BOTELER, John (1587-1653), of Watton Woodhall, Watton at Stone, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

bap. 10 Dec. 1587, 2nd s. of Sir Philip Butler† (d.1592) of Watton Woodhall, and Catherine, da. of Sir Francis Knollys† of Rotherfield Greys, Oxon.1 educ. G. Inn 1605.2 m. by 1624, Anne (bur. 3 Dec. 1638), da. of Sir Richard Spencer† of Offley, Herts., 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.).3 suc. bro. 1622;4 cr. KB 1 Feb. 1626.5 bur. 10 Feb. 1653.6

Offices Held

J.p. Herts. 1623-32, 1635-43, St. Albans 1625-41, custos rot. Herts. 1642;7 dep. lt. Herts. 1623-43;8 commr. Forced Loan, Herts. 1626-7,9 oyer and terminer, St. Albans liberty 1629-39, Home circ. 1629-42, Herts. 1640,10 sewers, Kent. and Suss. 1629, river Gleane 1629-35;11 sheriff, Herts. 1630-1;12 commr. swans, Herts. 1634,13 array, 1642.14


On the death of his elder brother in 1622, Boteler became the head of an ancient and prolific Hertfordshire family.15 The Watton estate was estimated at £2,000 a year, but £200 was out in jointure to his mother, and a further £800 was set aside to provide a portion for his niece, who later married John Belasyse†. Boteler’s entitlement to various family heirlooms was challenged by his brother’s widow, and, after litigation failed to settle the dispute, the case came before the Commons in 1624.16

Boteler became a deputy lieutenant in 1623 on the recommendation of his father-in-law. He stood for Hertfordshire at the general election to Charles I’s first Parliament with the support of the lord lieutenant, the 2nd earl of Salisbury (William Cecil*), and was returned together with his cousin Sir John Boteler*.17 However, he left no trace on the records of the Commons’ proceedings, and may not have even attended, since he was present at the general sessions of the peace at Hertford on 11 July, the day on which the Parliament adjourned to avoid the plague in London.18 He received the order of the Bath at Charles’s coronation, and was re-elected in 1626. His appointments were to consider bills concerning the oaths of accountants (11 Feb. 1626), the late 3rd earl of Dorset’s estates (15 Feb.), and to the conference of 7 Mar. on the international situation.19 He was also named to two bill committees of strong local interest, the first for a measure to reduce the consumption of corn by restricting the manufacture of malt, the chief Hertfordshire industry (9 Mar.), and the other to report on abuses of purveyance (25 May).20 He does not appear to have stood for Parliament again.

As sheriff, in the spring of 1631, Boteler was obliged to certify the returns from the justices of the peace concerning the price of corn; he was dropped from the county bench shortly after completing his shrievalty, for causes that are not clear, and not restored until 1635.21 Appointed custos rotulorum at York on 15 July 1642, he denounced the parliamentary militia at quarter sessions, and described those who took the Covenant as traitors. He was promptly arrested, and kept in prison in London for two years, although he had contributed horses and arms worth £300 and £1,200 in cash to Parliament, and done nothing to assist the king. On 30 Sept. 1645 he was fined £2,000, and despite his pleas of poverty seems to have paid £1,500 immediately.22 He was buried at Watton at Stone on 10 Feb. 1653, the last of the senior branch of the family to sit in Parliament.23 No will has been found.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. R. Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 477.
  • 2. GI Admiss.
  • 3. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 192; Clutterbuck, ii. 477.
  • 4. C142/402/144.
  • 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 162.
  • 6. Clutterbuck, ii. 477.
  • 7. C231/4, ff. 150, 189; 231/5, ff. 177, 530; C181/3, ff. 174, 197v, 263v, 264v; 181/4, ff. 77v, 132; 181/5, ff. 12, 212v.
  • 8. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 188, 192, 300, 341.
  • 9. SP16/33/8; 16/74/96.
  • 10. C181/3, ff. 261, 264; 181/4, ff. 13v, 90, 198v; 181/5, ff. 8v, 134v, 175v, 222.
  • 11. C181/4, ff. 18v, 40, 94; 181/5, f. 10.
  • 12. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 64.
  • 13. C181/4, f. 178v.
  • 14. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 15. VCH Herts. iii. 162.
  • 16. C78/238/3; 78/322/8; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 159v; CSP Dom. 1637-8, p. 78; VCH Beds. ii. 345.
  • 17. HMC Hatfield, xxii. 205; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 614.
  • 18. HALS, QSB 2A, f. 36.
  • 19. Procs. 1626, ii. 21, 44, 216.
  • 20. Ibid. 238; iii. 331.
  • 21. CSP Dom. 1631-3, pp. 7, 27, 36, 128-9, 131.
  • 22. CCC, 852-3.
  • 23. Clutterbuck, ii. 477.