DARCY, John (c.1602-1624), of Aston, Yorks.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
Darcy was descended from Sir Roger Darcy of Old Cotes, whose son Sir John had represented Nottinghamshire in 1320. His father’s estate, estimated on his death at £4,000 p.a. lay principally in south Yorkshire, but the family home at Aston was sufficiently close to the border with Nottinghamshire for Darcy to be described as a ‘neighbour’ of East Retford in an account of the 1624 by-election.4 His father and his stepmother, the sister of Sir William Wray*, were notable patrons of puritan ministers. Lord Darcy was, moreover, a supporter of Sir Thomas Wentworth* in Yorkshire’s factional politics.5
Described by the letter-writer John Chamberlain as ‘a very proper and hopeful young gentleman’,6 Darcy was an unsuccessful suitor for a seat at Nottingham in 1624.7 He was eventually returned for East Retford at a by-election held on 9 Mar. after (Sir) Nathaniel Rich* plumped for Harwich, having been nominated for the seat by East Retford’s high steward, Sir Gervase Clifton*. Darcy was connected with Clifton through his uncle Sir Peter Frescheville*, who described Clifton as his ‘approved kind friend and ally’ when he appointed Clifton, together with Darcy’s father, supervisor of his will in March 1633. However, Darcy only gained the seat after a hard-fought contest, in which he was opposed by (Sir) Edward Wortley*, whose supporters alleged that Darcy was only 15 or 16 years old, whereas he was evidently about 22.8 A petition was presented to the Commons following Darcy’s return, but he was nevertheless permitted to take his seat.9 He was subsequently one of only three Members appointed by name on 3 Apr. to a committee headed by Sir John Savile on a bill to regulate the cutlers of Hallamshire in his native south Yorkshire.10 However, shortly thereafter he died of smallpox, and, ‘being a burgess of the Parliament’, was buried in Westminster Abbey. At the time of his death he was engaged to one of the numerous daughters of Sir Francis Fane*.11 No will or administration has been found. In a vain attempt to produce a new heir, Darcy’s father twice remarried. The last of his three wives brought Aston to her second husband, the brother of Darcy’s fiancée. Meanwhile the peerage was revived for a cousin, whose son Conyers Darcy represented Yorkshire in the Cavalier Parliament, and eventually inherited Aston, when the Fane interest expired in 1680.12
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. CP, iv. 76-7.
- 2. Al. Cant.
- 3. CP, iv. 77.
- 4. Ibid. 50; J.T. Cliffe, Yorks. Gentry from Reformation to Civil War, 100; Nottingham Univ. Lib. CL/LP51.
- 5. J. Hunter, S. Yorks. ii. 59, 163, 164; Cliffe, 283.
- 6. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 555.
- 7. Recs. of Bor. of Nottingham ed. W.H. Stevenson et al. iv. 387.
- 8. Nottingham Univ. Lib. CL/LP51; PROB 11/165, f. 333v; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 555.
- 9. CJ, i. 714b.
- 10. Ibid. 754b.
- 11. ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 176v; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 555; CP, iv. 77.
- 12. CP, iv. 77-8; HP Commons, 1660-90, ii. 190-1.