WYNDHAM, John (1648-1724), of The Close, Salisbury and Norrington, Wilts.

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. 2 Mar. 1648, 1st s. of Sir Wadham Wyndham, j.K.b. Nov. 1660-8, of Ilton, Som. and St. Edmund’s College, Salisbury by Barbara, da. of Sir George Clerke, Grocer, of London and Watford, Northants.; bro. of Thomas Wyndham III and William Wyndham. educ. Salisbury Cathedral sch.; L. Inn, entered 1661, called 1668; Wadham, Oxf. 1663-5. m. lic. 13 Jan. 1674, Alice, da. of Thomas Fownes of Steepleton Iwerne, Dorset, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1668.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Wilts. 1673-7, Wilts. and Salisbury 1677-80, 1689-90; j.p. Wilts. 1677-?d., col. of militia 1681-?89, dep. lt. 1683-?89, mayor, Poole 1683-Dec. 1688; commr. for rebels’ estates, Wilts. 1686, sheriff Mar.-Nov. 1689.2


Wyndham was a first cousin of William Wyndham. His father, though the youngest of nine brothers, inherited one-third of Nicholas Wadham’s estates on the strength of his Christian name. A lawyer of royalist inclinations, he spent most of the Civil War in Wales, but practised in Westminster Hall under the Protectorate, when he was imprisoned, with John Maynard I and Thomas Twisden, for daring to cite Magna Carta against the Government. He bought his property in Wiltshire after his release, and was raised to the coif by the Rump. On the Restoration bench he was considered by John Hawles second only to Matthew Hale in judicial qualities.3

Wyndham received seven votes at the Shaftesbury election of February 1679, but he was probably not a serious candidate. His return for Salisbury in 1681 was a court gain, though his election might have been challenged, had not (Sir) Thomas Mompesson stood down, but he left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. A keen militia officer, he encouraged marksmanship by generous prizes on the local shooting ground at Harnham Bridge. He took part in repressing disaffection in the last years of Charles II, and may have had a hand in the surrender of Salisbury’s charter. Re-elected in 1685, he was active in James II’s Parliament. Of his ten committees the most important were to examine the accounts of the disbandment commissioners and to recommend erasures in the Journals. He acted as teller for Charles Fox in the division on the Cricklade election. On Monmouth’s landing, he secured a post warrant for Salisbury, and led his militia regiment throughout the ensuing campaign. But he went into opposition in the second session. On 16 Nov. ‘Mr Wyndham of Salisbury’ said:

If we give because we are asked, I am for the least sum because for an army, and I would be rid of them as soon as I could, and am more now against it than I was, being satisfied that the country is weary of the oppression of the soldiers, weary of free quarters, plunder, and some felonies, for which they have (on complaint) found no redress. And since I heard Mr [William] Blathwayte tell us how strict rules and orders were prescribed them by the King, I find by their behaviour that the King cannot govern them himself; and then what will become of us?

Nevertheless he returned affirmative answers on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws in 1687, and was retained in county office. After the Revolution he must have taken the oaths to the new regime with little hesitation, for he was appointed sheriff in March 1689; but he was too uncompromising a High Churchman to stand for Parliament again. He died on 29 Feb. 1724, and was buried at Alvediston. His younger son became lord chancellor of Ireland and an Irish peer, but none of his descendants sat in the Commons.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), iv. 55, 78; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xliv. 185; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 1488.
  • 2. Hutchins, Dorset, i. 34; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 546.
  • 3. H. A. Wyndham, Fam. Hist. i. 212, 221-2, 225, 267-8; VCH Wilts. vi. 84; Hoare, Wilts. Chalk, 83, 87.
  • 4. Wilts. RO, 413/435; Wilts. Arch. Mag. lii. 11; CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 316; 1685, p. 435; Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 14, f. 79; CJ, ix. 732. A. Wheeler, Iter Bellicosum (Cam. Soc. ser. 3, xviii), 159-66; HMC Fortescue, i. 33; Christ Church, Oxf. Evelyn diary, f. 12; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), iv. 37.