LOVELACE, Hon. John (c.1642-93), of Water Eaton, Oxon. and Hurley, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1642, 1st s. of John, 2nd Baron Lovelace of Hurley by Lady Anne Wentworth, da. and h. of Thomas, 1st Earl of Cleveland. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1655, MA 1661. m. 28 Aug. 1662, aged 20, Martha, da. and coh. of Sir Edmund Pye, 1st Bt., of Bradenham, Bucks., 1s. d.v.p. 3da. suc. fa. as 3rd Baron 25 Sept. 1670.1
Commr. for oyer and terminer, Oxford circuit 1661, assessment, Berks. 1661-9, Oxon. 1664-9, loyal and indigent officers, Berks. 1662; j.p. Berks., Bucks. and Oxon. 1663-7, by 1670-80, Beds., Essex, Herts., Kent and Westminster to 1680, Woodstock 1675, Mdx. and Oxon. 1689-d.; dep. lt. Berks. 1662-7, by 1670-80, Oxon. by 1670-83, 1689-d.; steward and lieutenant, Woodstock manor and park 1670-8, 1692-d.; freeman, Chipping Wycombe 1672, Oxford 1680; common councilman, Woodstock 1673-?81; high steward, Wallingford 1689-d., Wycombe 1689-93.2
Capt. of gent. pensioners 1689-d.; c.j. in eyre (south) 1689-d.3
Col. of ft. Mar.-Sept. 1689.
The descent of the Berkshire Lovelaces can be traced with certainty only from 1518. An ancestor, John Lovelace†, purchased Hurley in 1545 and sat for Reading in 1554. Lovelace’s father joined Charles I at Oxford in August 1643. He compounded for £7,057 7s.5d. in 1652 and was said to have contracted debts of £20,000 in the King’s service, leaving his estates seriously encumbered. At the Restoration he was made lord lieutenant of Berkshire and a Privy Councillor.4
Lovelace’s election for Berkshire in 1661 under age was presumably a tribute to his father. He sat for nine years in the Lower House of the Cavalier Parliament, but he was not active, serving on no more than 34 committees, probably including those for the corporations bill, the uniformity bill and the bill for the execution of those under attainder, for which he was the first to be named. On 13 May 1662 he may have acted as teller in a division on the Lords’ amendments to the bill for regulating the Norfolk cloth trade. He probably sat on the committee to consider remedies against meetings of dissenters in April 1663, On 18 May he acted as teller for an additional clause to forbid the sale of titles in the bill to prevent abuses in sales of offices, but he was not named to the committee. He was listed among the court dependants in 1664. But soon afterwards he was in trouble with the Privy Council for beating a collector of hearth-tax, and in 1666 Andrew Marvell included him among the Opposition. He was appointed to the committee for the bill to prevent cattle imports. After helping to consider a bill to extend the time allowed to his grandfather, Lord Cleveland, for the redemption of mortgages, he carried it to the Lords. On 7 Jan. 1667 he was teller against imposing double taxation on nonconformists. He took no known part in the attack on Clarendon, and probably went over to the Court soon afterwards. His name appeared on both lists of 1669-71 among those who had usually voted for supply. On 23 Feb. 1670 he carried to the Lords a private bill settling the estates of an Oxfordshire landowner, the Earl of Downe.5
‘A man of good natural parts, but of very ill and very loose principles’, Lovelace had already shown signs of inheriting his father’s alcoholic tendencies, and in 1670 he also inherited his title and debts. He was among the opposition peers in 1675, and became a member of the Green Ribbon Club. He played a prominent part in Whig electioneering during the exclusion crisis, notably at Woodstock and Oxford, and voted for the second bill in the House of Lords. After the Rye House Plot he was arrested at a Whig meeting in Reading, attended by John Blagrave and Nathan Knight among others, but he was quickly released on bail. He paid a flying visit to Holland in September 1688, and played a prominent part in the Revolution. He was taken prisoner at Cirencester on 11 Nov. at the head of a party of horse attempting to join William of Orange, who made him captain of his gentlemen pensioners and chief justice in eyre south of the Trent. He sold Water Eaton to his son-in-law, Sir Henry Johnson, in 1692, and died in Lincoln’s Inn Fields on 27 Sept. 1693. He was buried at Hurley, but this estate was also sold by his creditors. A cousin inherited the title, but no later member of the family sat in the Lower House.6