WALCOT, John (1624-1702), of Walcot, Salop and Beguildy, Rad.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 24 June 1624, 1st s. of Humphrey Walcot of Walcot by Anne, da. of Thomas Docwra of Putteridge, Herts.; bro. of Thomas Walcot. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1640; M. Temple 1641. m. (1) c.1653, Elizabeth (bur. 5 Feb. 1655), da. of Sir Thomas Lucy† of Charlecote, Warws., 2s. d.v.p.; (2) 26 May 1657, Elizabeth, da. of Sir George Clarke, Grocer, of London and Watford, Northants., 6s. 7da. suc. fa. 1650.1
Commr. for assessment, Salop Jan. 1660-80, 1689-90, Rad. 1661-79, militia, Salop Mar. 1660, j.p. July 1660-June 1688, Nov. 1688-?d.; dep. lt. July 1660-Mar. 1688, Sept. 1688-?d.; sheriff, Salop Nov. 1660-1, Rad. 1661-2; member, council in the marches of Wales 1662-89, commr. for corporations, Salop 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, oyer and terminer 1662, recusants 1675; freeman, Ludlow 1681.2
Walcot’s family has been traced back in the male line to the reign of Henry II, when they acquired the property from which they took their name. They first sat for Bishop’s Castle in Elizabethan times. Walcot’s father, a Presbyterian and a close friend of Sir Robert Harley, tried to avoid commitment in the Civil War, but was compelled to assist the King’s forces with money and arms to preserve his estates, and was fined £500 for his delinquency. Walcot himself, however, appears to have fought for the King and was captured at the siege of Shrewsbury in February 1645, and imprisoned in Powis Castle unt0l ransomed. Inheriting an estate of £900 p.a. encumbered by £6,000 debt, during the Interregnum he lived in retirement until 1660, paying off the debt with so much success that he was able to give financial assistance to ejected ministers, both Presbyterian and Anglican.3
Walcot, a Tory, sent to Sir Leoline Jenkins information relating to Shropshire persons suspected of complicity in the Rye House Plot in 1683, and copies of treasonable letters intercepted in Monmouthshire. Chosen for the county without opposition in 1685, he was moderately active in James II’s Parliament, with appointments to the committees on the bills to rebuild Lord Powis’s house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, to repair Bangor Cathedral, and to relieve insolvent debtors. When the King was to make a progress through Shropshire in 1687, Walcot was asked to make arrangements ‘that the whole militia be drawn forth at his entry, with as many of the gentlemen as could be got together’. He did so, but excused himself from attending on the plea that ‘the journey would be very troublesome to him’. To Lord Chancellor Jeffreys, the lord lieutenant, he wrote on 31 Mar. 1688: ‘I cannot in conscience comply with your lordship’s proposals in taking off the Penal Laws or Tests. I shall always continue my allegiance to the King, and live peaceably with my neighbours’. Removed from the county commissions, he was restored by Jeffreys six months later. He died in 1702, and was buried at Lydbury. A son, George, was returned for Bishop’s Castle in 1701, and another son, Humphrey, sat for Ludlow from 1713 to 1722.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / John. P. Ferris
- 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), v. 324, 330-1; (ser. 4), xii. 5; J. R. Burton, Walcot Fam. 55, 61, 70; St. Mary Woolchurch Haw Par. Reg. 362.
- 2. Bodl. Ch. Salop 146; Burton, 56, 60; CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 408.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), v. 309-38; Burton, 42, 55; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1060.
- 4. CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, pp. 18, 302; 1685, p. 103; Burton, 59.