MAY, Sir Algernon (c.1625-1704), of Old Windsor, Berks. and Ampton, Suff.

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



23 May 1689

Family and Education

b. c.1625, 5th s. of Sir Humphrey May of Carrow Priory, Norf., chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster 1618-30, by 2nd w. Judith, da. of Sir William Poley of Boxted, Suff., bro. of Baptist May. m. 15 June 1662, Dorothy, da. of James Reynolds of Castle Camps, Cambs. and h. to her bro. John Reynolds, wid. of Sir James Calthorpe of Cockthorpe, Norf., 1s. 1da. Kntd. by 1662.1

Offices Held

Equerry to Queen Catherine of Braganza 1662-8; keeper of the records 1670-?86.2

J.p. Suff. 1663-87; commr. for assessment, Suff. 1663-4, 1673-4, Berks. 1677-80, Berks. and New Windsor 1690; dep. lt. Suff. by 1671-85; freeman, New Windsor 1689.3


May came from a cadet branch of a Sussex family. His grandfather, a Merchant Taylor, bought the manor of Rawmere in 1581. His father, a younger son, sat in all the early Stuart Parliaments, and his uncle Hugh (father of Richard May) established the family connexion with the Windsor area. Details of May’s early career and the date and circumstances of his knighthood are lacking. He is first heard of as equerry to the Queen, whom he entertained at his lodge near Windsor in 1675, but he tended to be eclipsed at Court by his brother. A fortunate marriage to the sister of a distinguished Cromwellian soldier brought him the Suffolk manor of Ampton, as well as lands in Ireland. He succeeded William Prynne as keeper of the records in the Tower with a salary of £500 p.a., although the post had been promised to Gervase Holles, whose Cavalier and Anglican sympathies were out of vogue. Bu