SPELMAN, John (1606-63), of Narborough, Norf.

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



c. Nov. 1645

Family and Education

b. 12 Sept. 1606, 1st s. of Sir Clement Spelman of Narborough by 2nd w. Ursula, da. of Sir John Willoughby of Risley, Derbys. educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1622; M. Temple 1625. m. 1632, Anne (d. 12 June 1649), da. of Sir John Heveningham of Ketteringham, Norf., 4s. 8da. suc. fa. 1607.2

Offices Held

Dep. lt. Norf. 1642-3, commr. for sequestrations 1643, levying money 1643, defence of eastern assoc. 1643, assessment, Norf. 1644-8, Aug. 1660-d., Mdx. 1647-8, new model ordinance Norf. 1645, militia, Mdx. and Norf. 1648, Mar. 1660; j.p. Norf. 1650-d., lt.-col. of militia ft. Apr.-Oct. 1660; commr. for sewers, Bedford level 1662-d.3


Spelman’s ancestors had held land in Norfolk since the 14th century. The first of the family to enter Parliament was the famous antiquary, Sir Henry Spelman of Congham, who was returned for Castle Rising in 1597. Unlike his cousins, Spelman supported Parliament in the Civil War, under the influence of his step-father, Sir John Potts, and sat for Castle Rising as a recruiter until Pride’s Purge.4

Spelman was re-elected at the general election of 1660, and was listed as a friend by Lord Wharton, but he took no known part in the Convention. He probably voted with the Presbyterian Opposition, and did not stand in 1661. He died on 31 Jan. 1663 and was buried at Narborough, the last of his family to sit in Parliament. His memorial inscription described him as ‘a man of eminent piety, benevolent to the clergy, munificent to the needy, beloved of his country, [and] twice a senator in the assemblies of the kingdom’.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson / Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Did not sit after Pride’s Purge 6 Dec. 1648, readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
  • 2. Wards 7/39/70; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 264-5; (lxxxvi), 204-5; Blomefield, Norf. vi. 164.
  • 3. Parl. Intell. 9 Apr. 1660; S. Wells, Drainage of the Bedford Level, i. 350.
  • 4. Blomefield, Norf. ii. 279; vi. 151; R. W. Ketton-Cremer, Norf. in the Civil War, 44, 288.
  • 5. Blomefield, vi. 164.