WARTON, Michael (1623-88), of Beverley, Yorks.

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

Constituency

Dates

14 June 1660
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

bap. 27 Apr. 1623, 1st s. of Michael Warton (d.1645) of Beverley by Catherine, da. and coh. of Christopher Maltby of Maltby, Yorks.; bro. of Sir Ralph Warton. educ. Beverley g.s.; St. John’s, Camb. 1640; G. Inn 1640. m. c.1646, Susan, da. of John Poulett, 1st Baron Poulett of Hinton St. George, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. gdfa. 1655.1

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (E. Riding) July 1660-87; commr. for assessment (E. Riding) Aug. 1660-80, Lincs. (Lindsey) 1663-9; dep. lt. (E. Riding) c. Aug. 1660-80, commr. for sewers Sept. 1660; col. of militia ft. 1661-?86; commr. for corporations, Yorks. 1662-3, oyer and terminer, Northern circuit 1665, recusants (E. Riding) 1675.2

Biography

Warton’s ancestors had resided in Beverley since Tudor times and from 1586 regularly represented the borough, strengthening their hold under the Stuarts by leasing the manor from the crown. Three generations of the family appeared for the King in the Civil War. Warton’s grandfather, who was at the general muster of the county in July 1642, compounded for estates valued at over £3,200 p.a. His father, who sat for Beverley in the Long Parliament until disabled for royalism, was killed at the siege of Scarborough Castle in 1645. Warton had also been in arms until Marston Moor and paid £1,600 on his father’s estate for his delinquency. He married well, and was persuaded by his cousin, Sir Marmaduke Langdale, to apply for a pass overseas in 1656; but he is not definitely reported as visiting the exiled Court, and he took no part in royalist conspiracy.3

As a Cavalier Warton was ineligible at the general election of 1660; but he was returned for Beverley at a by-election after the Restoration when Hugh Bethell chose to sit for Hedon, and divided the borough with Sir John Hotham, 2nd Bt. until 1681. He took no ascertainable part in the Convention, apart from obtaining leave to attend the Lords as a witness on 19 July; but doubtless he voted with the Court. He undertook to serve at his own charge in 1661, and became an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was appointed to no more than 22 committees, including those for preventing mischief from Quakers in the first session and repairing Bridlington pier in 1664. He obstructed the new charter for his constituency and may have been reckoned a ‘country Cavalier’ under Clarendon, for Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members who might be engaged for the Court by the Duke of Buckingham in 1669. From 1673 Warton cannot be distinguished in the Journals from the Hon. Thomas Wharton. He was probably added to the committee for the habeas corpus amendment bill in 1675, and, although he received the government whip, he seems to have acted as teller against going into committee on supply in the autumn. In 1677 he was appointed to the committee on the bill to prevent illegal exactions, and Shaftesbury marked him ‘thrice worthy’; but in September Warton wrote to (Sir) Joseph Williamson:

I have had second thoughts how the merit has been digested, for the favour of being in your memory, and ascribe it as being one of your retinue when we meet at Westminster, and this I receive as a bribing monitor of my duty when you hold up your finger, (for as I take it that was the signal we agreed upon) and assuredly I shall not fail you if you please to remember the proviso in our articles that you must not wheedle to misguide me.

He may be regarded as loyal as late as Feburary 1678 when he again wrote to Williamson:

Having an odd gelding in the country, young, fresh and high mettle, ... I sent for him upon purpose to present to your stable. ... You are not to refuse him a quarter in your stable, he being intended as a bribe, which I ought to mention that you may know the extent of your management, which is that you are not to wheedle for a land tax when a poll will circumscribe the whole sum intended, for a northern farm may bear the first, when a regret will accompany the second. I intend to send him tomorrow morning and you are to order his reception, otherwise you forfeit the influence of being seconded by the gallery at Westminster when you hold up your finger.

But in the last month of the Cavalier Parliament, he was active in Opposition. He acted as teller for the address to warn the King of the danger arising from ‘private advices’. He carried the impeachment of Lord Arundell of Wardour to the Lords, and supported the fourth article of the impeachment of Osborne (now Lord Treasurer Danby). On 28 Dec. he was sent to the Lords to desire a conference on disbanding the army.4

Warton was again marked ‘worthy’ in 1679. He probably served in the first Exclusion Parliament only on the committee for expiring laws, but he voted for the exclusion bill. In February 1680 he was observed visiting coffee houses in London speaking against the Duke of York and making those present drink to Monmouth. No committee activity can be positively ascribed to him in the second or third Exclusion Parliaments. Unlike Hotham, he showed no resentment at the corporation’s request for a formal withdrawal of all claims to parliamentary wages, and in 1685 he was elected with his brother. In James II’s Parliament he may have been appointed to two committees of no political importance, and he was included by Danby among the Opposition. A great benefactor to his borough and the founder of a hospital there, he died in London on 9 Aug. 1688, and was buried at St. John’s, Beverley.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: P. A. Bolton

Notes