WILLOUGHBY, Hon. William (c.1616-73), of Hunsdon, Herts. and Charterhouse Yard, London.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1616, 3rd s. of William Willoughby, 3rd Baron Willoughby of Parham, (d.1617) by Lady Frances Manners, da. of John, 4th Earl of Rutland. educ. Eton 1623-4; travelled abroad (Italy) 1636; M. Temple 1652. m. by 1637, Anne (bur. 12 Jan. 1672), da. of Sir Philip Carey of Aldenham, Herts. and London, 8s. (3 d.v.p.) 6da. suc. bro. as 6th Baron 23/24 July 1666.1

Offices Held

Jt. keeper of Bestwood Park, Notts. 1638-49, ?May 1660-72; commr. for militia, Herts. and Notts. Mar. 1660, assessment, Herts. Aug. 1660-6, Lincs. Sept. 1660-1, 1664-6, (Lindsey) 1663-4, Notts. 1661-6; j.p. Herts. Mar. 1660-d., Notts. 1666-d.; col. of militia ft. Herts. Apr. 1660, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662.2

Commr. for plantations Dec. 1660-7; gov. of Barbados 1667-d.


Willoughby’s ancestors had held land in Lincolnshire since the reign of Richard I, and were first summoned to the House of Lords in 1313. This peerage passed through an heiress to the Berties, but Sir William Willoughby, who sat for Lincolnshire in 1545, was created Lord Willoughby of Parham two years later. Willoughby’s elder brother, the fifth lord, fought for Parliament in the first Civil War, but as a leader of the Presbyterians he was impeached by the army in 1647, and fled to Holland in the following year. He was appointed governor of Barbados by Charles II, but was obliged to capitulate to the commonwealth forces in 1652. Willoughby himself claimed shortly before his death to have served Charles II and his father ‘with all faithfulness and much danger’, though under the Rump he described himself as ‘in every way a person well-affected and no way obnoxious to the displeasure of Parliament for any delinquency’. The compounding commissioners allowed him a part of his brother’s estate in satisfaction of his claims under his father’s will. He was also awarded part of the Earl of Cleveland’s estates by the trustees for the sale of delinquents’ lands, from the proceeds of which he was able in 1653 to purchase Hunsdon from Lord Dover, a very distant cousin of his wife. This favourable treatment he doubtless owed to his brother-in-law, Bulstrode Whitelocke. His elder brother had remained an active conspirator since his return to England in 1652, assuming increasing importance as Mordaunt’s chief contact among the Presbyterian peers, but Willoughby himself is not mentioned by the royalist agents until 1658. It was to Hunsdon that Whitelocke fled on the collapse of the military regime at the end of 1659.3

No direct connexion has been traced between Willoughby and the Midhurst constituency, except that he may have been at school with Lord Montagu, and it seems to have been the practice for Roman Catholic patrons to choose Presbyterians for their boroughs at the general election of 1660. Marked as a friend on Lord Wharton’s list, he was moderately active in the Convention. He was named to 17 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges, and acted as teller in six divisions. He favoured excepting William Sydenham and W