IRBY, Sir Anthony (1605-1682), of Whaplode, Lincs. and Westminster

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

Constituency

Dates

8 May 1628
1640 (May)
1640 (Dec.) - Dec. 1648
1656
1659
1660
16 May 1661
1679 (Mar.)
1679 (Oct.)
1681

Family and Education

b. 17 Jan. 1605,1 1st s. of Sir Anthony Irby (d.1610) of Whaplode and Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Peyton† of Isleham, Cambs.2 educ. L. Inn, entered 1620; Emmanuel, Camb. 1620.3 m. (1) 1623, Frances, da. of Sir William Wray, 1st bt.*, of Glentworth, Lincs., 1da.;4 (2) 5 Mar. 1629,5 Margaret (d. July 1631), da. of Sir Richard Smythe* of Leeds Castle, Kent, s.p.;6 (3) Margaret (d. 28 Nov. 1640),7 da. of Sir Edward Barkham of Southacre, Norf., ld. mayor of London 1621-2, 3da.;8 (4) 19 Aug. 1641,9 Catherine, da. of William, 5th Lord Paget, 1s. 5da.10 kntd. 2 June 1624;11 suc. grandfa. 1625.12 d. 2 Jan. 1682.13

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Holland) 1625-c.1649, (Lindsey) 1625-7, 1631-c.1649, Lincs. 1660-70;14 commr. sewers, Lincs. and Notts. 1625-31, Holland 1626, Lincoln 1629, Lincs. 1635-42, 1654-70, Gt. Fens 1646, Westminster and Mdx. 1660-73,15 swans, Midlands counties 1625, c.1629, Lincs. 1636, 1664;16 freeman, Boston, Lincs. 1626;17 commr. Forced Loan, Lincs. 1627,18 knighthood compositions, 1630-1,19 charitable uses 1630-4, 1635-42,20 fees, Lincoln and Lincs. 1633;21 dep. lt. Lincs. by 1636-c.44, 1660-1;22 sheriff, Lincs. 1637-8;23 commr. subsidy, Holland 1641, 1663, assessment 1642, 1647, 1648, Lincs. 1644-5, 1649, 1657, 1660-79, Lindsey 1647, 1648, Mdx. 1648, Westminster 1660-79;24 member, co. cttee. Lincs. 1642;25 commr. sequestration (Holland) 1643, levying of money, Lincs. 1643, defence, Eastern Assoc. 1643, New Model Ordinance, Lincs. 1645,26 oyer and terminer 1645;27 member, cttee. for Westminster Coll. 1648;28 militia, Lincs. 1648, Lincs. and Westminster 1660;29 col. militia ft. Lincs. 1660;30 commr. complaints, Bedford level 1663,31 enclosures, Deeping Fen, Lincs. 1665,32 concealments, Lincs. 1671,33 recusants 1675.34

Cttee. Fisheries Soc. 1632-5,35 Irish affairs, 1643;36 commr. treaty with Scotland, 1643, 1646, 1647,37 regulating excise 1645, exclusion from sacrament 1646, sale of bps’ lands 1646, compounding 1647, scandalous offences 1648, maimed soldiers 1660-1.38

Capt. of drag. (parl.) 1642-5.39

Biography

Irby’s father did not follow other members of his family by pursuing a legal career, but dabbled in trade, becoming a member of the Levant Company; he died in 1610, when Irby was only five years old.40 During Irby’s long minority his estates were administered by his grandfather, Anthony Irby*, whose puritan sympathies he shared.41 Knighted during a visit to Theobalds in 1624, Irby inherited extensive estates the following year on his grandfather’s death. There were estimated to be worth over £4,000 a year, and included a house at Boston.42 Named as a commissioner for the Forced Loan in 1627, he nonetheless refused to contribute to the levy, for which offence he was summoned before the Privy Council.43 There he presumably managed to make his peace, since, unlike other unco-operative commissioners, he was not imprisoned but ordered to remain in attendance.44 He appeared in a somewhat different light when he was summoned again the following year, after an independent inquiry revealed that he had taken advantage of a widow’s ignorance to buy her land at an undervalue. He flatly refused to pay the suggested compensation of £50 on the grounds that this would call in question his title to other parts of his estate, and insisted on a trial at law.45

Irby contested the 1628 election for Boston, his opponent being Richard Oakeley*, the nominee of the bishop of Lincoln. Although narrowly outvoted on the corporation, he obtained 67 votes from the freemen, whose right to participate was uncertain. On petition he established the wider franchise, but it took more than seven weeks for the Commons to rule that he had won the seat.46 Once at Westminster, he joined his brother-in-law, Sir John Wray*, who had been returned for the county. Irby played no recorded part in the remainder of the first session, and was appointed to just two committees in the second. One was for a private estate bill concerning (Sir) Arnold Herbert* (21 Feb. 1629) and the other was for a bill to prevent simony in university colleges (23 February).47

During his shrievalty in 1637 Irby emerged as one of the leaders of resistance to Ship Money in the county. He aroused opposition by altering the assessments to help poorer areas, ending up some £2,662 in arrears. The Council believed that his tardiness in paying over the money was deliberate, and he was threatened with a Star Chamber prosecution.48 He was re-elected for Boston at both elections in 1640, fought for Parliament in the Civil War, held office throughout the Interregnum, and as a committed Presbyterian was a supporter of exclusion after the Restoration.49 Having made his will, dated 23 July 1680, Irby died on 2 Jan. 1682, and was buried at St. Margaret’s, Westminster.50

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Paula Watson / Rosemary Sgroi

Notes

  • 1. C142/325/185.
  • 2. P.A. Irby, Irbys of Lincs. and Irebys of Cumb. i. 31.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; LI Admiss.
  • 4. Irby, i. 36.
  • 5. J.P. Malcolm, Londinium Redivivum, ii. 371.
  • 6. Irby, i. 32; Arch. Cant. xx. 78.
  • 7. P. Thompson, Hist. Boston, 395.
  • 8. Irby, i. 36.
  • 9. Mdx. Par. Reg. ii. 148.
  • 10. Collins, Peerage, vii. 304.
  • 11. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 184.
  • 12. C142/417/53.
  • 13. Irby, i. 37.
  • 14. C231/4, ff. 185, 187, 227; 231/5, p. 49; 231/7, p. 374.
  • 15. C181/3, ff. 169, 199, 229; C181/4, f. 20, 40, 94; C181/5, ff. 10, 223, 269; C181/6, pp. 27, 389; 181/7, pp. 37, 76, 544, 632.
  • 16. C181/3, ff. 165, 268v; 181/7, p. 299.
  • 17. Boston Corp. Mins. ed. J.F. Bailey, ii. 498.
  • 18. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 145.
  • 19. E178/5414, ff. 5, 9, 13.
  • 20. C192/1, unfol.
  • 21. C181/4, f. 158v.
  • 22. CSP Dom. 1636-7, p. 149; SP29/11, f. 280; Lincs. AO, Holywell ms H93/1.
  • 23. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 80.
  • 24. SR, v. 63, 216, 461, 911, 913; A. and O. i. 539, 546, 641, 968, 969, 1086, 1112; ii. 37, 302, 1072, 1372.
  • 25. CJ, ii. 585b; LJ, v. 82b.
  • 26. A. and O. i. 114, 232, 294, 622.
  • 27. C181/5, f. 251v.
  • 28. LJ, x. 118b.
  • 29. A. and O. i. 1239; ii. 1435, 1437.
  • 30. Mercurius Publicus. vxi. (Apr. 1660).
  • 31. SR, v. 506.
  • 32. SR, v. 567.
  • 33. CTB, iii. 912.
  • 34. Ibid. iv. 696.
  • 35. SP16/221/1; 16/231/15.
  • 36. SP16/539/127.
  • 37. CJ, i. iii. 169a; iv. 606a; LJ, ix. 500a.
  • 38. A. and O. i. 691, 853, 905, 914, 1208.
  • 39. E. Peacock, Army Lists, 54; HMC Portland, i. 79.
  • 40. T.K. Rabb, Enterprise and Empire, 321.
  • 41. Lincs. N and Q, xiii. 81.
  • 42. Her. and Gen. ii. 122; Irby, i. 37.
  • 43. APC, 1627, p. 142; SP 16/56/39; R. Cust, Forced Loan, 172, 226, 311, 334.
  • 44. C. Holmes, Seventeenth Cent. Lincs, 107-8.
  • 45. APC, 1627-8, p. 441; 1628-9, p. 221; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 552; 1628-9, p. 370.
  • 46. CD 1628, iii. 324; J.K. Gruenfelder, ‘Boston’s Early Stuart Elections’, Lincs. Hist. and Arch. xiii. 47-49.
  • 47. CJ, i. 932a, b.
  • 48. CSP Dom. 1637-8, pp. 138, 211-12, 526, 589; 1639, pp. 25, 49, 371, 466; 1639-40, p. 300; Holmes, 131-3.
  • 49. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 230-1; Holmes, 221, 235.