CORYTON (CORITON), John I (1621-80), of Newton Ferrers, Cornw.
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Family and Education
bap. 29 July 1621, 3rd but o. surv. s. of William Coryton† of Newton Ferrers by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Chichester of Raleigh, Devon. m. (1) 27 Dec. 1643, Elizabeth (d. 27 Sept. 1677), da. and coh. of John Mills of Colebrooke, Devon, 2s. 2da.; (2) lic. 24 May 1680, Anne, da. of one Bradford, wid. of Daniel Wayte of the Inner Temple and Acton, Mdx., s.p. suc. fa. 1651; cr. Bt. 27 Feb. 1662.1
Capt. of ft. (royalist) 1642, col. by 1646.2
J.p. Cornw. July 1660-d.; recorder Launceston c. Nov. 1660-d.; commr. for assessment Cornw. 1661-d., corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, dep. lt. 1662-d.; stannator, Foymore 1663, 1673; sub-commr. of prizes, Plymouth 1665-7, 1672-4; commr. for recusants, Cornw. 1675.3
Commr. for accounts, loyal and indigent officers 1671.4
Coryton’s ancestors were established in Devon by the reign of Henry III. They acquired Newton Ferrers, two miles from Callington, in the 16th century, and a younger son of the family sat for Liskeard in 1558. Coryton’s father was one of the leaders of the Opposition in Charles I’s early Parliament, but he was expelled from the Long Parliament for administrative abuses as vice-warden of the stannaries and mayor of Bossiney, and fought for the King as colonel of foot. Coryton himself, after serving under John Berkeley, also seems to have been in command of a Cavalier regiment when he and his father surrendered to (Sir) Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax early in 1646. They escaped fairly lightly, the father’s fine being formally granted to Coryton’s unmarried sister, who had negotiated their surrender, while Coryton himself to avoid ‘being troubled’ compounded at £297 after succeeding to the estate. He came under suspicion after Booth’s rising ‘for having a store of stately horses and letting his house at rack-rent for three years on pretence of living in London’. According to the informer, he was ‘esteemed a fighting man, and one of great influence’; but the depositions were too vague to permit any action against him.5
As a Cavalier Coryton was excluded from standing at the general election of 1660, but was returned for Callington when Edward Herle chose another seat. In the Convention he was inactive, being appointed only to the committee to consider a petition from the serjeant-at-arms. He seems to have returned both Members for Callington in 1661, when he was himself elected knight of the shire. An active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 265 committees and acted as teller in ten divisions, but he did not speak. In the opening session he was named to the committees for the security and uniformity bills. He acted as chairman of the committee to consider the petition from English slaves in North Africa, and, as one of the delegation which presented the address on this subject, reported the King’s answer to the House on 5 Apr. 1662. He was teller for the second reading of the additional corporations bill on 30 Apr. 1664, and was appointed to the committee. He took the chair in the committee on the bill for building a church at Falmouth, and helped to manage the conference. In 1665 he was granted a patent to erect lighthouses on the Channel coast in 1665, levying 6d. a ton on all foreign ships anchoring between the Isle of Wight and Mount’s Bay. He appears to have owed his appointment as prize commissioner in the second Dutch war and an award of £400 to the influence of John Evelyn, the diarist. He twice represented the Cornish tinners in negotiations with the Government.6
In 1667 Coryton was appointed to consider the petition against Lord Mordaunt and the bill establishing a public accounts commission, but his attitude to the fall of Clarendon cannot be assessed. On 11 Dec. he was among those instructed to bring in a bill regarding the loyal and indigent officers fund, and he was later appointed one of the commissioners to take the accounts. His name occurs on both lists of the court party in 1669-71, Sir Thomas Osborne including him among the Members to be engaged by the Duke of Buckingham. But he was appointed to the committees to prevent illegal imprisonment and to inspect the Conventicles and Militia Acts, and seems to have acted as teller against the Court in a minor division on supply on 10 Dec. 1670. His chief concern, however, was to prevent the transfer of the summer sessions for Cornwall to Bodmin from Launceston, where he was recorder. After telling in three divisions against the bill he was forced to admit defeat, but it failed to pass the House of Lords. He was named on the Paston list of court supporters in 1673-4. His application for appointment as additional navy commissioner at Plymouth in 1674 was unsuccessful, but in the following year he was granted a long lease of a crown manor in Cornwall on exceptionally favourable terms. He received the government whip for the autumn session, and was appointed to the committee for the bill to hinder Papists from sitting in Parliament. His name appears on the working lists, and Sir Richard Wiseman included him among the Cornish Members whom the Earl of Bath and Lord Arundell of Trerice ( Richard Arundell) ‘can certainly make sure of’. In 1677 he was granted an excise pension of £400 p.a., and Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’. The author of Flagellum Parliamentariumnoted his lighthouse patent, and accused him, like his county colleague Jonathan Trelawny I, of cheating the Prize Office. His name was on both lists of the court party in 1678.7
Coryton was returned for Callington at the general election, and his two sons were elected at Newport and Bossiney. Marked ‘vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list, he became a moderately active Member of the first Exclusion Parliament. The most important of his 11 committees was to bring in a bill for banishing Papists from the metropolitan area and confining them to the neighbourhood of their homes. He voted against the exclusion bill. He was returned for Launceston in the autumn, but died before the second Exclusion Parliament met, being buried at St. Mellion on 23 Aug. 1680.8
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson
- 1. Lysons, Environs, ii. 9.
- 2. List of Officers Claiming (1663), 11, 31; SP23/200/621.
- 3. R. and O. B. Peter, Launceston, 406; HMC Var. i. 333; Add. 6713, f. 377; Nat. Maritime Museum, Southwell mss 17/15.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1671, p. 255.
- 5. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 101; Keeler, Long Parl. 143; M. Coate, Cornw. in Civil War, 26, 29, 103, 206-7, 226; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1679.
- 6. SP29/115/21; CJ, viii. 395, 554, 561, 564; CSP Dom. 1664-5, p. 205; Add. 15857, f. 186; Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 142; iv. 227.
- 7. CJ, ix. 214, 224, 233; LJ, xii. 485; Cat. Pepysian Mss (Navy Rec. Soc. lvii), 22; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 841.
- 8. CJ, ix. 605.