TUFTON, Sir John, 2nd Bt. (c.1623-85), of The Mote, Maidstone, Kent.
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Family and Education
b. c.1623, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Humphrey Tufton, 1st Bt., of The Mote by Margaret, da. and coh. of Herbert Morley of Glynde, Suss. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. matric. 29 Apr. 1636, aged 13. m. (1) Margaret, da. and coh. of Thomas, 2nd Baron Wotton of Marley, s.p.; (2) bef. 1657, Mary, da. and h. of Sir James Altham of Markshall, Latton, Essex, s.p. Kntd. 21 Dec. 1641; suc. fa. Oct. 1659.
Commr. for assessment, Kent Jan. 1660-80, Warws. 1677-80, militia, Kent Mar. 1660, j.p. Mar. 1660-78, 1679-d., col. of militia ft. Apr. 1660-?d., dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-78, 1679-d.; commr. for sewers, Derge marsh Oct. 1660, Medway marshes Dec. 1660, oyer and terminer, Home circuit 1661; asst. Rochester Bridge 1661-d., warden 1662, 1670, 1677, 1684; commr. for corporations, Kent 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants 1675.1
Tufton’s father, a younger brother of the first Earl of Thanet, sat for Maidstone in the Long Parliament until Pride’s Purge, but as early as 1643 his distaste for the proceedings at the county committee was manifest. Tufton himself signed the conservative Kentish petition in 1642, for which he was imprisoned, but took no further part in politics until the eve of the Restoration. He offered his services to the King in 1659, and was returned at the general election of 1660 as knight of the shire; but he was not active in the Convention, being appointed only to the committee for the estate bill of his brother-in-law, William Wray. No doubt he supported the Court, and hence was re-elected to the Cavalier Parliament ‘with a very small dispute’. He remained inactive, serving on only 17 committees, of which the most important was for the corporations bill. He received the government whip in 1675, and his name was included on the Paston list and in the working lists among the Members to be managed by Henry Coventry. Sir Richard Wiseman put him down as a court supporter with a query, and Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’ in 1677. But in the spring of the following year Tufton was among the signatories of the petition against court backing for Sir John Banks at Winchelsea. He was struck out of the commission of the peace by the King’s command, Shaftesbury reduced his rating to a single ‘vile’, and he was omitted from the opposition list of government supporters.2
Tufton sat for Maidstone for the rest of his life. In 1679 Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’, but he was restored to local office in April and probably voted against the first exclusion bill. He left no further trace on the records of Parliament, though Danby included him among the opposition to James II. He died on 11 Oct. 1685 during the recess, and was buried at Maidstone. He had long lived apart from his wife, and his baronetcy expired with him. Debt had already compelled the sale of part of his estate, and under his will the remainder was to follow, any surplus being for the benefit of his niece, Tufton Wray.