LITTLETON, Sir Edward, 2nd Bt. (c.1632-1709), of Pillaton Hall and The Moat House, Tamworth, Staffs.

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

Constituency

Dates

5 Mar. 1663

Family and Education

b. c.1632, o.s. of Sir Edward Littleton, 1st Bt., of Pillaton Hall by 1st w. Hester, da. of Sir William Courten, merchant, of London. educ. Shrewsbury 1644. m. (1) c.1650, Mary (d.1665), da. of Sir Walter Wrottesley, 1st Bt., of Wrottesley, 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 6da.; (2) by 1674, his cos. Joyce, da. of Edward (or George) Littleton of Shuston, Church Eaton, 5s. 2da. suc. fa. Aug. 1657.1

Offices Held

Commr. for oyer and terminer, Oxford circuit July 1660; j.p. Staffs. July 1660-Mar. 1688, Oct. 1688-d.; dep. lt. Staffs. c. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-1703, Herefs. by 1701-?3; commr. for assessment, Staffs. Aug. 1660-80, Herefs. and Staffs. 1689-90; capt. vol. horse, Staffs. by 1662, commr. for recusants 1675.2

Gent. of privy chamber 1671-85, 1692-1702.3

Biography

Littleton was descended from the great lawyer through his second son, who married the heiress of Pillaton and sat for Ludlow in 1491-2. His father, a ship-money sheriff, was returned for Staffordshire at both elections of 1640 as a supporter of the country party. He served on the county committee, but went over to the King in 1643, and sat at Oxford. He was taken prisoner at the fall of Worcester in 1646, but was unable to compound owing to his debts. However, the family trustees, Richard Knightley and Richard Salway, bought back his forfeited estates.4

Littleton was included among the Staffordshire Royalists by Roger Whitley in 1658. In a list of the county gentry drawn up in 1662, when he was 30, he was described as loyal, orthodox and sober, but of only ordinary parts. His estate was valued at £1,500 p.a. On 1 Nov. Lord Brooke, the lord lieutenant, wrote to Lord Chancellor Clarendon that he had persuaded all parties among the gentry to agree on Littleton as knight of the shire in succession to Sir Thomas Leigh, but that he would be ineligible if he were pricked as sheriff. He avoided the unpopular office, and was elected to the Cavalier Parliament, probably unopposed, four months later. An inactive Member, he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges in four sessions, and to only seven others. In his first session he helped to consider the additional bill for the relief of loyal and indigent officers and to conduct the inquiry into the conduct of Sir Richard Temple, and in 1664 he was among those to whom a petition from navy creditors was entrusted. His last committee was on 13 Nov. 1670, and shortly afterwards he purchased the Moat House at Tamworth, where he lived with his second wife, though the legitimacy of their three eldest children was apparently doubtful. On the working lists he was noted as under the influence of his colleague, Randolph Egerton, but Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly worthy’. On 13 Dec. 1678 he was sent for in custody as a defaulter.5

It is unlikely that Littleton stood again. He may have supported exclusion, since he was dropped from the lieutenancy in 1680, and it was his son who represented the county in James II’s Parliament. He evaded the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was removed from the commission of the peace. But he accepted the Revolution. He was buried at Tamworth on 31 July 1709. His will does not mention his grandchildren by his first wife.