HUTCHINSON, John (1615-64), of Owthorpe, Notts.

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



16 Mar. 1646
Apr. - 9 June 1660

Family and Education

bap. 18 Sept. 1615, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Thomas Hutchinson of Owthorpe by 1st w. Margaret, da. of Sir John Byron of Newstead Abbey, Notts.educ. Nottingham g.s. to 1628, 1631-2; Lincoln g.s. 1628-31; Peterhouse, Camb. 1632-6, BA 1634; L. Inn 1636-8. m. 3 July 1638, Lucy, da. of Sir Allen Apsley, lt. of the Tower 1617-30, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. fa. 1643.1

Offices Held

J.p. Notts. 1642-June 1660, commr. for defence of associated counties 1642, sequestration 1643, levying of money 1643, assessment 1644-52, 1657, northern assoc. 1645; freeman, Nottingham 1645; commr. for militia, Notts. 1648, c.-in-c. militia 1650, sheriff 1658-Feb. 1660; commr. for militia, Leics. and Notts. 1659, Mar. 1660, assessment Jan. 1660; custos rot. Notts. Mar.-June 1660.2

Lt.-col. of ft. (parliamentary) 1642-3, col. 1643-7; gov. Nottingham 1643-7.3

Commr. for exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648; member, high court of justice 1649; Councillor of State 13 Feb. 1649-51.


Hutchinson’s ancestors had been minor Nottinghamshire landowners for five generations. They had intermarried with the leading county families, but Hutchinson’s father, three times elected knight of the shire, was the first of the family to enter Parliament. He was nominated royalist commissioner of array and parliamentary commissioner for sequestrations, but probably acted in neither capacity. He continued to sit at Westminster as a member of the peace party till his death in August 1643, when he left everything he could to his second family and away from his more radical elder sons. Hutchinson became an Independent under his wife’s influence, took up arms for the Parliament and was ‘as zealous against the late King at the time of his trial as any other of his judges’. But he opposed the Protectorate, standing unsuccessfully against the court candidates for Nottinghamshire in 1656. During the Civil War and the Interregnum he had made few enemies among his own class, and by ‘improving all opportunities against the honest party’, notably Sir Henry Vane, he was able through his connexions at Court to await the Restoration with complacency, if not with the enthusiasm that his friends alleged. He had some thoughts of standing for the county again in 1660, but desisted at the request of William Pierrepont, and was brought in for Nottingham by his colleague Arthur Stanhope, who ‘laboured more for the colonel than for himself’.4

Hutchinson duly went up to Westminster for the opening of Parliament. He had made no speeches and sat on no committees when he was called on to explain his participation in the high court of justice. ‘If he had erred’, he told the House on 12 May, ‘it was the inexperience of his age and the defect of his judgment. ... He had made shipwreck of all things but a good conscience; and as to that particular action of the King, he desired them to believe he had that sense of it that befitted an Englishman, a Christian and a gentleman.’ This conditional penitence contrasted unfavourably with the tearful performance of Richard Ingoldsby, nor could Hutchinson seriously claim to have assisted the Restoration, and with the other regicides he was suspended from sitting. Though the Commons insisted on his privilege when the Lords issued an order to secure his person and estate, both were now in danger, and in a letter calendared under 5 June Mrs Hutchinson either persuaded him to sign, or, according to her own account, forged his signature to a much humbler statement, in which he expressed his concern that ‘in the surprise of being proceeded against as a fugitive by the late proclamation, after claiming the benefit of the King’s pardon, he did not speak in the House with a sufficient sense of his guilt’. His royalist brother-in-law Sir Allen Apsley was working hard for him behind the scenes. In the debate on the indemnity bill Roger Palmer and Heneage Finch spoke warmly in his favour, and he was merely discharged from sitting and declared incapable of holding public office. To the House of Lords he made a ‘humble and sorrowful acknowledgment of those crimes whereunto seduced judgment, and not malice nor any other self-respect, unfortunately betrayed him’, attaching to it a charitably mendacious certificate of his long-standing crypto-royalism signed by Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper and eight others of impeccable loyalty. Meanwhile the Lower House on the recommendation of Edward King added to the indemnity bill a proviso to compel Hutchinson to refund certain grants made to him by the Long Parliament at the expense of the Newark Royalists, but this, with other similar clauses, was struck out by the Lords. In its place two of the Nottinghamshire Cavaliers brought in a separate bill to raise £2,680 and damages out of his estate. Hutchinson employed Finch as his counsel, but the bill passed the Lords, despite his eloquence and the partiality of Lord Dorchester in the chair of the committee, only to be rejected by the Commons on the second reading by 85 votes to 45.5

Hutchinson had succeeded in preserving his life, liberty and estate, but not for long. True, the Newark bill again failed in the first session of the Cavalier Parliament; but he was a marked man, and when his name was mentioned in connexion with the Derwentdale Plot in 1663 he was ordered to be arrested. After 11 months’ imprisonment he died on 11 Sept. 1664. His own family, loaded with debt, vanished into obscurity, but his half-brother Charles, who bought the estate from them in 1671, was prominent on the Whig side during the Nottingham charter riot, and sat for the borough from 1690 till his death.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Hutchinson Mems. 23, 29, 31, 32, 46; Nottingham Bor. Recs. v. 131.
  • 2. Hutchinson Mems. 80, 343; Nottingham Bor. Recs. v. 239; CSP Dom. 1650, p. 506; A. C. Wood, Notts. in the Civil War, 181.
  • 3. Hutchinson Mems. 116, 132, 167, 276.
  • 4. Keeler, Long Parl. 227-8; Voyce from the Watch Tower, 175; Thurloe, v. 299; Hutchinson, Mems. 362-5.
  • 5. Hutchinson Mems. 367-8; CJ, viii. 24, 41, 56, 60, 84, 86, 205; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 39; HMC 7th Rep. 120; Bowman diary, f. 61v; HMC Var. vii. 371-2; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 882, 942; LJ, xi. 118-19, 167.
  • 6. CJ, viii. 371; HMC Portland, ii. 144; CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 437-8.