BACON, Nathaniel (1593-1660), of Gray's Inn and Ipswich, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



11 Apr. - Aug. 1660

Family and Education

b. 12 Dec. 1593, 3rd s. of Sir Edward Bacon (d.1618) of Shrubland, Barham, and bro. of Francis Bacon. educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1606, BA 1611; G. Inn 1611, called 1617, ancient 1632. m. (1) aft. 1623, Elizabeth, da. of Robert Maydston of Boxted, Essex, wid. of Edward Glascock of Great Horkesley, Essex, s.p.; (2) c.1630, Susan, da. of William Holloway, clothier, of East Bergholt, Suff., wid. of Matthew Alefounder, clothier, of Dedham, Essex, and coh. to her bro. William, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 5da.2

Offices Held

Reader, G. Inn 1641; freeman and recorder, Ipswich 1643-d., bailiff 1644-5, town clerk 1651-2, commr. for execution of ordinances, Essex, Suff. and Ipswich 1643; dep. lt. Suff. 1643, commr. for sequestration, Essex and Suff. 1643, levying of money 1643, eastern assoc. Suff. 1643, assessment, Suff. 1644, Suff. and Ipswich 1645-52, 1657, Jan. 1660-d.; j.p. Essex 1644-52, Suff. by 1650-2, Essex and Suff. 1653-d.; elder, Ipswich classis 1647; commr. for militia, Suff. 1648, Mar. 1660, drainage of the fens 1649, poor prisoners 1653, scandalous ministers 1654, sewers, Chelsea and Westminster 1656.3

Commr. for exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648; judge of Admiralty 1649-53; master of requests 1656-9.4


Bacon’s father was a younger son of the Elizabethan lord keeper, and Bacon himself, like so many of the family, entered the legal profession. An active Parliamentarian during the Civil War, he was chairman of the central committee of the eastern association, and published an attack on the prerogative in 1647. Secluded at Pride’s Purge, he soon conformed to the republican regime and was appointed a judge of the Admiralty. As recorder of Ipswich, he represented the borough with his younger brother in all the Protectorate Parliaments, and served Cromwell as master of requests. But by 1659 he was ready to denounce ‘the tyranny of a Commonwealth’, and he did not sit with the Rump on their second restoration in December. He signed the Suffolk petition for a free Parliament, and returned to the House with the secluded Members in February 1660.5

Bacon was re-elected to the Convention, and marked as a friend by Lord Wharton, who assigned him to the mangement of William Ellys. An inactive Member, he was appointed to five committees by full name, including those on the bills for confirming the privileges of Parliament and for settling ecclesiastical livings. It was probably he who spoke on 10 July 1660 against a motion to double the poll-tax on Protestant nonconformists as well as Catholic recusants. Together with Matthew Hale he was ordered on 10 Aug. to bring in measures to restrict the granting of leases of church lands and to provide for the endowment of vicarages out of impropriate rectories. He made his will on 26 Aug. and was buried at Barham on 1 Sept. None of his descendants entered Parliament.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson / John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Did not sit after Pride’s Purge 6 Dec. 1648, readmitted 6 June 1649.
  • 2. Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 110; N. Bacon, Annals of Ipswich, p. v; Gent. Mag. xcv. 21, 22, PCC 91 Byrde, 106 May, J. J. Muskett, Suff. Manorial Fams. i. 226; ii. 125; Add. 19116, f. 44; Frag. Gen. i. 12.
  • 3. Add. 25334, f. 87; 25335, ff. 9, 78; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 508-10; A. M. Everitt, Suff. and the Gt. Rebellion (Suff. Rec. Soc. iii), 130; County of Suff. Divided (1645), 1.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1655-6, p. 254; 1656-7, p. 182.
  • 5. C. Holmes, Eastern Assoc. 124; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 345; Gent. Mag. xcv. 21; Suff. and the Gt. Rebellion, 128.
  • 6. Bowman diary, f. 62z; CJ, viii. 116; East Anglian, n.s. iv. 34.