WHITAKER, Henry (c.1622-95), of Motcombe, Dorset.

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



Mar. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1622, 1st s. of William Whitaker of Shaftesbury by Honor, da. of Thomas Hooper of Boveridge. educ. M. Temple, entered 1636, called 1645; Gloucester Hall, Oxf. 1637. m. Mary, da. of Narcissus Mapowder of Holsworthy, Devon and coh. to her bro. Anthony, 1s. 5da. suc. fa. 1646.1

Offices Held

Recorder, Shaftesbury 1653-84; commr. for assessment, Dorset 1657, Jan. 1660-80, j.p. Mar. 1660-83, commr. for corporations, Dorset 1662-3, foreshore 1662; freeman, Lyme Regis 1662; commr. for recusants, Dorset 1675.2


Whitaker’s great-grandfather, of Wiltshire origin, was granted arms in 1560, and his grandfather was elected to Parliament for Westbury in 1586. His father, who became recorder of Shaftesbury in 1627 and represented the borough in five Parliaments, was a passive Parliamentarian in the Civil War. Whitaker himself, also a lawyer, bought an estate at Motcombe, two miles from Shaftesbury, in 1648 and gave up his chambers in the Temple. He acquired further property in the neighbourhood, and in turn became recorder of Shaftesbury. He sat for the borough in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament, but gave way to the Presbyterian stalwart, Thomas Grove, in 1660. Regaining his seat in the following year, he became moderately active in the Cavalier Parliament. He was appointed to 89 committees, including those for the corporations and uniformity bills in 1661, but in the earlier sessions he was probably an inconspicuous opposition Member. He was much in demand as an executor or trustee, notably on behalf of (Sir) Ralph Bankes, as well as his colleagues John Lowe and