huntingdon dissuaded James from appointing a gentleman, highly commended by two of the king’s other advisers (one Catholic and one Protestant), to the Staffordshire commission of the peace because that man had been bred a Catholic but had recently turned Protestant ‘and he thought no such gentleman whatsoever fit’ to serve the king.91 On 11 Aug. 1687 Huntingdon was appointed lord lieutenant of Leicestershire in the place of his rival Rutland. That winter he was also made lord lieutenant of Derbyshire in the place of Scarsdale, although letters patent confirming this appointment were not issued until 23 Dec. 1687, one day after he also replaced Scarsdale as groom of the stole and a gentleman of the bedchamber to Prince George of Denmark, later duke of Cumberland.92 Certainly from late 1687 he took a particular care in posing the ‘three questions’ to his officials in the counties, who did not answer as he would have wished, and in reshaping the commissions of the peace and other offices to suit the king’s purposes.93 In 1688 he also extruded troublesome members of the Leicester corporation and replaced them with new men, to the point where 33 of those explicitly named in the charter of 1684 were forced out by mid-1688.94 Another concern of Huntingdon at this time was the obvious opposition within his counties to the reading of the Declaration of Indulgence and he relied on his chaplain John Gery, now archdeacon of Buckingham (and mooted for translation to the bishopric of Lincoln), to ensure that the king’s wishes were complied with, despite the disdain with which his efforts were met.95 Having already engineered the surrender of Leicester’s charter in 1684, he managed on 15 Sept. 1688 to extract a new charter for the city, which radically purged the corporation of officials who had not been co-operative with James’s policies, dispensed future office-holders from the requirement of the oaths and declarations to protect the Church of England and established a new restricted franchise which Huntingdon hoped would help the king’s electoral chances. By that time, plans for the projected election to a new Parliament were fully underway and an agent of Huntingdon’s wrote to tell him that the new franchise was likely to ensure the election of the lord lieutenant’s candidates, Sir Henry Beaumont, and Sir William Villiers, ‘persons of undoubted loyalty and fidelity’. On 13 Sept. 1688, as the new Leicester charter was being prepared, Robert Spencer, 2nd earl of Sunderland, indicated to Huntingdon the king’s approval of these candidates, as well as his other choices: Sir John Gell and Cornelius Clarke for the county of Derby, and for the borough George Vernon (who led the celebrations in Derby for the birth of the Prince of Wales) and Sir Simon Degg.96 The Leicester charter with its new franchise never took effect, as events overtook it and James II, in a last-minute bid to claw back some popular support in the localities on 17 Oct. 1688 revoked all changes made to the city’s liberties since 1679.97 At that time he also tried to protect his supporter Huntingdon from any future prosecution by granting him a pardon for all treasons, or acts which could be construed as treason, performed during his reign.98

Revolution and Convention, 1688-9

At the landfall of the Prince of Orange at Exeter on 5 Nov. 1688 Huntingdon rushed south from the Midlands to join his regiment at Plymouth, where it was then garrisoned and commanded in his place by his lieutenant-colonel and kinsman Ferdinando Hastings. Hastings and the town’s governor the earl of Bath had already colluded to declare for William of Orange and surrender Plymouth to him and on 28 Nov. Bath captured and imprisoned Huntingdon when he was having dinner at the governor’s house, while the rest of the garrison declared for William.99 The rest of December was taken up by the strenuous efforts of Huntingdon’s wife and servants to secure his release from imprisonment as James’s regime crumbled around them. The countess relied on her connections with Princess Anne, in whose household she served, and succeeded in getting vague promises from John Churchill, Baron Churchill (later earl and duke of Marlborough), which made her think of a possible match between one of his daughters and their son Lord Hastings. She was also insistent that Huntingdon write to the prince of Orange assuring him of his loyalty and that he give proof of his attachment to the English Church by publicly taking the Anglican sacrament, even if the minister had to visit him in his cell.100 Yet it was only the death of the countess, so busy on his behalf, in childbirth on 24 Dec. 1688, which sprung the earl from imprisonment, as he was released on 26 Dec. to make arrangements for her funeral.101

He was sufficiently recovered from this tragedy to attend the Convention from its first day on 22 Jan. 1689. Although Clarendon was to remark of its important first days when the disposition of the crown was determined, that Huntingdon ‘had all along voted against the king’, in reality the earl had a distinctly idiosyncratic and inconsistent record.102 Clarendon records that Huntingdon was absent for the vote on 29 Jan. 1689 in favour of a regency, but the Journal marks him as present for that day and he probably voted against the regency.103 Huntingdon was absent for the next important vote on 31 Jan., but was back in the House on 4 Feb. when he voted against agreeing with the Commons on the use of the words ‘vacant’ and ‘abdicated’ and was then appointed to the committee to draw up reasons justifying the House’s decision. The following day he was made a manager to present these reasons to the Commons in conference.104 On 6 Feb. the vote to agree with the Commons in the use of the controversial words came up again, and this time Huntingdon was among those former loyalists who, as Thomas Bruce, 2nd earl of Ailesbury, termed it, ‘went off’ and voted to agree with the Commons in the use of the words because, as Huntingdon himself explained in a speech, the force of the Commons’ arguments in favour of the words had changed his mind and had persuaded him that the word ‘vacant’ did not imply that the throne was elective.105 There may however be a less lofty explanation for Huntingdon’s sudden change of heart, as years later, in May 1694, Ralph Montagu, earl (later duke) of Montagu, wrote to William III setting forth among the reasons why he should be further elevated in the peerage, ‘the service I did, when there was such opposition made by the Jacobite party, in bringing Huntingdon, Nathaniel Crew, bishop of Durham (and 3rd Baron Crew), and my Lord Ashley [recte Jacob Astley, 3rd Baron Astley, an obscure peer who died in March 1689] to vote against the regency and [for] your having the crown, which was passed but by those three voices and my own’. It is almost certain that Montagu is here referring to the vote of 6 February, as both Astley and Crew had first sat in the Convention the previous day, even though he is wrong with his numbers, as the contents won the vote with a majority of twenty.106

Immediately following the offer of the crown to William and Mary on 14 Feb. 1689 Huntingdon’s attendance in the House was intermittent for a period. He became more involved in the House from mid-April as he took on a number of roles. He was busy as a chairman of and reporter from the committee for privileges. On 18 Apr. he reported on the dispute between James Annesley, 2nd earl of Anglesey, and his wife over whether Lady Anglesey had breached her husband’s privilege by writing to one of his tenants concerning the non-payment of a rent charge owing to her. The committee left the decision of whether this was a breach of privilege to the House itself, which appointed a committee of four peers, one of whom was Huntingdon himself, to try to effect a reconciliation and agreement between Anglesey and his wife.

Huntingdon quickly became involved in the proceedings surrounding the bill for abrogating the oaths to James II and the House’s controversial amendment which aimed to allow William III to dispense chosen members of the clergy from the requirement of swearing the new oaths, a measure which Huntingdon undoubtedly would have supported, judging by his later actions. On 20 Apr. he was appointed a manager for a conference at which the Commons spelled out their objections to the amendment and Huntingdon was later that day placed on the committee to draw up the House’s arguments in defence of it. Two days later, on 22 Apr., he was a manager for two conferences on this matter where he took detailed notes on the arguments presented by Sir John Treby for the Commons and Daniel Finch, 2nd earl of Nottingham, for the House. The following day the House gave in and agreed to the bill as envisioned by the Commons, without a special royal dispensation for members of the clergy.107 After the report of the free conference on 22 Apr., Huntingdon reported from the committee for privileges with the important resolution that the exorbitant fine of £30,000 imposed by King’s Bench on William Cavendish, 4th earl (later duke) of Devonshire, in 1687 for his assault at court on Thomas Culpeper, and Devonshire’s subsequent commitment, was ‘a great violation of the privileges of the peers of this realm’. He reported from the committee for privileges on another matter on 1 May as well. On 8 May 1689 he was a manager for the conference held that day on the bill for speedy and effectual disarming of papists. He supported the House’s demand for a clause in the bill for an additional poll which provided for the peers’ separate assessment by commissioners of their own appointment. He managed and reported from a conference on this amendment on 27 May 1689, and four days later he was a manager for a further two free conferences on this matter, in which the two houses continued to disagree.108 At the end of May he also voted not to reverse the judgments against Titus Oates, and on 10 July he told (against the Whig Thomas Grey, 2nd earl of Stamford), in a division on whether to postpone discussion of part of the preamble of the bill to reverse the judgments against Oates.

Despite Huntingdon’s vote in favour of William of Orange’s claim to the throne, he was too heavily implicated in some of the more unpopular measures of the previous regime and retribution followed, as throughout the spring of 1689 he was stripped of all his offices. The worst blow came on 1 July 1689 when the Commons, considering the bill of indemnity recommended to them by William III, decided to exempt from its provisions of amnesty all those who had acted in the late commission for ecclesiastical causes, including Huntingdon.109 Perhaps dispirited by this development Huntingdon left the House on 13 July and registered his proxy with Ailesbury two days later; Ailesbury used it to vote in favour of the House’s punitive amendments to the bill to reverse the judgments against Oates.

In a list compiled by Carmarthen (as Danby had become) between October 1689 and February 1690 Huntingdon was classified as one of the supporters of the court, to be approached by John Sheffield, earl of Mulgrave (later duke of Buckingham and Normanby). Huntingdon came to just over three-quarters of the meetings when the Convention gathered again in late October 1689 and was named to thirteen committees, including the committee of inspections established on 2 Nov. 1689 to determine those responsible for the political trials and quo warranto proceedings of the previous reigns—an investigation which could cut very close to home.110 Other than taking notes on the testimony of John Hampden before this committee and telling for the majority contents in a division on a legal appeal and once chairing a brief meeting of the committee considering the bill on small tithes, there is not much evidence of other involvement in the business of the House that winter.111 His attendance level was even lower, at 53 per cent, in the first, spring, session of the new Parliament elected in 1690. On 8 Apr. 1690 he registered his dissent from the bill recognizing William and Mary as rightful and lawful monarchs and confirming the acts of the Convention.112 The royal bill of grace, directly presented to the House by William III in order to avoid the delays which had been holding up the parliamentary bill of indemnity, was, after it was determined that a royal grant of pardon needed only a single reading and a single vote, unanimously accepted by the House on 20 May 1690 and received the royal assent three days later. As in the previous parliamentary bill, Huntingdon was purposely excluded from pardon and Morrice reported that the earl ‘made a speech by way of complaint, as if he had done nothing to be so dealt with’, while Clarendon recorded that the bill was only able to pass after Huntingdon had withdrawn his insistence to be heard by counsel.113

Under William III, 1690-1695

Undoubtedly his loss of office and exemption from the Act of Grace encouraged him to withdraw from parliamentary business, but his new marriage, solemnized on 8 May 1690, to the young Frances Needham (née Leveson Fowler), widow of Thomas Needham, 6th Viscount Kilmorey [I], also played its part, especially as she quickly started bearing children and, as Huntingdon’s later family biographer explained it, ‘after [the Revolution] he lived chiefly at Donington Park, the better to provide for his children by his second lady’.114 Furthermore he was becoming increasingly embroiled in Jacobite associations. As early as January 1690 he was receiving letters telling him of news from St Germain and of the late king’s efforts to reclaim the throne.115 His most noticeable activity in the 1690-1 session, where he attended four-fifths of the meetings, was his defence of the Catholic 4th earl of Salisbury. On 6 Oct. 1690 he voted for the discharge of Salisbury and Henry Mordaunt, 2nd earl of Peterborough from their imprisonment in the Tower; on the following day he stood standing bail for Salisbury for £5,000; he then worked on devising arguments to defeat the bill to prevent him from cutting off the entail of his estate.116 Huntingdon was apparently seen as a benefactor for distressed Catholic supporters of the late reign as on 20 Oct. the imprisoned Roger Palmer, earl of Castlemaine [I], James II’s former ambassador to the Papacy, wrote to him requesting him to stand as his bail as well 117 On 30 Oct. Huntingdon was discharged from his bail for Salisbury and on that same day he subscribed to the protest against the act clarifying the powers of the admiralty commissioners. In other matters in this session Huntingdon chaired on 22 Nov. 1690 a number of select committees on private bills and on 24 Nov. was able to report one of these bills, that for securing the portion of Elizabeth Lucy and for ensuring that she was raised as a Protestant, as fit to pass with amendments. On 11 Dec. he also chaired and reported from committee of the whole House on the bill against exporting or melting down gold and silver and was named to the consequent sub-committee established to draw up two clauses for this bill. Huntingdon served as a teller on the last day of 1690 in a division in the committee of the whole House on whether a proviso be made part of the public accounts bill. The Whig Delamer, now made earl of Warrington by William III, stood as his opposite teller.118

He was present for only nine meetings at the beginning of the 1691-2 session, which began on 22 Oct. 1691, and left the House for the session on 14 November. During his last few days of attendance he was busy as a reporter of bills from select committees—a bill for naturalization (10 Nov.), a bill to take away benefit of clergy (11 Nov.) and a private estate bill (13 Nov.). Away in the country he received disturbing news that on 9 Dec. 1691 a young man named Fuller, previously a page to Mary of Modena, had made copious allegations of a Jacobite plot, which implicated Huntingdon as well as Scarsdale, Sidney Godolphin, Baron (later Earl) Godolphin, George Savile, marquess of Halifax, and several others.119 Huntingdon did not take his brother-in-law’s advice to come to town to defend himself but did register his proxy with John Ashburnham, Baron Ashburnham, on 23 Jan. 1692, an interesting choice as Ashburnham was a supporter of the Revolution.

On 16 Apr. 1692 Huntingdon received a letter from James II (signed ‘J.R.’ and with the royal seal, he noted) in which the late king requested his presence, as a member of his Privy Council, at the confinement of Mary of Modena in order to testify to the birth of the child (as Huntingdon had done with the prince of Wales in June 1688).120 The earl forwarded James’s letter to the secretary of state the earl of Nottingham on 18 Apr. in order, he said, to request a license from the queen to travel to France according to James’s request. He was quickly summoned to London where he was instead closely questioned by the Privy Council why he dared to make such a request at a time of heightened fears of a French invasion.121 On 5 May 1692 he and Marlborough, among other suspected Jacobites, were seized and incarcerated in the Tower.122 While many of his fellow prisoners were released on bail on 15 June, Huntingdon was kept in prison because the radical Whig firebrand and conspirator Aaron Smith had made out an affidavit claiming that there were the requisite two witnesses who could accuse him of treason, but that this evidence was ‘not ready’ yet.123

In mid-August Huntingdon was finally bailed from the Tower.124 He was, however, again overlooked when many of his fellow prisoners were discharged on the first day of the new law term in October. One of the first items of business the House heard when it reconvened on 4 Nov. was the complaint of Huntingdon, Scarsdale and Marlborough that they had been imprisoned and were now under bail in time of Parliament, in breach of their privilege.125 This complaint on 7 Nov. prompted a debate over the initial commitment of these peers on such tenuous evidence and Nottingham found himself on the defensive as he justified it, arguing that there was ‘an irreproachable witness’ against Huntingdon, although he remained unwilling to name him. The matter was referred that day to the committee for privileges which was empowered to see the terms of the original warrants for the arrest of the peers. Following the report from the committee, that matter was debated over 9-10 Nov. in the committee of the whole House, during which the House concentrated its attention on the long confinement of Huntingdon solely on the basis of Smith’s suspect and vague affidavit, which could only produce one sworn witness with positive information of Huntingdon’s treason; another could only produce evidence of a ‘circumstance tending to treason’. At the same time the senior judges averred, after much pressing from the House, that one sworn witness to fact and another providing merely circumstantial evidence was sufficient to remand a suspect in custody, a statement which Halifax and others thought ‘was a doctrine for which the late reign was much cried against by some’. After a further ‘fierce debate, which lasted several hours’ the committee of the whole resolved on 14 Nov. that, in compliance with the Habeas Corpus Act, no peer committed for treason could be refused bail unless there were two witnesses who could be produced that law term and sworn in court to give evidence against him. The following day the House resolved to address the king for the immediate discharge from bail of Huntingdon and his companions, but this was forestalled when on 18 Nov. the House was informed that Huntingdon and the other peers had been set at liberty by royal decree.126

Now a free man, on 29 Dec. 1692 Huntingdon was placed on the committee to consider precedents for the Commons’ unusual action of presenting an address praising the action of Edward Russell, earl of Orford, the previous summer to the House’s reporters in a free conference which had been ostensibly been convened to discuss other naval matters. This committee was assigned to hold a conference with the Commons on this matter on 4 Jan. 1693, but Huntingdon was not there to attend it, for he left the House on the last day of 1692 and registered his proxy with Scarsdale on 3 Jan. 1693, who used it to vote in favour of the place bill on that same day. Huntingdon returned to the House on 9 Jan. and over the following days signed a number of dissents: from the decisions of 17 Jan. that Sir Charles Knollys had no claim to the earldom of Banbury; from the motions of 19 Jan. not to refer to the committee for privileges, and then to reject outright, the House’s amendments to the land tax bill; and then from the resolution of 31 Jan. not to proceed further with the trial of Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun, that day. Huntingdon found Mohun not guilty four days later. He was absent again from 17 Feb. to 6 Mar. 1693, when Mulgrave held his proxy. On 6 March he signed another dissent from the unwillingness of the House to share with the Commons the information it had received concerning the perilous condition of Ireland. On 7 Mar. he laid before the House his complaint of a breach of privilege against John Beesley who, during the time of Huntingdon’s imprisonment, had distrained the cattle of several of his tenants. Three days later he was a reporter for the conference on the duchy of Cornwall bill and helped to draw up reasons why the House insisted on its amendment. 127

Despite, or perhaps because of, his brush with royal power in 1692, Huntingdon became even more deeply involved in Jacobitism thereafter and from April 1693 James II’s secretary of state John Drummond, earl of Melfort [S], after having finally learnt the true identity of the ‘Mr Courtney’ who had been addressing supportive letters to St Germain, began a regular correspondence with their true author, Huntingdon.128 It may have been at this time (if not before) that the former king began to address letters directly to his former supporter in England, using the ciphered name ‘Mr Morton’.129 James certainly delegated Huntingdon as one of his agents to promulgate and explain his Declaration of 1693 to any sympathetic recipients, and the earl recommended to Melfort that in future similar declarations should be couched ‘shorter and so less particular’.130 Huntingdon was also included in a list of Jacobite peers (including his constant proxy partner Ailesbury) who in 1694 sent an agent to St Germain with professions of their loyalty and an optimistic account of England’s readiness to accept the return of the king.131

Huntingdon was absent at Donington Park for the first two months of the session beginning on 7 Nov. 1693, but a clerk of the House, John Relfe, supplied him weekly with copies of the minutes of meetings throughout November and December and accompanied his first packet of minutes with a blank proxy so that the earl could register his proxy with Ailesbury.132 Huntingdon finally came to the House himself on 10 Jan. 1694 and proceeded to sit for another 43 meetings of the House, leaving it on 10 Apr., two weeks before it was prorogued. On 8 and 12 Feb. he was a manager for two conferences on the delays in dispatching the intelligence regarding the sailing of the Brest fleet to the allied admirals the previous summer. He voted to reverse chancery’s dismissal of the bill of the earl of Montagu in Montagu v. Bath on 17 February. On 3 and 5 Apr. he was involved in committees and conferences concerning the private bill of William Stawell, 3rd Baron Stawell, regarding the House’s objections to a clause inserted by the Commons.

He did not attend any of the sittings of the following session of 1694-5. He was marked as absent at a call of the House on 26 Nov. 1694 and yet his name was not included when the House ordered on 3 Dec., following a subsequent call of the House, that letters be sent to the absent members demanding their presence by 18 December. This may have been because the House was already aware that Huntingdon was making arrangements to register his proxy, which was duly entrusted on 4 Dec. to Ailesbury. Nevertheless, when 18 Dec. came Huntingdon still felt the need to address a letter to the House asking that his absence be excused, as he was represented by proxy. There was still some controversy surrounding this excuse and the House ordered that a debate concerning proxies be held after Christmas, although this appears to have been quickly overtaken by the news of the death of Queen Mary.133

Final years, 1695-1701

Although Huntingdon eventually came to only 35 per cent of the meetings of the 1695-6 session, the first of William III’s second Parliament elected in October 1695, he was among the most engaged members in the House in December 1695 when a whole series of issues around the ‘state of the nation’ were being debated. On 3 Dec. 1695 he was chairman of the committee of the whole House considering the state of the nation and the detailed notes he took of the debate concerning the crisis in trade and the coinage reveal the concerns of many members of the House. Huntingdon was once again in the chair the following day when the committee of the whole resolved to address the king calling for the prohibition of clipped coin. He was placed on the committee assigned to draw up the address and in this role was made a manager of the conference on the address held on 5 December.134 On that same day he also chaired, and took notes on, the committee of the whole which heard the evidence of the customs commissioners and the East India merchants against the Scottish East India Company, whose privileges as guaranteed in the statute establishing it the previous summer were thought to damage English trade, and he reported that further evidence would be heard in another meeting.135 The 6th saw him again as chair and note-taker of a committee of the whole discussing many matters regarding trade, the army (and its foreign-born officers) and the fleet and he was appointed to the committee to draw up an address regarding these matters. 136 He chaired the committee of the whole on 9 Dec. when it considered the Scottish East India Company in particular. His notes suggest that it was a long debate largely concerning the involvement of English merchants and investors in the Scottish company.137 Three days later he reported that the committee of the whole had decided that an address should be drawn up to show the king ‘the great prejudice, inconveniencies, and mischiefs’ the establishment of the Scottish East India Company caused to the trade of the kingdom, and he was subsequently placed on the committee to draft this address. On the 13th, the committee of the whole considered the papers the English merchants had submitted, with Huntingdon again in the chair, and he was later placed on the select committees to further examine these papers and to draft points for a conference on the address against the Scottish company.138 On 14 Dec. he was a manager for the conference which agreed upon the address to the king against the Scottish East India Company and he chaired another meeting of the committee of the whole on the 20th which decided that further legislation should be drafted to discourage English subjects from investing in the Scottish Company.139 He chaired a meeting on this matter the following day as well, for which his brief notes survive.140 On 23 Dec. he finally turned his attention to another matter and chaired (and as usual took notes on) two meetings of the committee of the whole dealing with the clauses to the treason trial bill setting a time limit to prosecutions and ensuring that a lord would be judged by the body of his peers.141

Huntingdon left the House on 27 Dec. 1696, registering his proxy with Ailesbury three days later, and was absent throughout January and February 1696. While Huntingdon was away at Donington Park, the Assassination Plot against William III was revealed and Parliament drew up the Association. Huntingdon never signed this document, but returned to the House, vacating his proxy, on 9 Mar. 1696. 142 On 6 Apr. 1696 he was appointed a manager for a conference on the privateers bill and two days later he reported from the committee of the whole that the bill for taking away the custom of Wales which hindered the disposal of personal estates was fit to pass, with one proviso made in committee. For the following session Huntingdon registered his proxy with Scarsdale on 24 Oct. 1696, shortly after the commencement of the session. As the proceedings against Sir John Fenwick heated up the House demanded the presence of all its members, including the absent Huntingdon, under the threat of being taken into custody. Huntingdon duly appeared and over the following days showed his opposition to the bill to attaint Fenwick, dissenting from the decision to hear the written evidence of Cardell Goodman (15 Dec.), from the resolution to read the bill a second time (18 Dec.) and from the eventual passage of the bill (23 Dec.).

At this time Huntingdon was undoubtedly most preoccupied with the continuing problems with his wayward son and heir, George, Lord Hastings, which came to a head during this session of Parliament. Hastings had long been disobedient and unreceptive to his father’s efforts to provide him with a good education and marriage.143 The final blow came when Hastings had deserted his father’s house to attend Foubert’s military academy in Westminster. Huntingdon had prohibited his son’s living in the capital ‘lest he should enter into the Whig measures’ there. As he feared, Hastings sought out as patrons William III and Hans Willem Bentinck, earl of Portland, who were probably only too happy to detach a future earl from his Tory and Jacobite father. Hastings was given a company of foot guards which he led in the 1696 summer campaign and Portland even made vague promises of a future match with one of his daughters.144 When Hastings returned from campaign, he was financially cut off by his father and on 14 Dec. 1696 submitted a petition to the House requesting that Huntingdon be compelled to waive his privilege so that Hastings could take control of the Yorkshire properties of his maternal grandfather which Hastings’s late mother had bequeathed to him for his maintenance. These estates had long been controlled, and the rents retained, by Huntingdon acting as Hastings’s guardian during his minority (at this time Hastings was about three months shy of his majority). Hastings averred that Huntingdon had wrongly used these estates entrusted to him to raise a mortgage to pay the £4,500 he needed to become captain of the gentlemen pensioners. Huntingdon submitted his answer to these charges on 8 Jan. 1697 and 19-20 Jan. was spent in collecting written evidence from various Hastings and Lewis kin. On 21 Jan., after hearing counsel for both sides, the House resolved to appoint seven peers to effect a compromise between father and son: Rochester, William Savile, 2nd marquess of Halifax, and Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth, were chosen by Huntingdon; Richard Lumley [560], earl of Scarbrough, John Lowther, Viscount Lonsdale, and Thomas Wharton, 5th Baron (later marquess of) Wharton, by Hastings; and Marlborough by the House. A week later, on 29 Jan. 1697, Halifax had to report that they had been ineffective in this, but that Huntingdon nevertheless agreed to waive his privilege in case his son wished to go to law.145 Huntingdon left the House for the session shortly thereafter, on 1 Feb., and on 12 Mar. he registered his proxy with his old companion among the former exclusionists, Chandos. Problems between him and Hastings continued for the next few years. Hastings was promoted lieutenant colonel of the foot guards in April 1697 and joined his new father figure Portland on his embassy to France after the Treaty of Ryswick in the autumn of 1697, complete with an allowance of £800 p.a.146 Fresh attempts to forge a reconciliation between father and son in early 1699, with the Derbyshire Member Thomas Coke acting as go-between, foundered on Huntingdon’s stubborn insistence that Hastings should not reside in the capital and should save his money (and his ‘Country’ attitude) by settling in the country. Instead the dilettante Hastings, with the backing of William III, continued his continental travels for several years until his father’s death in May 1701 recalled him to England. 147

The other matter which preoccupied Huntingdon at this time was the case of Thomas Watson, bishop of St Davids, who was his good friend. Watson, like Huntingdon, had distinguished himself as a willing and active follower of James II, and the earl may even have played a role in the elevation of the cleric to the see of St Davids in June 1687. The bond between the earl and the bishop was probably only strengthened when both were left out of the Act of Grace of 1690 and they supported each other in their objections to their exclusion.148 Throughout the 1690s Watson and the Jacobite writer and antiquary Nathaniel Johnston, a client of both the earl and the bishop, were Huntingdon’s principal correspondents with news from the capital, including Watson’s sympathetic account of the death of William Sancroft, archbishop of Canterbury, and non-juror.149 Watson had long been in conflict with the chancellor of his diocese, Robert Lucy, who accused him of simony and extortion, among other things. Watson’s Jacobite sympathies also made him suspect to William III. Thomas Tenison, archbishop of Canterbury, brought a number of cases against him, based on Lucy’s claims. For the next several years the hearings against Watson ground away; he and Johnston kept Huntingdon well abreast of the bishop’s continuing travails throughout 1696-9. 150 In October 1697 Huntingdon tried to help by writing a letter to his former deputy recorder of Leicester, Nathan Wright, now a serjeant-at-law, recommending the bishop’s cause, but Huntingdon’s advice to Watson in early 1698 to reconcile with the archbishop fell on deaf ears, and Watson was formally deprived of his bishopric by Tenison on 3 Aug. 1699. 151

With these problems with family and friends, Huntingdon barely attended the last few sessions before his death in June 1701. He did not appear at all in the 1697-8 session and registered his proxy on 15 Dec. 1697, in the early days of the session, with Robert Shirley, 8th Baron (later Earl) Ferrers, and after Ferrers himself had left the House, entrusted his vote on 20 Apr. 1698 to Scarsdale. However he made clear to Watson his views on the divorce proceedings that Charles Gerard, 2nd earl of Macclesfield, brought against his wife in early 1698, deeming them ‘against the ecclesiastical laws and canons of the Western church’, and concluding ‘If I were in the House I should be against the bill [of divorce]’.152 On 17 Jan. 1699, near the beginning of the first session of the new Parliament elected in the summer of 1698, the House issued letters to Huntingdon and other absent lords demanding their presence. His letter explaining his ‘inability to attend’, presumably through illness, was read to the House on 4 Feb., when his excuses were accepted. Nevertheless, within two weeks he did sit in the House again, on 16 Feb. 1699, when he took the necessary oaths, but he soon absented himself again from 24 Feb. and another peremptory letter was sent to him on 13 Mar. demanding his attendance for the trial of Edward Rich, 6th earl of Warwick, by 28 March. He actually appeared before that deadline, on 22 Mar., in order to submit his petition to be heard regarding some provisos to the bill to make the River Trent navigable which would protect his personal interests in the Midlands. Rochester reported the bill with Huntingdon’s two amendments on 14 Apr., which were accepted by the House. Having achieved his goal, Huntingdon on that day left the House for the session, after having sat in only 17 of its meetings.153 He came to only seven sittings in the last days of the 1698 Parliament in April 1700 and on 9-10 Apr. served as a manager for a series of conferences on the House’s contentious amendments to the land tax and Irish forfeitures bill, disagreement over which ultimately saw the prorogation and eventual dissolution of Parliament. 

He first sat on 25 Apr. 1701 in the new Parliament which had convened over two months previously. He may have come to take part in the impeachment proceedings against John Somers, Baron Somers, and his fellow former Junto ministers. On 5 May Huntingdon was appointed to the committee to draft a message to the Commons urging them to submit the precise articles of impeachment against their targets, and four days later he was placed on another large committee assigned to consider the Commons’ improper way of delivering these impeachments. It is likely that Huntingdon would have supported the prosecution of the former Junto ministers, but he died before he was able to cast his vote on this matter. One of his last acts in Parliament was his subscription to the protest of 22 May against the passage of the Act of Settlement, which effectively put an end to Huntingdon’s long-held hopes for the restoration of James II. He died shortly after, on 30 May 1701, still only 50 years old. He was succeeded in his title by his estranged son George, Lord Hastings, who pursued his dispute with his father beyond the grave by actively supporting the Whigs and the Williamite court in the House. He also appealed, on 14 Dec. 1702, against a Chancery decree of 12 May 1702 which had granted to his stepmother, Frances Leveson Fowler, dowager countess of Huntingdon, then tending to his six young half siblings, the right to his maternal grandfather’s estates in Yorkshire. On 12 Jan. 1703 the House complied with the petition and the Lewis estates centered on Ledstone in Yorkshire fell under the 8th earl’s disposition, despite the scant provision for him made in his father’s will.154


  • 1 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); Bodl. Carte 78, ff. 201, 412, 415-16.
  • 2 Henry Nugent Bell, The Huntingdon Peerage, 140-1.
  • 3 TNA, PROB 11/460.
  • 4 CSP Dom. 1684-5, pp. 47, 74; CSP Dom. 1685, pp. 35, 40.
  • 5 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32).
  • 6 CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 338; HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); HA Religious [hereafter HAR], Box 2 (5); HA Parliament [hereafter HAP], Box 4 (9); HMC Hastings, iv. 354-5.
  • 7 CSP Dom. 1685, p. 421; CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 315.
  • 8 Longleat, Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 42, f. 326; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 425.
  • 9 Recs of the Borough of Leicester, iv. 563, 571, 597; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 263.
  • 10 Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Office-holders, 179.
  • 11 CSP Dom. 1687-9, pp. 47, 111.
  • 12 CSP Dom. 1685, p. 215.
  • 13 HEHL, HA Genealogy [hereafter HAG], Box 1 (32); HLQ, xv. 386-8, 391; HMC Hastings, ii. 181-6.
  • 14 Bodl. Carte 78, f. 415; PA, HL/PO/CO/1/1, pp. 96, 105, 114, 124-6, 133-4; HMC 7th Rep. 135, 152.
  • 15 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); HMC Hastings, ii. 140-154; Bodl. Carte 76, ff. 5, 7; Carte 77, ff. 524, 526, 532-5, 645, 676; Carte 78, f. 90.
  • 16 HEHL, HA 5584; Bodl. Carte 78, ff. 412v-413; HMC Hastings, ii. 153.
  • 17 HEHL, HA Personal and Family, Box 22 (9-11); Bodl. Carte 78, f. 413v.
  • 18 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); HAP, Box 4 (2-7); HMC Hastings, ii. 157-171.
  • 19 HMC Hastings, ii.157-67; Bodl. Carte 77, ff. 536-7; HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (1).
  • 20 Bodl. Carte 78, f. 638.
  • 21 HEHL, EL 8418.
  • 22 HMC Hastings, ii. 169.
  • 23 HP Commons, 1660-90, i. 297; Belvoir, Rutland mss, xviii, ff. 227-30; HMC Rutland, ii. 33; Recs of the Borough of Leicester, v. 545-6.
  • 24 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (9); HMC Hastings, iv. 295-6; PA, HL/PO/CO/1/4, 220.
  • 25 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (38a, 38b); HMC Hastings, iv. 292-4, 319-20; Bodl. Carte 78, ff. 581-4.
  • 26 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32).
  • 27 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (8, 11 and 38c); HMC Hastings, iv. 294-5, 296-9.
  • 28 Bodl. Carte 76, f. 45; SR, v. 852-64.
  • 29 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (25), 3; HMC Hastings, ii. 164-171; Bodl. Carte 78, ff. 427, 435, 529-42 et seq.; PH, xxxii. 123.
  • 30 Bodl. Carte 78, ff. 452-61, 470.
  • 31 Bodl. Carte 78, ff. 566-7; PA, HL/PO/JO/5/1/19 for 4 Apr. 1678.
  • 32 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (38 misc).
  • 33 Bodl. Carte 78, ff. 462-3, 489-90, 493-4; HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (12, 38 d and misc. papers); HMC Hastings, iv. 299.
  • 34 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (38, misc. papers); Bodl. Carte 78, no. 275.
  • 35 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (38, misc. papers).
  • 36 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (14, 15, 38, misc. papers); HMC Hastings, iv. 301.
  • 37 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 380.
  • 38 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (13); HMC Hastings, iv. 300; Bodl. Carte 78, f. 407.
  • 39 HMC Lords, i. 74.
  • 40 Bodl. Carte 76, f. 45v.
  • 41 HEHL, HA 6044 (misdated 1684); Trans. Leics. Arch. and Hist. Soc. lxxi. 66-7.
  • 42 Bodl. Carte 78, f. 693.
  • 43 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (16); HMC Hastings, iv. 301.
  • 44 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (17); HMC Hastings, iv. 301; Add. 28046, f. 50.
  • 45 Add. 28046, f. 56.
  • 46 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (19, 21-3).
  • 47 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (38, misc. papers).
  • 48 Bodl. Carte 81, f. 561; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 88.
  • 49 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (18, 38, misc papers.); HMC Hastings, iv. 302.
  • 50 CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 296; Hatton Corresp. i (Camden Soc. n.s. xxii), 208-10; Morrice, En’tring Bk, ii. 209; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 29.
  • 51 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (20); HMC Hastings, iv. 302; Morrice, ii. 210; Verney ms mic M636/33, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 7 Dec. 1679.
  • 52 HMC Lords, i. 177, 182.
  • 53 Morrice, ii. 232; Verney ms mic, M636/34, J. Stewkeley and J. Verrney to Sir R. Verney, 28 and 30 June 1680; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 340; Bodl. Carte 81, f. 607.
  • 54 Bodl. Carte 77, ff. 648-50 (no. 276), transcribed in BIHR, xx. 32-36.
  • 55 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (38e and 38 misc. papers); HMC Hastings, iv. 302-7.
  • 56 Morrice, ii. 253-4.
  • 57 Somers Tracts, viii. 282-3; Vox Patriae (1681), 6-7.
  • 58 HP Commons, 1660-90, i. 296-7; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 165.
  • 59 Browning, Danby, ii. 96; Add. 28043, f. 27.
  • 60 CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 667; CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 32.
  • 61 Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (1681), lines 569-78; HLQ, lxiii. 111-138.
  • 62 POAS, ii. 238.
  • 63 Add. 72481, f. 109.
  • 64 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32).
  • 65 Morrice, ii. 289; HMC Ormonde, vi. 204, 208.
  • 66 HMC Ormonde, n.s. vi. 215-217; Morrice, ii. 290-1; CSP Dom. 1680-1, pp. 545, 572; HMC Hastings, ii. 173.
  • 67 HMC Lords, n.s. ii. 374-5.
  • 68 TNA, PC 2/69, p. 638; HMC Hastings, ii. 173; HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (24); Bodl. Carte 76, ff. 31-32.
  • 69 Morrice, ii. 502.
  • 70 HLQ, xv. 371-91; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 440.
  • 71 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32).
  • 72 HMC Hastings, ii. 178; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 440.
  • 73 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); Bodl. Carte 77, f. 5 (no. 1); HMC Hastings, ii. 179.
  • 74 HMC Lords, i. 279; PA, HL/PO/CO/1/3, 383, 384.
  • 75 TNA, C 22/791/42.
  • 76 HMC Lords, i. 320.
  • 77 HMC Egmont, ii. 155; HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); CSP Dom. 1685, p. 215; HMC Hastings, ii. 179-80, 181-2.
  • 78 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Office-holders, 179.
  • 79 HMC Lords, i. 320; Morrice, iii. 353; iv. 84; TNA, C10/497/101.
  • 80 Bodl. Carte 78, ff. 403-4, 407 (no. 173).
  • 81 Ailesbury Mems, 143.
  • 82 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); HAP, Box 4 (25); HMC Hastings, iv. 307-8; Morrice, iii. 80; State Trials, xi. 513-15.
  • 83 HEHL, HAG, Box 4 (32); Morrice, iii. 75; CSP Dom. 1679-80, pp. 439, 446; HMC Hastings, ii. 224, 225.
  • 84 Add. 72481, f. 109; Verney ms mic, M636/40, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 28 Apr. 1686.
  • 85 HMC Hastings, ii. 210-11; Morrice, iv. 430.
  • 86 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (25), 3.
  • 87 HMC Hastings, ii. 227-8.
  • 88 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); Morrice, iii. 341.
  • 89 CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 390.
  • 90 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (9); HAR, Box 2 (5); HMC Hastings, iv. 354-5; Bodl. Carte 76, ff. 35-6 (no. 25); Rawlinson D 365, ff. 13-32; Morrice, i. 552-4.
  • 91 Morrice, iii. 358.
  • 92 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32); Morrice, iv.120; HMC Lords, ii. 302; Longleat, Bath mss. Thynne pprs. 42, f. 326; Luttrell, Brief Relation, i. 425.
  • 93 Morrice, iv. 189-90; Bath mss at Longleat House, Thynne pprs. 43, f. 23; HMC Hastings, ii. 182-3, 186.
  • 94 VCH Leics. iv. 117-19.
  • 95 HMC Hastings, ii. 184-7.
  • 96 HMC Hastings, ii. 183-5, 187-8; VCH Leics. iv. 115-19.
  • 97 VCH Leics. iv. 118-19.
  • 98 HMC 12th Rep. VI, 303-8.
  • 99 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32), pp. 7-9; HMC Hastings, ii. 195-7, 201-2; Morrice, iv. 358.
  • 100 HMC Hastings, ii. 199, 201-212; Morrice, iv. 430.
  • 101 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32), p. 9; HMC Hastings, ii. 213; Morrice, iv. 465.
  • 102 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 262.
  • 103 Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 336.
  • 104 HMC Lords, ii. 17n.
  • 105 Morrice, iv. 522-3.
  • 106 Dalrymple, Mems (1790), ii. 256-8 (pt I, bk vi app.); BIHR, liii. 62-4.
  • 107 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (32).
  • 108 Bodl. Carte 77, ff. 544-6 (no. 222).
  • 109 Morrice, v. 151.
  • 110 HMC Lords, ii. 286n.
  • 111 HMC Hastings, iv. 308-9; HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (29); PA, HL/PO/CO/1/4, 259.
  • 112 Bodl. Carte 79, f. 306.
  • 113 Morrice, v. 447; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 313; HMC Lords, iii. 87.
  • 114 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (25), pp. 1-3.
  • 115 HMC Hastings, ii. 213, 215-17, 218-19.
  • 116 Bodl. Carte 78, f. 690.
  • 117 HMC Hastings, ii. 220.
  • 118 PA, HL/PO/CO/1/4, 459-62; HMC Lords, iii. 182-3.
  • 119 HMC Hastings, ii. 221-2; HMC Portland, iii. 485.
  • 120 HMC Hastings, iv. 356-7; HMC Ancaster, 432; HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (32).
  • 121 HMC Hastings, ii. 222; iv. 309-10, 356-7; HEHL, HA Legal Papers, Box 26 (1); Ailesbury Mems, 311.
  • 122 TNA, WO 94/7.
  • 123 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (31); HMC Hastings, iv. 356-7; Verney ms mic M636/45 J. to Sir R. Verney, 16 June 1692.
  • 124 HMC Hastings, ii. 224-6.
  • 125 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (31).
  • 126 HMC Lords, iv. 86-91; Add. 29574, ff. 117-19; Horwitz, Parl. Pol. 105.
  • 127 HMC Lords, iv. 384.
  • 128 HMC Hastings, ii. 226, 228-30, 239-41.
  • 129 HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (25), 3.
  • 130 HMC Hastings, ii. 237-8, 240-1.
  • 131 Bodl. Carte 181, f. 582.
  • 132 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (34).
  • 133 HMC Lords, n.s. i. 415.
  • 134 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (35b) (38f); HMC Hastings, iv. 310-12; HMC Lords, n.s. ii. 128n.
  • 135 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (38h); HMC Hastings, iv. 314; HMC Lords, n.s. ii. 3.
  • 136 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (35a); HMC Hastings, iv. 312-13; HMC Lords n.s. ii. 64, 126, 135.
  • 137 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (35c); HMC Hastings, iv. 315-16.
  • 138 HMC Lords, n.s. ii. 65.
  • 139 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (38i); HMC Hastings, iv. 316-17.
  • 140 HMC Hastings, iv. 317-18.
  • 141 HEHL, HAP, Box 4 (35d); HMC Hastings, iv. 318-19.
  • 142 HMC Hastings, ii. 251-2, 253-5.
  • 143 HMC Hastings, ii. 221, 225, 227, 228, 231, 232, 234, 236, 238, 239, 241, 242, 244, 248-9, 251.
  • 144 HMC Hastings, ii. 250-1, 252-3, 255, 256, 257, 258, 260, 261-2, 267, 268, 269, 283, 284, 286; HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (25).
  • 145 HMC Lords, n.s. ii. 374-5; HMC Hastings, ii. 286; iv. 357-8.
  • 146 HMC Hastings, ii. 291, 305; HMC Portland, ii. 302, 303, 306, 307, 309; CSP Dom. 1698, p. 126; HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (25).
  • 147 HMC Cowper, ii. 385-6, 389-91; HEHL, HAG, Box 1 (25).
  • 148 Clarendon Corresp. ii. 313; Morrice, v. 447.
  • 149 HMC Hastings, ii. 220, 221-2, 232-3, 234-5, 237, 243, 245-8, 249, 253-5, 256-8, 262-3, 266-7, 268-70.
  • 150 HMC Hastings, ii. 274, 279, 281, 283-4, 286, 290, 293, 297, 300-1, 302-3, 305, 306, 308, 309.
  • 151 HMC Hastings, ii. 300, 302-3, 305-6.
  • 152 Bodl. ms Eng. Hist. b2, 102.
  • 153 HMC Lords, n.s. iii. 410.
  • 154 HMC Lords, n.s. v. 155-6.