SHAW, William (c.1644-97), of St. James's Street, Westminster.

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



12 June 1685

Family and Education

b. c.1644. m. lic. 6 Apr. 1680, aged 36, Grace, da. and coh. of John Masson of Stamford, Lincs. 2s. 2da. 5 other ch. d.v.p.1

Offices Held

Sec. to Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon c.1660-74, to Laurence Hyde 1674-9; Treasury clerk 1679, chief clerk by 1693-d.; groom of the privy chamber to Queen Catherine of Braganza by 1682-at least 1687.2

Searcher, Gravesend 1681-9, 1693-6; commr. for assessment, Westminster 1689-90.3


Shaw entered the service of the Hyde family about the time of the Restoration. Probably he was a poor relation of Clarendon’s confidant, Sir John Shaw, but the pedigree has not been established. He attended the deathbed of the exiled statesman in 1674, and then became secretary to his son, in which capacity he served on his embassy to Poland. When Hyde was appointed to the Treasury board in 1679, he obtained a clerkship for Shaw.4

Shaw’s return for Hythe at a by-election in 1685 after the return of Julius Deedes had been declared void was presumably on the Treasury interest, although the other Member, the Hon. Heneage Finch II also had court connexions. During his few weeks in the House, he was a moderately active Member, being appointed to the committees for the continuance of expiring laws, the prohibition of imports of gunpowder, and the regulation of hackney coaches. It may safely be assumed that he was an Anglican and a high Tory. In the following winter he was said to be ‘dangerously ill of a high fever preying upon his spirits’, and the 2nd Earl of Clarendon (Henry Hyde), recommending him for a post in the Irish customs, wrote that he ‘would have been found not to have got much, if he had died in his last sickness’. However, he was able to advance £1,800 to the Government on the Linen Duty Act, lived in one of the most fashionable streets in London, and altogether, in the words of an historian of the Treasury in this period, ‘must have been a rather grand person’.5

Shaw survived both the fall of Rochester and the Revolution, though he was said to have been a great sufferer from the rebellion in Ireland. He was promoted to chief clerk by 1692, but his attendance at the Treasury was affected by his poor health. He died on 20 Jan. 1697, and was buried in St. James, Piccadilly. He bequeathed £1,500 to each of his four children, and, besides his house, some land at West Walton in Norfolk. Although his son William did not die till 1739, nothing further has been ascertained about the family.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxx), 25-26; Survey of London, xxix. 50-51; Manning and Bray, Surr. i. 477-8.
  • 2. Add. 28875, f. 384.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 174; viii. 404; ix. 88; x. 117; xi. 242.
  • 4. Cal. Cl. SP, v. 642; Clarendon Corresp. i. 591; S. W. Baxter, Development of the Treasury, 231.
  • 5. Ellis Corresp. i. 39; Clarendon Corresp. i. 302; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 2180, 2181, 2183; Baxter, 232.
  • 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1832; Survey of London, xxix, 50-51; PCC 130 Pyne.