DIBBLE, John (d. 1728), of Daniells, Abinger Hammer, Surr.
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Family and Education
s. of Daniel Dibble of Daniells by his w. Susannah. m. by 1685, Alice (d. 1712), 4s. 2da; suc. fa. 1702.1
Dibble inherited a house called Daniells at the foot of the North Downs and a forge held under a lease from the Evelyn family, the local landowners, at a rent of £20 p.a. Much more lucrative, however, were his activities as a merchant in timber. He handled the sale of timber from the Evelyn family estate at Wootton in Surrey, although a major outpost of the business was established in the Okehampton area, and for a while prospered upon government contracts to supply timber to the navy. From the early 1700s, however, he was increasingly beset by cashflow problems, and was complaining, for example, to John Evelyn, the diarist, in January 1702: ‘it has been much to my grief, I am sure, that I have not been able to raise your money yet, though I hope I have given you security enough for it and will pay you the interest from the time the principal ought to have been paid to you’. He said he expected £800 from the building of a ship, now ready to launch, which would pay most of the debt. Then in July he offered ‘land security for £400’ for the unpaid money, pleading to pay the rest by Christmas. At the 1705 election he stood for Okehampton, where he employed many local people, and was caught in a double return which was resolved in his favour on 20 Dec. In the meantime he was listed as a placeman, presumably by virtue of his government contracts, and also, evidently in error, as having voted on 25 Oct. 1705 for the Court candidate as Speaker. Soon after the 1705 election he was added to the Devon commission of the peace. Subsequently he was classed as a Whig in 1708 and voted in 1709 for the naturalization of the Palatines. By this time Dibble had quite overstretched himself financially, having sold Daniells to the Countess of Donegall. Nicholas Morice† complained of a debt he owed, adding that ‘Mr Dibble hath no habitation nor settlement in London, neither drives he any trade in the City. ’Tis difficult to find where he is and ’twill be extreme hard to squeeze any money from him. He owes much in this county and cannot appear but under the protection of privilege of Parliament.’ A little later in 1709 Morice came to the conclusion that he ‘might as soon squeeze water out of a pumice stone as get money from Dibble’. Early in 1710 Dibble voted for the impeachment of Sacheverell. He was successful again for Okehampton in the election that year, when as many as 135 new freemen were created on his behalf, mostly his ‘servants, waggoners and carters’. Apparently he had originally intended to make an interest at Saltash, against John Buller I*, by scattering guineas among the voters, but desisted before the poll. He was classed erroneously as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’ of the 1710 Parliament. In May 1712 he claimed privilege to prevent a servant of his being arrested by the high bailiff of Westminster for a debt of £400. He did not stand in 1713 presumably because, his business having failed, he was in hiding from his creditors.2
On 17 Dec. 1723 Dibble wrote to (Sir) John Evelyn II*, complaining that he had been deprived of the lease of his family’s forge at Abinger without any allowance for the improvements he had made and was now ‘in a starving condition, out of all manner of business whereby to gain a penny’. He was hoping to obtain a place in the customs with Evelyn’s help, and added that he was ‘sure Mr [Robert] Walpole [II*] will be my friend with the least word from you or my Lord Falmouth [Hugh Boscawen II*]’. As Dibble could not appear in public, Evelyn was asked to reply to him at ‘Mr William Rowe’s, Hole in the Wall in Lambeth Marsh’. His burial is recorded at Abinger parish church on 26 Jan. 1728.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Manning and Bray, Surr. ii. 142–3; Abinger Par. Reg. (Surr. Rec. Soc. ix), 20–22, 24, 109, 112.
- 2. VCH Surr. iii. 130; BL, Evelyn mss, Dibble to Evelyn, 25 Feb. 1699, 7 Jan., 4, 6 Mar., 24 July 1702, same to (Sir) John Evelyn II, 3 Jan. 1718, 17 Dec. 1723; Morice mss at the Bank of England, Nicholas to Humphry Morice*, 8 Nov. 1709, same to Joseph Moyle*, 29 Nov. 1709; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxv. 409; xxviii. 70, 390–1; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 174; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 626; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 314, 358; W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 49–50; Speck thesis, 328; CJ, xvii. 232.
- 3. Evelyn mss, Dibble to Evelyn, 17 Dec. 1723; Abinger Par. Reg. 112.