KNATCHBULL, John (c.1636-96), of Mersham Hatch, Kent.

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

Constituency

Dates

1685
1689
1690

Family and Education

b. c.1636, 1st s. of, Sir Norton Knatchbull 1st Bt.. educ. Trinity Coil. Camb. 1652; I. Temple 1655. m. 17 Jan. 1659, Jane, da. and coh. of Sir Edward Monyns, 2nd Bt., of Waldershare, 3s. d.v.p. 9da. suc. fa. 5 Feb. 1685.

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Kent Mar. 1660, maj. of militia horse Apr. 1660-at least 1685; freeman, New Romney Apr. 1660; commr. for assessment, Kent Aug. 1660-80, for sewers, Denge marsh Oct. 1660, Walland marsh Dec. 1660, 1689-90, corporations, Kent 1662-3, dep. lt. by 1670-Feb. 1688, 1689-d., commr. for recusants 1675, j.p. 1680-Feb. 1688, 1689-d.1

Commr. for privy seal 1690-2.2

Biography

Knatchbull was returned with his father for New Romney at the general election of 1660, but was named to no committees in the Convention and made no recorded speeches. With the revival of government interest in 1661 he lost his seat to a courtier, Sir Charles Berkeley II. It is perhaps surprising at first sight that he should fail to find a seat in any of the Exclusion Parliaments after his father had retired from public life. But his marriage had drawn him into kinship with Lord Treasurer Danby, the other Monyns coheir having married Peregrine Bertie I, and his brother was secretary to the lord chancellor (Heneage Finch), which would have made his candidature unacceptable during the exclusion crisis. He was a prudent man, both politically and financially, maintaining a credit balance of between £4,000 and £6,000 at Hoare’s Bank. He was warmly backed by the Court for the county seat in 1685, but was nevertheless listed by Danby among the Opposition. An active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to 15 committees, of which the most important were to recommend expunctions from the Journals and to consider the bill for the general naturalization of Huguenot refugees.3

In answer to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, Knatchbull reserved his judgment for the debates in the House. ‘He does not think it proper to assist to the election of such as will previously declare their opinions.’ He was removed from local office, though the King’s election agents described him in the same terms as