MILWARD, John (1599-1670), of Snitterton, Darley Dale, Derbys.
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Family and Education
b. 28 Oct. 1599, 2nd s. of John Milward of Bradley Ash by Mary, da. of William Blount of Osbaldeston, Lancs. m. by 1633, Anne (d.1658), da. of James Whitehalgh of Whitehalgh, Ipstones, Staffs., 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 8da. suc. bro. 1634.1
Sheriff, Derbys. 1635-7, capt. of militia ft. 1635-42, commr. of array 1642, j.p. July 1660-d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d., loyal and indigent officers 1662.2
Col. of ft. (royalist) 1643-4.
Milward came from a cadet branch of the Bradley Ash family. His selection as sheriff responsible for the first levy of ship-money in Derbyshire suggests that his loyalty to the throne was outstanding from his earliest days. An active Royalist in the Civil War under the command of the 1st Duke of Newcastle, he was recommended for leniency by the county committee because he had restrained his soldiers from plundering. He laid down his arms after Marston Moor and seems to have had no difficulty in paying his £1,000 fine for delinquency.3
Milward renewed his connexion with the Cavendishes at the Restoration. It is clear from his letter-book that he was chiefly responsible for the organization of the Derbyshire militia under the 3rd Earl of Devonshire, whose support he doubtless enjoyed at the county by-election in 1665 occasioned by the grant of a peerage to John Frescheville. George Vernon stood down in Milward’s favour, and he was returned, probably unopposed, during the Oxford session of the Cavalier Parliament, but did not take his seat till 18 Sept. 1666, when he was introduced by Lord Ogle (Henry Cavendish) and Lawrence Hyde I. Although his diary shows that he was regular in attendance, he was much less active in committee than his lawyer cousin Robert, and seldom spoke. As ‘Colonel Milward’ he was appointed to only sixteen committees, but he also served on those to consider the bill for the illegitimation of Lady Roos’s children and the petition from the French merchants. On 23 Jan. 1667 he obtained in order from the House for the reading of a local estate bill, for which his cousin had taken the chair in committee. In the debate on Clarendon’s impeachment he voted against the charge of advising arbitrary power, but for the charge of betraying the King’s secret counsels to France. He spoke against the general naturalization bill, because it might ‘prove dangerous to the government established in the church, and so scandalize our religion’. He was horrified by the bill for triennial Parliaments introduced by Sir Richard Temple after the Christmas recess, which he considered a dangerous encroachment on the prerogative. On 13 Mar. 1668 he voted for the continuance of the Conventicles Act. He refused to give information to the lord keeper about negligent justices of the peace, but offered to tell the House which of them had been committeemen or decimators, ‘if they would put them out’. He was appointed to the committee to inquire into the fining of jurymen. On the first day of the next session Milward was given leave to attend the funeral of his eldest son, and he never resumed his diary. He was noted by Sir Thomas Osborne among those to be engaged for the Court by the Duke of Buckingham and his friends. His last committee appointment was for the sale of fee-farm rents on 5 Apr. 1670. He died on 14 Sept. and was buried at Darley. A local poet described him as a kind landlord, a good neighbour, and a careful father. The family became extinct in the male line in 1681 on the death of his son Henry after a drinking bout.4
As a newcomer to Parliament, Milward carefully recorded the minutiae of business. His dairy, probably written for Lord Devonshire’s benefit, does not concentrate on high politics but gives as much space to matters of routine. Anchitell Grey, who was probably inspired by his example, improved on it by a greater use of direct quotation or summary of individual speeches. Milward’s attitudes were those to be expected of a Cavalier colonel. A Royalist and an Anglican, he had little sympathy for dissenters. But his voting record shows that he was far from a blind follower of the Court; he listened to the debates and voted in accordance with his reason and conscience.5