NAPIER, alias SANDY, Sir John, 1st Bt. (1636-1711), of Luton Hoo, Beds.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 5 July 1636, 2nd s. of Sir Robert Napier, 2nd Bt.†, of Luton Hoo, being 1st s. by 2nd w. Lady Penelope Egerton, da. of John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgwater. m. 29 Aug. 1666, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Theophilus Biddulph, 1st Bt. of Westcombe Park, Greenwich, Kent, 7s. (3 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. in Beds. estates 1661; cr. Bt. 4 Mar. 1661; suc. nephew as 4th Bt. Apr. 1675.1
Commr. for assessment, Beds. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90, Bedford 1665-80, Yorks. (N. Riding) 1673-80; j.p. Beds. 1664-87, Feb. 1688-?d., dep. lt. Feb. 1688-?d.
Napier was the grandson of a successful Turkey merchant who bought Luton Hoo in 1611, sat for the county, and liked to fancy himself descended from the ancient Scottish family. His father sat for Peterborough in the Long Parliament until secluded at Pride’s Purge, but ‘he was sequestrated and suffered several other ways for his loyalty’. Napier succeeded to the Luton Hoo estates in 1661 to the exclusion of a nephew of the half-blood, and was elected knight of the shire in a contested election three years later. He made no speeches, and was appointed to only 25 committees, most of them of local significance only, such as those for the repair of the Chester road and making the Bedfordshire Ouse navigable, and the estate bill promoted by Lord Cleveland, the lord lieutenant. The county addressed him about the Ouse navigation, and he was summoned to attend the Lords on 4 June 1675, but given protection by the Commons. Sir Richard Wiseman noted in 1676 that he had lately voted ill, and committed him to the care of Roger Whitley, ‘who I know can manage him’. Wiseman’s confidence was ill-grounded, and Shaftesbury was better informed in marking Napier ‘worthy’, for on 8 May 1678 he acted as teller for the opposition motion to instruct the committee which had drawn up the address for the removal of councillors to continue and present a report. But the hurly-burly of exclusion politics was not for him; he did not seek re-election, and retained local office till 1687, only to be reappointed a year later when James II was seeking Whig support. The Revolution could not tempt him out of retirement, though he continued on the commission of the peace. His mind gave way towards the end of his life, and he died in August 1711, the last of the family to sit in Parliament.2