BENNET, Sir Levinus, 2nd Bt. (1631-93), of Babraham, Cambs.
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Family and Education
bap. 18 Jan. 1631, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Bennet, 1st Bt., of Babraham by Mary, da. and coh. of Levinus Munck†, of London and Mortlake, Surr. educ. G. Inn 1644. m. 6 July 1653, Judith, da. of William Boevey, merchant, of Little Chelsea, Mdx. and Flaxley Abbey, Glos., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 7da. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 28 June 1667.1
Sheriff, Cambs. and Hunts. 1652–3; commr. for corporations 1662–3, complaints, Bedford level 1663, appeals 1668; freeman, Cambridge 1679.2
Ever since his first election as knight of the shire, to the first Exclusion Parliament, Bennet had played the part of a staunch but silent back-bench Tory, loyal to the Church but largely inactive. In his last Parliament, he raised his profile slightly while maintaining the same party-political stance. He and his colleague Sir Robert Cotton* overcame the handicap of being named on Anthony Rowe’s* ‘blacklist’ of those who had voted in February 1689 against the transfer of the crown (a vote which in Bennet’s case is questioned by a second contemporary division-list) to secure an apparently unopposed re-election as county Members, helped in part by a pamphlet written anonymously in their vindication. He was classed as a Tory and probably also a Court supporter in Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) analysis of the new House of Commons in March 1690, and appeared in another ministerial calculation of support in the following December, possibly prepared in connexion with a projected parliamentary attack on Carmarthen. By April of the next year, however, Robert Harley* included him among the opponents of the government. He told on 3 Dec. 1692 against giving a second reading to a bill designed to protect the hat-manufacturing industry by enforcing the ban on sales of beaver fur by the Hudson’s Bay Company, and preventing the export of rabbit and hare skins.3
Bennet died on 5 Dec. 1693. His one surviving son outlived him only by some eight years, and on his death the baronetcy became extinct, but the Babraham estate passed through a daughter to the Alexander family, who adopted the name of Bennet as an additional surname and eventually resumed the parliamentary tradition three generations on, in 1770, when Bennet’s great-grandson, Richard Henry Alexander Bennet(t) was returned for Newport in Cornwall.4