BOOTH, John (d.1705), of Hereford and Letton, Herefs.
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Family and Education
s. of John Booth of Old Durham, co. Dur. by Margery, da. of William Walden of Huntingdon. m. (1) c.1650, Lucy (d. 5 Apr. 1673), da. of Sir Robert Whitney of Whitney, Herefs., coh. to her bro. Thomas, and wid. of William Smallman of Kinnersley Castle, Herefs., 1da. (2) Rebecca, da. of Daniel Vincent, merchant, of Ironmonger Lane, London, wid. of Sir John Kyrle, 2nd Bt., of Much Marcle, Herefs., s.p.; 1da. illegit.1
J.p. Herefs. July 1660-Mar. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., commr. for assessment Sept. 1660-80, 1689-90, capt. of militia by 1663-Feb. 1688, sheriff 1685-6.2
The Booths of Old Durham were a recognized branch of the great Cheshire family, but Booth himself does not appear in their pedigree, and at the visitation of Herefordshire in 1683 he could not trace his ancestry beyond one generation. He fought in a Herefordshire regiment under Fitzwilliam Coningsby† in the Civil War, but when he compounded in 1647 he was living in York, possessing only two geldings, apparel and moneys worth in all £50. Soon afterwards he married a wealthy widow and in her right became possessed of Letton, six miles from Weobley. At the county by-election of 1668, he helped to mediate between his brother-in-law Thomas Whitney and the successful candidate, Sir John Kyrle, whose widow he was later to marry, and he appears to have considered standing himself for Weobley seven years later, but under court pressure transferred his interest to Sir Thomas Williams.3
Booth was elected for Weobley on the Thynne interest to the second Exclusion Parliament, replacing (Sir) William Gregory, who had been made a judge. It had been intended that he should act as stalking-horse for William Finch, but presumably the temper of the electors rendered this impossible. Although he seems to have been totally inactive both in this and the Oxford Parliament, he probably opposed exclusion. He was among those who presented the address approving the dissolution of Parliament in July 1681, but he was not re-elected in 1685. He returned negative answers to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was removed from the commission of the peace. He seems to have accepted the Revolution, perhaps under the influence of his son-in-law and heir, John Dutton Colt, since he reappeared on the bench in 1691. By this time he was engaged in a bitter dispute over the Smallman estate with James Morgan, and it was probably as a blow at the Morgan interest that (Sir) Edward Harley proposed to restore him to his company in the militia. Booth died at an advanced age on 1 Mar. 1705 and was buried in Hereford Cathedral, under an inscription describing him as ‘an old Cavalier and a zealous lover of the Church of England’.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Edward Rowlands
- 1. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xvii), 312; C. J. Robinson, Mansions and Manors of Herefs. 164, 172, 281.
- 2. BL Loan 29/49 (accounts of Nicholas Philpott, 1662-8).
- 3. Royalist Comp. Pprs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xviii), 182; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1784; Add. 11051, ff. 233-4; BL Loan 29/182, f. 178, Richard Stephens to Sir Edward Harley, 3 Feb. 1675.
- 4. HMC Finch, iii. 420; London Gazette, 11 July 1681; C5/144/31; BL Loan 29/141, Sir Edward to Robert Harley, 27 May 1691; Mon. Inscriptions in Hereford Cathedral ed. Havergal, 20-21.