STONHOUSE, Sir John, 2nd Bt. (c.1639-1700), of Radley, nr. Abingdon, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1639, 2nd s. and h. of Sir George Stonhouse. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1655; G. Inn 1656. m. lic. 10 Oct. 668, aged 29, Martha, da. and h. of Robert Briggs, merchant, of St. Paul’s Churchyard, London, wid. of Richard Spencer, Vintner, of Berry Street, Aldgate, London and Newington, Surr., 1s. suc. fa. 31 Mar. 1675.1
J.p. Wallingford 1664, Berks. 1675-82, 1684-July, 1688, 1689-d.; dep. lt Berks. 1669-?81, 1689-d., commr. for assessment 1673-80, 1689 90; steward of Ock and Moreton Hundreds 1675-d.; freeman, Abingdon 1675, common councilman and j.p. 1686-June 1688; freeman, Woodstock 1680; freeman and bailiff, Oxford 1680-June 1688.2
Stonhouse was alleged to have intended to join Sir George Booth in 1659 with some of his Oxford friends, but no proceedings were taken against him. His elder brother having been disinherited for ‘disobedience and frenzy’, Stonhouse succeeded to his estates, and after a contested election to his father’s seat also. His only committee in the Cavalier Parliament was on a private bill on Prince Rupert’s behalf. As a contemporary of Secretary Williamson at Queen’s, no less than for his royalist background, his support was naturally anticipated by the Government. His name appears on the working lists as one of the Members ‘to be fixed’, and Sir Richard Wiseman wrote:
Sir John Stonhouse is a new Member and his election questionable. Sir Thomas Dolman assured me formerly that he would vote with us, and I have observed him generally to do so when he hath stayed in at a question. He shall not be lost for want of looking.
But for the 1677 session, Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly worthy’, and presumably he henceforth acted in Parliament with the Opposition. On the other hand with Thomas Medlycott he assisted in 1678 in obtaining evidence against Michael Malet, Shaftesbury’s counsel.3
Stonhouse retained his seat in the three Exclusion Parliaments. Marked ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury, he voted for the bill, but otherwise took no ascertainable part in the proceedings in 1679. With his cousin the Hon. John Lovelace, he was marked for removal from the lieutenancy. In the second Exclusion Parliament he was moderately active, serving on the committee of elections and privileges and the committee to inquire into abhorring. He was the first Member to be nominated to search the papers of a minor Popish Plot suspect on 18 Nov. 1680, and he was appointed to the committee for the Scottish cattle bill. He left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. He seems to have veered back to the Court after the Rye House Plot, for he was restored to the Berkshire commission of the peace in 1684. In James II’s Parliament he served only on the committee of elections and privileges. He was named to the Abingdon corporation in the new charter of 1686, but returned a firm negative to the lord lieutenant’s questions:
He thinks the Test was made for the support of the Church of England, of which he has always professed himself a member, and cannot give his consent to repeal it without doing a great deal of injury to his religion; and for the Penal Laws he is not very well acquainted with them, but is of opinion they might be renewed [sic] and amended.
He would not consent to support the court candidates, and was removed from all local offices. At the general election Stonhouse was opposed by Medlycott, and seriously injured in a riot. The election was declared void, and he stood again in May. But again his opponent was returned, and the House reversed the result too late for him to take part in its proceedings. Although he held local office under the new regime, he does not appear to have stood again. He was buried at Radley on 27 May 1700. His son and successor, the third baronet of the 1670 creation, sat for Berkshire as a Tory continuously from 1701 to his death in 1733.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Leonard Naylor
- 1. Woodhead, Rulers of London, 154.
- 2. SP44/20/197; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 93; xx. 661; Abingdon bor. mins. i. p. 229; CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 34; Woodstock council acts, 7 July 1680; Oxford Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 129; PC2/72, ff. 677-8. 727.
- 3. Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 399; CSP Dom. 1668-9, p. 108; 1678, p. 410.
- 4. Radley par. reg.