HUNGERFORD, Giles (1614-85), of Freefolk, Hants and East Coulston, Wilts.

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

Constituency

Dates

Oct. 1679

Family and Education

bap. 25 Sept. 1614, 5th s. of Sir Anthony Hungerford of Stokke House, Great Bedwyn, Wilts. and Blackbourton, Oxon., being 4th s. by 2nd w. Sarah, da. and coh. of Giles Crouch, Haberdasher, of Cornhill, London, wid. of William Wiseman of Woolstone, Uffington, Berks.; bro. of Henry Hungerford. educ. Oxf. 1631; M. Temple 1634, called 1641. m. (1) 23 May 1654, Frances, da. of Sir George Croke, j.K.b. 1628-41, of Waterstock, Oxon., coh. to her bro. Thomas, and wid. of Richard Jervoise of Freefolk, s.p.; (2) by 1673, Margaret (d. 4 Dec. 1711), da. of Sir Thomas Hampson, 1st Bt. of Taplow, Bucks., 1da. Kntd. 27 Nov. 1676.1

Offices Held

J.p. Hants and Mdx. 1659-July 1660, Wilts. 1666-d.; commr. for militia, Hants and Mdx. Mar. 1660, assessment, Hants Aug. 1660-9, Mdx. 1661-9, Wilts. 1666-80, Glos. 1677-9, Berks. 1677-80, recusants, Hants 1675.

Biography

Hungerford was brought up with his brother Henry and likewise became a barrister. But nothing more is heard of him until at the age of 40 he married the widow of Richard Jervoise, MP for Whitchurch in the Long Parliament, and went to live on her jointure, within a couple of miles of the borough. Hungerford, too, was returned for Whitchurch in 1660, but he was probably inactive in the Convention, though marked by Lord Wharton as a friend. His only speech was on the bill to make reparations to the royalist Marquess of Winchester, part of whose estate had been granted to Sir Thomas Jervoise and Robert Wallop in 1649. It is not clear whether he declared an interest, but he urged the rejection of the bill, ‘and said the grant was not prejudicial to my lord’ because if he had refused his consent his whole estate would have been sold by the Long Parliament. His only certain committee was for this bill.2

Hungerford was re-elected in 1661 and became an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to 171 committees, taking the chair in nine, and acted as teller in six divisions. Clearly an opponent of the Clarendon administration, he was probably too hostile to Roman Catholicism to join the Earl of Bristol’s followers in the Commons. Although no longer included by Wharton among his friends, his antipathy towards the dignitaries of the Church was no doubt responsible for his selection to deliver a copy of the petition from George Lowe to the treasurer of Salisbury Cathedral, and to ask the master of St. Cross to afford the vicar of Twyford a competent maintenance. He took no part in the Clarendon Code, except to act as teller for postponing a debate on the uniformity bill on 15 Apr. 1662. He was among those Members instructed to ask the lord treasurer to enable the House to consider the survey of the Forest of Dean and to ask the King to forbear any grants of mines royal pending legislation. In 1663 he reported that the complaints of the hackney coachmen against extortion by the clerk and messenger attached to the licensing commission were well-founded. He reported several amendments from the committee on the Marquess of Worcester’s steam engine, designed to protect future inventions. He took the chair for the mines royal bill, but it was recommitted on report. As chairman of the committee to confirm the King’s arbitration between Lord Winchester and his son (Charles Powlett I), he obtained an order to compel a scrivener to deliver to him the relevant documents, and reported the bill on 21 May.3

Hungerford seems to have conformed to the Church of England after his first wife’s death, becoming a Wiltshire j.p. in 1666. His estate was valued at only £500 p.a., but this was before his purchase of East Coulston, six miles from Devizes. As chairman of the committee set up to receive information about the insolence of Popish priests and Jesuits, he presented two reports to the House, and was sent to the Lords to request their concurrence in an address. On the fall of Clarendon he was appointed to the committees to inquire into the sale of Dunkirk and the miscarriages of the second Dutch war, and to ascertain how far the revenue had been applied to the purposes for which it was granted. In his only recorded speech, on 28 Feb. 1669, he complained that the orders of the navy board for the paying off of seamen had not been carried out. He helped to consider the bill for regulating juries, and to inspect the Conventicles and Militia Acts in 1670. In 1674 he was added to the committee to devise a general test, appointed to the inquiry into the state of Ireland, and took the chair for the bill to prevent illegal exactions. In November 1675 he was teller for the Opposition on two divisions, the effects of which were to continue the debate on appropriating supply for the use of the navy and to remind the Lords of the bill to hinder Papists from sitting in Parliament. He was also appointed to the committees to prevent the growth of Popery and to preserve the liberty of the subject. During the long recess he accepted a knighthood, but it is not clear that this affected his politics, though his activity was reduced. In the last three sessions of the Cavalier Parliament he was named to only three committees. But in 1677 Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly worthy’, and he acted as teller for denying the court supporter, Sir Robert Holte, protection against his creditors. On 14 Nov. 1678 he was added to the committee to examine Coleman’s papers.4

It is not known whether Hungerford stood in February 1679, but in August he was elected for Devizes. The return was, however, challenged by the Court candidates on such unassailable grounds that he did not venture to take his seat, though the petition was never reported. It was presumably owing to this passivity that he was not removed from the commission of the peace, although his nephew, (Sir) Edward Hungerford, had become one of the most prominent local Whigs. He appears to have contested Devizes again in 1681, but this time his opponents were elected, and his petition was not reported. He died on 7 Mar.