COLLINS, John (1624-1711), of Chute Lodge, Wilts.
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Family and Education
bap. 11 July, 1624 o.s. of Samuel Collins, DD, provost of King’s College, Cambridge 1615-44 by 1st w. educ. Eton KS c.1635-9; King’s, Camb. 1639, BA 1643, MA 1646, LL.D 1683; G. Inn, entered 1639, called 1650, ancient 1662; travelled abroad (Holland) c.1650. m. (1) c.1653, Mary (d.1657), da. of Richard Bateman, fellow of Eton 1619-55, 2da.; (2) lic. 5 Feb. 1664, ‘aged 34’, Martha, da. of Thomas Wearg, Vintner, of St. Martin’s Street, London, 3da. suc. fa. 1651; kntd. 14 June 1681.1
Steward, Andover by Oct. 1660-79, by July 1680-?89; j.p. Hants July 1660-?89; commr. for assessment, Wilts. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-91, Hants 1661-3, Berks. 1677-80; commr. for inquiry, Finkly forest 1672, recusants, Hants 1675; dep. lt. Hants and Wilts. Apr. 1688-9.2
Collins came of a clerical family. His grandfather, ‘a pious and painful preacher’, became vice-provost of Eton, his father regius professor of divinity at Cambridge and provost of King’s until deprived by the Long Parliament. Collins himself was a lawyer, and during the Interregnum took up residence at Chute Lodge, six miles from Andover. He was returned for the borough at the general election of 1660 and listed by Lord Wharton as a friend. In the Convention he was named to only four committees, including those to regulate fees and to supply defects in the poll bill, and he did not speak. Some time during the summer he replaced John Hildesley as steward of the borough court, which gave him a strong corporation interest.3
Collins was re-elected for Andover in 1661. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 60 committees, few of which were of political importance, except that for the additional corporations bill in 1662. He served on the committees to provide for reparations to the Marquess of Winchester, to empower the bishop of Winchester to grant leases in Bishop’s Waltham Park and to enable Lord Henry Powlett to sell the manor of Abbotts Anne. He has to be distinguished from his namesake, the mathematician and courtier, who was probably the chairman of the reclaimed lands commission ordered to be impeached on 20 June 1663. He was appointed to the committees for the bills to make the Salisbury Avon navigable and to join Bristol to London by canal, for assigning debts in the Exchequer in 1667, and for regulating juries in 1669. Probably a high churchman, the bishop of Salisbury consecrated a private chapel for him in 1673. His name appears on the Paston list, and he received the government whip for the autumn session of 1675, but did not attend. He was marked ‘doubly vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list in 1677, and his name appeared on the government list of court supporters in the following year.4
On the dissolution of the Cavalier Parliament, the Andover corporation resolved to replace Collins as steward by the exclusionist William Wither, and he did not stand at the first general election of 1679, but he contested the second. His petition never emerged from the highly partisan committee, but he regained his stewardship and was elected to the Oxford Parliament, in which he played no known part. He was knighted for his services to the Court, and relieved of his obligations as security for a defaulting Exchequer official because he had ‘constantly and faithfully adhered to your Majesty’s service and interest upon all occasions’.5
Collins was re-elected to James II’s Parliament, but was again totally inactive. He was one of the few Anglicans to consent to the three questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was made a deputy lieutenant. The King’s electoral agents feared that he had lost his interest at Andover, but proposed him as court candidate at Whitchurch. But he is unlikely to have stood after the Revolution, though he was named as steward as late as is July 1689. He apparently became a non-juror and was obliged to part with his estate. In his later years he lived at Westminster, and was buried in St. Margaret’s in 1711, aged 87.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson
- 1. Soc. of Genealogists, St. Edward’s Cambridge par. reg.; PCC 47 Laud; Eton Coll. Reg. 26, 79; N. and Q. cliv. 118-19; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 313; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London, 173.
- 2. Andover corp. recs. 2/JC/2, 3; 4/M1/3; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 212.
- 3. Fuller, Worthies, i. 144; CJ, ix. 57.
- 4. Wilts. N. and Q. iv. 44.
- 5. Andover corp. recs. 4/M1/3; CJ, ix. 640; T54/9/219.
- 6. N. and Q. cliv. 119; PCC 4 Barnes; Soc. of Genealogists, Boyd’s London Obits.