LUTTRELL, Alexander (1663-1711), of Dunster Castle, nr. Minehead, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



18 Oct. 1690 - 1708

Family and Education

bap. 20 Oct. 1663, 3rd s. of Francis Luttrell† of Dunster Castle by Lucy, da. of Thomas Symonds of Whittlesford, Cambs.; bro. of Francis*.  educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1677; M. Temple 1680.  m. 20 July 1702, Dorothy, da. of Edward Yard of Churston Ferrers, Devon, 2s. 1da.  suc. gdmother 1668, nephew to Dunster Castle 1703.1

Offices Held

Capt. 19 Ft. 1689–90; lt.-col. Col. William Northcote’s Ft. 1694–7 (half-pay 1697–1702), Col. George Villiers Marines (31 Ft.) 1702, col. 1703–6.


Luttrell’s grandmother, having promised to provide for him, duly made a will in his favour, declaring that ‘she hoped to make Sany [Alexander] almost as good a man as his elder brother; that if his elder brother invited him to dinner, he should be able to invite his elder brother to supper’. Unfortunately she kept her fortune in gold and silver in her house at Marshwood and at her death in 1668 only £150 was found, instead of the £10,000 that she was believed to have hoarded. It transpired that most of the old lady’s fortune had been pilfered by his mother’s sister-in-law and her husband, George Reynell, and after protracted proceedings they were ordered to pay £6,000 and £200 costs. In 1681, while an undergraduate at Oxford, Luttrell was involved in a lively incident in which he and several fellow students, after a drinking bout, committed an ‘outrage’ on Lady Lovelace, the elderly widow of the 2nd Lord Lovelace, hauling her from her coach and insulting her as an ‘old protesting bitch’. Although one of his fellows was sent down, Luttrell escaped punishment. He chose a military career, obtaining in 1689 a captaincy in his brother’s regiment of foot, but resigned his commission the following year when, after his brother’s death, the colonelcy was acquired by Thomas Erle*. The premature death of his brother Francis caused other problems, notably a contest in the prerogative court of Canterbury between himself, as guardian of his brother’s three children, and his sister-in-law, which was not finally settled until 1693. In the meantime, he succeeded in October 1690 to his brother’s parliamentary seat at Minehead. A Tory, he was classed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a probable supporter of the Court in December 1690, while in a list compiled by Robert Harley* the following April he appears as ‘doubtful’. Although some difficulty arises in distinguishing him from Narcissus Luttrell* in the Journals, the scarcity of references to him after 1695, as the only Luttrell in the House, clearly suggests that most if not all references before then must be to Narcissus, the parliamentary diarist, rather than to Alexander.2

In 1694 Luttrell accepted a lieutenant-colonel’s commission in a new regiment of foot commanded by one of his late brother’s fellow officers, William Northcote. He was noted in January 1696 as a probable opponent of the Court regarding the proposed council of trade, duly signed the Association in February, but voted on neither the price of guineas nor Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder. His regiment was disbanded after the Peace of Ryswick in 1697 and he remained on half-pay for the next five years. He successfully contested at Minehead in 1698, and in an analysis of the House drawn up shortly after the election, was classed as a Court supporter, and voted in favour of the standing army on 18 Jan. 1699. On 23 Apr. 1701 he was a member of the three-man committee ordered to prepare a bill concerning the management of Minehead harbour, subsequently becoming ‘chief trustee’ by virtue of his own expenditure on the harbour’s improvement. On 26 Feb. 1702 he voted in favour of the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of the King’s Whig ministers. The renewal of war at the beginning of Anne’s reign brought him back into active service as a lieutenant-colonel of a foot regiment, and in 1703 he was advanced to full colonel. In parliamentary affairs he was noted in mid-March 1704 as a probable supporter of the government’s actions in the Scotch Plot, and did not present himself as a supporter of the Tack in the division on 28 Nov. Soon after the 1705 election he was classed in separate lists as a High Church courtier and as a placeman, but on 25 Oct. he voted against the Court candidate for Speaker. He appears to have broken with the Court at this point, resigning his army commission shortly afterwards, his fortune secure, having lately inherited Dunster Castle and its estate. His Tory views were confirmed in a further list produced early in 1708. Declining to seek re-election that year, he none the less continued to manage the family’s electoral interest at Minehead. He died on 22 Sept. 1711 and was buried at Dunster.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. H. C. Maxwell Lyte, Hist. Dunster, 218–20.
  • 2. Ibid. 203, 216, 218–20; Wood, Life and Times, ii. 542.
  • 3. Maxwell Lyte, 218–20; Cumbria RO, Carlisle, Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/8, James* to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 13 Dec. 1705.