ATKYNS, Sir Robert (1647-1711), of Pinbury Park, Duntisbourne Rous, Glos. and Queen Anne's Gate, Westminster.
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Family and Education
bap. 26 Aug. 1647, 1st s. of Robert Atkyns. educ. St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. 1663; L. Inn 1661, called 1668. m. lic. 5 July 1669, Louise, da. of Sir George Carteret of Hawnes, Beds., s.p. Kntd. 5 Sept. 1663; suc. fa. 1710.1
Dep. receiver-gen. of law duties 1671-2, receiver-gen. 1672-3, comptroller 1673-9.2
Commr. for assessment, Glos. 1673-80, 1689-90, recusants 1675, j.p. 1673-Mar. 1688, Oct. 1688-?d., dep. lt. 1683-Feb. 1688, commr. for inquiry, crown lands 1686.3
Although qualified as a barrister, Atkyns broke with the family tradition by not practising the law, preferring a life of scholarship. He stood for Cirencester on his father’s interest in 1671, but was defeated by Henry Powle, who rubbed salt in the wound by taking the chair in committee in 1674 on a bill to ascertain the law duties, of which Atkyns was comptroller. The bill was ordered to be engrossed on 23 Feb., but lost when the House was prorogued on the following day. Returned to the three Exclusion Parliaments for Cirencester, Atkyns was marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. In 1679 he was appointed to the elections committee, and to inspect the disbandment accounts, but he was either absent from the division on the bill or voted against it. Probably he deliberately abstained in a matter where his own views conflicted with his father’s Whiggish outlook. In the second Exclusion Parliament he served again on the elections committee, and on those for regulating the Severn fishery, and for removing Papists from the metropolitan area. In the Oxford Parliament he was named only to the elections committee, but the Government was plainly satisfied of his loyalty. He sat for the county in James II’s Parliament, but was again inactive, serving as usual on the elections committee and on a private bill. He returned negative answers to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the Test and the Penal Laws, and was removed from local office. He was so reluctant to take the oaths after the Revolution that he had to pay double poll-tax as a non-juror in 1693, but he had returned to the county bench by the time of William III’s death. He died of dysentery at his house in Westminster on 29 Nov. 1711 and was buried at Sapperton, the last of his family to sit in Parliament. His great Ancient and Present State of Glostershire, eulogizing the Stuarts, was published in the following year.4