CHURCHILL, Sir John (c.1620-85), of Lincoln's Inn and Churchill, Som.

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



30 Mar. - Oct. 1685

Family and Education

b. c.1620, 1st s. of Jasper Churchill, Cutler, of London by w. Alice. educ. L. Inn 1639, called 1647. m. 16 May 1654 (with £2,500), Susan, da. of Edmund Prideaux of Forde Abbey, Devon, 4da. suc. fa. 1648; kntd. 12 Aug. 1670.1

Offices Held

Deputy registrar, Chancery c.1639-45; solicitor-gen. to the Duke of York 1670, attorney-gen. 1673-85; master of the rolls Jan. 1685-d.2

J.p. Mdx. July 1660-d., Som. 1662-d.; commr. for sewers, Som. Aug. 1660, assessment Som. Aug. 1660-80, Mdx. 1673-9; bencher, L. Inn 1662, reader 1670, treas. 1670-1; freeman, Bristol 1676, Bath 1679; recorder and alderman, Bristol 1682-d., dep. lt. June 1685-d.3


Churchill was the first cousin of Winston Churchill, whose father he succeeded as deputy registrar of Chancery before the Civil War. He took no part in the Civil War, but during the Interregnum built up a thriving practice at the Chancery bar. In 1652 he bought for £5,900 the manor of Churchill, from which presumably his ancestors took their name, though no connexion has been proved, and two years later married the daughter of the Protector’s attorney-general. By 1662 he was regarded as ‘a sure and faithful workman’ in election business, but he cherished no parliamentary ambitions for himself, preferring to rise in the service of the Court, and not disdaining a courtesy to Lady Castlemaine. He succeeded Edward Thurland as legal adviser to the Duke of York in 1670. His most noteworthy contact with Parliament during the reign of Charles II was as a victim of the dispute between the Houses in 1675, when he was ordered to explain why he had accepted a brief to prosecute Thomas Dalmahoy in the House of Lords. Quite