DARCY, Hon. Conyers (1622-92), of Hornby Castle, Yorks.

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



Family and Education

bap. 3 Mar. 1622, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Conyers, later 5th Baron Darcy, by Grace, da. and h. of Thomas Rokeby of Skiers. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1637; G. Inn 1640. m. (1) 14 May 1645, Lady Catherine Fane (bur. 30 Aug. 1649), da. of Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland, s.p.; (2) 6 Feb. 1650, Lady Frances Howard (d. 9 Apr. 1670), da. of Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Berkshire, 3s. 3da.; (3) 19 May 1672, Lady Frances Seymour (bur. 5 Jan. 1681), da. of William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, wid. of Richard, 2nd Visct. Molyneux, and of Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, s.p.; (4) 8 Jan. 1685, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of John Frescheville, 1st Baron Frescheville of Staveley, wid. of Philip Warwick of Frognal, Chislehurst, Kent, s.p. summ. to Lords in fa.’s barony as Lord Conyers 1 Nov. 1680; suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Holdernesse 14 June 1689.1

Offices Held

Commr. for northern assoc. Yorks. (W. Riding) 1645; j.p. (N. Riding), 1646-9, 1661-Feb. 1688, Nov. 1688-d., (W. Riding) 1647-9, 1671-Sept. 1688, Nov. 1688-?d.; commr. for assessment (N. Riding) Aug. 1660-80, (W. Riding) 1661-80; col. of militia ft. (N. Riding) by 1661-81; dep. lt. (N. Riding) 1661-Feb. 1688, (W. Riding) 1677-81; commr. for loyal and indigent officers, Yorks. 1662, corporations 1662-3; constable, Middleham Castle 1671-d.; bailiff, Richmond liberty 1672-d.; commr. for recusants (W. and E. Ridings) 1675.2

Capt. indep. tp. 1667.


Darcy could trace his descent from a Domesday tenant-in-chief with substantial holdings in Lincolnshire. A later member of the family, with the not inappropriate Christian name of Norman, represented that county in three Parliaments of Edward III, and two medieval baronies were created by writs of summons to the Upper House. In 1641 one of them was called out of abeyance, together with the barony of Conyers which was claimed in the female line, for Darcy’s grandfather. His father, a royalist commander in the Civil War, compounded on a fine of £2,992 for his delinquency, though the value of his estate was computed at over £4,000 p.a.3

Although Darcy himself was nominated in 1645 to the committee for the northern association, and to the commission of the peace in the following year, he is unlikely to have served. However, it may have been believed that this was sufficient to put him outside the scope of the Long Parliament ordinance against the candidature of Cavaliers and their sons, and at the general election of 1660 he was returned for Boroughbridge on the interest of his brother-in-law, (Sir) Henry Stapleton. His only possible committee in the Convention was the committee of elections and privileges. In the following year he was returned for the county. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 32 committees at most, including the elections committee in six sessions. He was appointed by full name to 18 committees, including those to consider the bill of pains and penalties (4 July 1661) and to report on defects in the Corporations Act (6 Mar. 1663). Thereafter his career in the House is noteworthy only for his membership of successive election committees. In 1669 Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members to be gained for the Court by the Duke of Buckingham. His name was included on the working lists, but it was noted that he had been missing from an important debate. However, Sir Richard Wiseman listed him among the court supporters, and Shaftesbury classed him as ‘doubly vile’. According to A Seasonable Argument he had been ‘assisted by the Court in stealing the Lord Lexinton’s sister from her guardian for his son’ (John Darcy). He was on both lists of the court party in 1678, and petitioned for a cornetcy in the yeoman of the guard for his son Philip Darcy. Forwarding the petition to (Sir) Joseph Williamson, Osborne (now Lord Treasurer Danby) commented:

Besides his quality, you are enough witness of his constant and faithful serving of the crown; and since his Majesty has promised him a kindness, I know not how he can receive one more easy for the King to grant. If additional arguments be needed in his behalf, it is no ill one that he does not only serve the crown well but at his own expense.4

As one of the ‘unanimous club’, Darcy did not contest the elections of 1679, and when the second Exclusion Parliament met he was called up to the House of Lords in his father’s second barony. He opposed the policies of James II, and seems to have been involved, in a minor way, with the preparations for the northern uprising in 1688. He died at Aston on 13 Dec. 1692 and was buried at Hornby.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / P. A. Bolton / Paula Watson


  • 1. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ii. 83-84; Soc. of Genealogists, Coventry St. Michael bishops’ transcripts.
  • 2. HMC Var. ii. 165; C. Clarkson, Richmond, p. xcix; CSP Dom. 1671, p. 158; 1685-6, p. 116; Yale Univ. Lib. Osborn mss; HMC Astley, 49.
  • 3. Parl. Rep. Yorks. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xcvi), 87; VCH Yorks. N. Riding, i. 79, 315; J. T. Cliffe, Yorks. Gentry, 99-100; Royalist Comp. Pprs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xx), 7-8.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1678, p. 458; SP29/407/22.
  • 5. Browning, Danby, ii. 137.