LEWKNOR, John II (1658-1707), of Westdean, nr. Chichester, Suss.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Commr. for assessment, Suss. 1677-80, 1689-90, j.p. 1680-96, 1700-d., dep. lt. 1685-?89; common councilman, Chichester 1685-Oct. 1688.2
As Lewknor’s epitaph recorded, he was still under age when he was returned to the first Exclusion Parliament as knight of the shire. Marked ‘base’ on Shaftesbury’s list, he voted against the bill. At the autumn election of 1679 he transferred to the family borough of Midhurst, but throughout the period he served on no committees and made no speeches. On 7 Jan. 1681 he was given leave to go into the country, but at the next election, two months later, he was replaced by William Montagu II, already or soon to become his wife’s paramour. He was appointed to the Chichester corporation under the new charter. By 1685 Lewknor had discovered the intrigue and spent highly to defeat his rival at Midhurst. He was to retain this seat in the next seven Parliaments. Montagu and his father had to give security of £1,500 against further misconduct; but in December the couple eloped.3
To the lord lieutenant’s questions in 1688, Lewknor replied that he would ‘consent readily to the abrogating of the Penal Laws and Tests, provided that the Church of England may be secured by Act of Parliament in her legal rights and possessions’. This was construed as a favourable answer; he remained in local office, and was recommended to the Roman Catholic Viscount Montagu as court candidate for Midhurst. In the Convention, according to Ailesbury’s list, he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. He is also said to have supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, perhaps to prevent Whig opposition to his bill to illegitimize his wife’s children, which was never reported from committee. He later acted with the Tories, at first refusing to sign the Association in 1696. He died on 19 Feb. 1707, and was buried at Westdean. His cousin and heir, William Knight†, sat for Midhurst from 1713 to his death.4