DERING, Edward (1650-89), of Surrenden Dering, Kent.
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Family and Education
Commr. for assessment, Kent 1673-80, 1689, j.p. 1679- 80, 1689-d., col. of militia by 1680-1, dep. lt. Feb. 1688-d.
Col. (later 27 Ft.) Mar. 1689-d.2
Dering entered politics in 1677 as a follower of Sir Vere Fane, signing the protest against government support for Sir John Banks in the Winchelsea by-election. His own return for the county in three successive elections was regarded by his father as an almost unprecedented honour for the family, but in fact resulted from the exclusion crisis, and at both elections of 1679 he had to face a poll. He was listed as ‘honest’ by Shaftesbury, and voted for exclusion, but he was named to no committees and made no speeches in the first Exclusion Parliament. After re-election he was removed from the commission of the peace. In the second Exclusion Parliament he was named only to the committee on the bill for the banishment of Papists. On 15 Nov. 1680, during the debate on the Lords’ bill for regulating trials of peers, he moved that the bill might be temporary. ‘If it be a good bill, you may continue it.’ On 21 Dec. he presented a petition against committal by the Privy Council, which was referred to the committee of grievances. He was returned unopposed to the Oxford Parliament, but left no trace on its records.3
In 1681 Sir John Tufton and several other Kentish gentlemen attested a series of accusations against Dering, which were laid before the King. Among these were that he had drunk confusion to lawn sleeves, and had declared that a limited monarchy ‘was a—in a chamber pot’. It was said that he was favoured by the ‘fanatics’, and Lord Winchilsea, the lord lieutenant, alleged that he was ‘the principal person who obstructs your Majesty’s service, and hinders us in our addresses ’. Dering denied the charges, which his father attributed to envy and malice, though admitting privately that Dering had ‘taken more liberty in words than could well consist with the dutiful respect owing his King’, but the words were ‘rather irreverent than malicious ... much less mischievous’. He was more concerned about Dering’s debts, amounting to some £2,800.4
In July 1683, after the discovery of the Rye House Plot, Dering’s house was searched for arms, and though none were found Winchilsea was confident that Dering had hidden them, ‘for I had notice two or three years past’, he wrote, ‘that he had in one chamber 15 or 16 cases of pistols and five or six blunderbusses’. A few weeks later Dering and his father waited upon the King and the Duke of York to express their detestation of the plot.5
Dering did not stand in 1685, but it was reported that he gave his interest to Lewis Watson, who did not go to the poll. He was presumably a Whig collaborator, being recommended for the lieutenancy in February 1688, but ‘contributed more than any man in Kent towards bringing about the Revolution’, urging the militia to concentrate at Faversham to prevent any attempt to rescue James II. But he was defeated at Hythe, and Sir Vere Fane refused him his support in the county election for the Convention. ‘Much in King William’s interest’, he raised a regiment of foot and took it to Ireland. On 6 Oct. 1689, when it was probable that MPs in the army might be sent back to Westminster, he added a postscript to a letter from Henry Wharton to his brother Thomas:
I never repented my not being a Parliament man till now; but, however, when others move, pray let me pass for a Member.
He died, however, ‘of a flux’ on 15 Oct. at Dundalk, and was buried at Pluckley. His son sat for Kent in the second and fourth Parliaments of Queen Anne.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Basil Duke Henning
- 1. Information from P. H. Blake; F. Haslewood, Pluckley Mems. 7.
- 2. Kent AO, Q/JC/16, 17, 19.
- 3. Kent AO, Sa/ZB3/1; Grey, vii. 474; HMC 12th Rep. IX, 101.
- 4. Dering Pprs. 130-2; SP29/416/92; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 395.
- 5. CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 117; Dering Pprs. 145.
- 6. BL Loan 29/86, Abigail Stephens to Lady Harley, n.d.; N. and Q. (ser. 3), vi. 41, 122; Boyer, Hist. Wm. III, ii. 139; Add. 33923, ff. 461, 463; Arch. Cant. x. 341; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 623; Bodl. Carte 79, f. 261; G. Story, Hist. Wars in Ireland, pt. 1, p. 29.