PLEYDELL, John (c.1601-93), of Midgehall, Lydiard Tregoze, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1601, 1st s. of Sir Charles Pleydell of Midgehall and Kilburn Priory, Mdx. by 1st w. Katherine, da. and coh. of Thomas Bourchier of Barnsley, Glos.; bro. of William Pleydell. educ. Trinity, Oxf. matric. 6 Nov. 1618, aged 17; I. Temple 1621. unm. suc. fa. 1642.1
J.p. Wilts. July 1660-?June 1688, commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80, corporations 1662-3, recusants 1675.2
Pleydell’s family had held Midgehall, one mile from Wootton Bassett, as tenants of Stanley Abbey before its dissolution. His great-grandfather first sat for the borough in 1553, and his younger brother, a lawyer, represented it in the Long Parliament till disabled as a Royalist. Pleydell must also have been compromised, since he was compelled to report all his movements to the authorities under the Protectorate. He was returned for Wootton Bassett in his sixtieth year, and, except in the second Exclusion Parliament, retained the seat till 1687. On the indenture of 1660 his name precedes that of Henry Somerset, the Marquess of Worcester’s heir. His local offices suggest that he was regarded as a reliable supporter of the Restoration. He was named to no committees in the Convention, but made his only recorded speech on 3 Dec. to urge the unreasonableness of restoring the title of Duke of Norfolk to a hopeless lunatic.3
Pleydell was returned unopposed in 1661 and became a moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was appointed to 98 committees, including those for the uniformity bill and the execution of those under attainder in the first session. At Oxford he was named to the committee for the five mile bill. But he shared the concern of his neighbour and kinsman Sir Walter St. John over the mismanagement of government finance, and moved into opposition. He was nominated to the projected public accounts commission on 11 Dec. 1666, but was excused from serving. His income was estimated at £1,000 p.a. about this time. On the fall of Clarendon he was among those Members instructed to bring in a public accounts bill, to inquire into the miscarriages of the second Dutch war, and to consider the bill to prevent the growth of Popery. On 21 Apr. 1668 he acted as teller, for the only time, against accepting a witness for the Irish Adventurers. On 21 Oct. 1669 Pleydell and the country Cavalier (Sir) Thomas Tomkyns were sent to ask the public accounts commission to report to the House. He was appointed to the committees for the conventicles bills in 1669 and 1670, and his last important committee was on another bill to prevent the growth of Popery in 1675. In 1677 Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly worthy’.4
Pleydell was re-elected to the first Exclusion Parliament, and marked ‘worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list. He voted for the bill, and was replaced by Henry St. John at the August election. He entered the second Exclusion Parliament for Cricklade, where a cadet branch of the family was established, at an uncontested by-election caused by the death of Hungerford Dunch, but replaced Laurence Hyde at Wootton Bassett in 1681, and retained the seat after a contest in 1685. He left no trace on the records of any of these Parliaments, nor are any answers recorded on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. He was 87 when the Revolution occurred, and it is scarcely probable that he stood again. He was buried at Lydiard Tregoze on 12 Jan. 1693. His personal estate was inventoried at £2,387 15s., made up chiefly of £900 in cash and mortgages, £562 in farmstock, and a chattel lease held under (Sir) Edward Hungerford valued at £800. His heir was his nephew Edmund, who sat for Wootton Bassett as a Tory from 1710 to 1715.5