WHITE, John (1634-1713), of Cotgrave, Notts.

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



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679
14 May 1689
27 Oct. 1691

Family and Education

b. 3 Sept. 1634, o.s. of Thomas White of Tuxford, Notts. by Anne, da. of Sir Edward Hartopp, 1st Bt., of Buckminster, Leics. educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1651; G. Inn 1654. m. c.1657, Jane, da. of Sir Thomas Williamson, 1st Bt., of East Markham, Notts. 2s. suc. fa. 1638.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Notts. 1677-80, 1689-90, j.p. Feb. 1688-d., dep. lt. 1689-?d., col. of militia ft. by 1691-bef. 1697.2


White’s great-grandfather, of Suffolk origin, entered the service of Philip and Mary and was rewarded with the ex-monastic manor of Cotgrave. Although he married a sister of the great Lord Burleigh, neither he nor his two successors enjoyed any political prominence. White’s guardian, his maternal grandfather, was a Parliamentarian during the Civil War, but White did not marry till he had come of age, and then he chose the daughter of a leading Cavalier almost ruined by heavy fines. Nevertheless, he had a Presbyterian chaplain and seems to have been excluded from even the humblest county office till he was over 40. He was returned for the county to all three Exclusion Parliaments as an exclusionist, and was marked by Shaftesbury as ‘honest’. He was moderately active in 1679, being named to four committees. On 13 May he was among those to whom was recommitted the address promising the King to avenge his death on the Papists, and those instructed to consider a bill for improving the collection of the hearth-tax. Three days later he was named to the committee for reforming the bankruptcy law. He was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill. In the second Exclusion Parliament he was very active, with 25 committees. He was appointed to those to inquire into the conduct of Sir Robert Peyton and to receive information about the Popish Plot. On 19 Nov. 1680 he was added to the inquiry into abhorring. He was also named to the committees to consider the bill for uniting Protestants, to examine the disbandment accounts, and to repeal the Corporations Act. At Oxford he was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges.3

White was more prominent out of Parliament, and seems to have been the ringleader, with Robert Pierrepont and John Thornhaugh, in the Nottinghamshire arms plot. Blunderbusses were ordered from a local gunsmith and stored ‘for use against the Papists’. The number was first reported as 200, then shrank to sufficient for a troop of horse or more, and finally turned out to be five dozen. The informer apparently lacked the courage to give evidence in open court, and White escaped unscathed.4

White may have become a Whig collaborator in 1688, when he was made a j.p. He does not seem to have stood at the general election of 1689, but he was returned for the county again four months later. He was an active Member of the Convention, in which he was appointed to 26 committees, including those to consider the oaths of allegiance and supremacy and to inspect the entries in the Journals about the Popish Plot. He took part in the drafting of the address on the appointment of Commissary Shales, the consideration of the second mutiny bill and the investigation of certain treasonable discoveries. He was added to the committee on the bill for restoring corporations on 19 Dec., but he did not vote for the disabling clause. A steady Whig under William III, he died on 16 Apr. 1713. His son and grandson sat for East Retford as Whigs with few intermissions from 1701 to 1768.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: E. R. Edwards / John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Thoroton, Notts. i. 168-9; Nichols, Leics. ii. 123; The Gen. vii. 142.
  • 2. HMC Hastings, ii. 333; Eg. 1626, f. 33.
  • 3. Trans. Thoroton Soc. xi. 55-65; Lacey, Dissent and Parl. Pols. 454-5.
  • 4. CSP Dom. Jan.-June 1683, pp. 265, 268, 301, 373.
  • 5. Trans. Thoroton Soc. xi. 64.