DRAKE, Sir William, 1st Bt. (1606-69), of Shardeloes, nr. Amersham, Bucks.
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Family and Education
bap. 28 Sept. 1606, 1st s. of Francis Drake†, gent. of the privy chamber, of Esher, Surr. by Joan, da. and coh. of William Tothill, a six clerk in Chancery, of Shardeloes. educ. Amersham (Dr Charles Croke); Christ Church, Oxf. 1624; M. Temple 1626; G. Inn 1629, travelled abroad 1630-?37; Leyden 1634. unm. suc. fa. 1634; kntd. 14 July 1641; cr. Bt. 17 July 1641.2
Commr. for defence, midland assoc. 1642, j.p. Bucks. by 1647-53, 1661-d., commr. for militia 1648, Mar. 1660, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-1, commr. for assessment 1661-d., corporations 1662-3.3
Chirographer of common pleas 1652-9.4
Drake’s grandfather, a younger son of the Ashe family, became in 1572 its first Member of Parliament. Of puritan stock on both sides of the family, Drake inherited Shardeloes from his maternal grandfather, a wealthy chancery official, and added to it the manor of Amersham in 1637, thereby acquiring an impregnable interest in the borough, which he represented in the Short and Long Parliaments. A bibliophile and a classical scholar, he took no active part in politics during the Civil War and Interregnum. He spent many years abroad, even after he was appointed by the Rump to the valuable office of chirographer, or custos brevium, in the common pleas, which he doubtless exercised by deputy.5
Although Drake resumed his seat with the secluded Members in February 1660, he is not known to have stood at the general election; but he was returned to the Cavalier Parliament in 1661 and listed by Lord Wharton as a friend. An inactive Member, he was appointed six times to the committee of elections and privileges; but his only legislative committee was on the bill to cancel the fines extorted from Lady Powell (see William Powell), for which he may have borne some official responsibility. He died in London on 28 Aug. 1669 and was buried at Amersham, where he endowed the almshouses. He was succeeded in his estates and in Parliament by his nephew.6