ROSSITER, Edward (1618-69), of Somerby, Lincs.

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



3 Mar. 1646

Family and Education

b. 1 Jan. 1618, 2nd s. of Richard Rossiter of Somerby by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Bourchier of Beningbrough, Yorks. educ. Kirton and Beverley g.s.; Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1636. m. (1) 25 June 1646, Jane, da. of Sir Richard Samwell of Gayton, Northants., 2da.; (2) settlement 18 Jan. 1660, Lady Arabella Holles, da. of John Holles, 2nd Earl of Clare, 4s. 1da. suc. bro. 1636; kntd. 27 May 1660.3

Offices Held

Commr. for sequestrations, Lincs. 1643, levying money 1643, eastern assoc. 1643, assessment 1643-52, 1657, Jan. 1660, 1661-3, 1664-d., (Lindsey) Aug. 1660-1, 1663-4, new model ordinance, Lincs. 1645, militia 1648, Mar. 1660, drainage of the fens 1649; j.p. (Lindsey) 1652-8, Lincs. Mar. 1660-d.; commr. for scandalous ministers, Lincs. 1654, custos rot. Mar.-June 1660, col. of militia ft. Apr. 1660, commr. for oyer and terminer, Midland circuit July 1660; dep. lt. Lincs. c. Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for sewers, Hatfield chase and Lincs. Aug. 1660.4

Major of horse (parliamentary) 1644, col. 1645-6, 1648; gov. Hull ?Feb.-July 1660; capt. Prince Rupert’s Horse 1667.

Member, committee of Both Kingdoms 1648, Councillor of State 25 Feb.-31 May 1660.


Rossiter’s family acquired gentry status in Lincolnshire only in the 16th century. He was indicted for treason at the Grantham assizes in 1643, and took a prominent part in the first Civil War as a parliamentary officer. He was again in arms against the Cavalier garrison of Pontefract in 1648, but as a staunch Presbyterian abstained from the House after Pride’s Purge. He was excluded from Richard Cromwell’s Parliament, with good cause, as a suspected Royalist; he had in fact been designated leader of the intended rising in Lincolnshire, but Sir George Booth was suppressed before he could act. He presented the Lincolnshire petition for a free Parliament to George Monck, and interrupted his wedding night to take part in the operations against John Lambert. He was re-elected for Lincolnshire at the general election of 1660, and marked as a friend on Lord Wharton’s list. But he was an inactive Member of the Convention, making no speeches and serving on only eight committees, which, however, included those to draw up the instructions for the messengers to the King and to confer with the Lords about his reception. He was knighted at Canterbury for his services to the Restoration, but refused to stand for re-election in 1661. Despite an information in 1662 that he was involved in a ‘great design ... for restoring the Commonwealth’, he was commissioned to raise troops of horse to meet the threat of a Dutch invasion in 1667. He died of cancer of the mouth on 9 Jan. 1669 after a long illness borne with soldierly fortitude. Although he left an estate of £1,000 p.a., he was the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / J. S. Crossette


  • 1. Abstained after Pride’s Purge 6 Dec. 1648, readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
  • 2. Excluded.
  • 3. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 834; Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxvii) 186.
  • 4. Lincoln Rec. Soc. xxv. p. cxliii; CSP Dom. 1648-9, pp. 90, 93; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 591, 594; Merc. Pub. 19 Apr. 1660; C181/7/20.
  • 5. Reps. Assoc. Arch. Socs. xxiii. 134-5; xli. 219-35; Whitelocke Mems. ii. 351; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 15, 128; CSP Dom. 1659-60, pp. 109, 206-7; 1661-2, p. 614; HMC Bath, ii. 144; Her. and Gen. ii. 124; Eg. 2539, f. 311.