MORLEY, Sir William (1639-1701), of Halnaker, Boxgrove, Suss.

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



19 Dec. 1667 - Jan. 1679
Mar. - July 1679
1685 - 1687
1689 - 1700

Family and Education

bap. 21 Mar. 1639, 2nd s. of Sir William Morley† of Halnaker by Mary, da. of Sir Robert Heath†, l.c.j. Kb 1642–6, of Brasted, Kent.  educ. St. John’s, Oxf. 1656; I. Temple 1658.  m. (1) 4 July 1660, Mary (d. 1660), da. of Thomas Lee of Hartwell, Bucks. s.p.; (2) 11 June 1662, Anne (d. 1671), da. and coh. of Sir John Denham† of Middle Scotland Yard, Whitehall, 2s. d.v.p. 2da.; (3) bef. 1679 Anne (d. 1704), da. and coh. of George Mynne of Woodcote, Abinger, Surr., wid. of John Lewknor† of West Dean, nr. Chichester, Suss. s.psuc. bro. 1659; KB 23 Apr. 1661.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Portsmouth 1667; common councilman, Chichester 1685–Oct. 1688; keeper East Walk, Forest of Bere by 1690–?d.2


Morley found a seat at Midhurst by virtue of his third marriage, which brought him an interest at Midhurst through his stepson, John Lewknor*. Shortly after the 1690 election Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) classed him as a Tory and probable Court supporter, and towards the end of the year further noted Morley’s likely support in the event of his own ministerial position coming under attack in the Commons. Marked as ‘doubtful’ by Robert Harley* in April 1691, Morley emerges from the Journals as a frequent absentee from proceedings. He was accorded three weeks’ leave of absence on 15 Jan. 1692 on grounds of ill-health, and again on 18 Feb. 1693 under the same conditions. Absent at a call on 14 Feb. 1695, he was given a further three weeks’ leave on 18 Mar. due to illness. When the House was called on 7 Jan. 1696 he was absent once more and was sent for in the custody of the serjeant. He was forecast as likely to support the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, but at first refused to sign the Association (for which act of defiance he was removed from the commission of the peace), and voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He was given further leave of absence on 16 Mar. 1696, but in November was recorded, albeit on only one list, as having voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. More grants of absence were made on 19 Jan. 1697, 18 Feb. and 16 Apr. 1698, 27 Mar. 1699 and 21 Feb. 1700, mostly for reasons of ill-health. He was marked as a supporter of the Country party in a comparison of the old and new Parliaments in 1698.3

Morley died 30 May 1701 and was buried at Boxgrove, where the inscription on his monument described him as having been ‘eminent for his steady loyalty to the crown, [and] zeal for the Established Church of England’. His surviving daughter later married the Earl of Derby (James Stanley*), bringing with her not only the Halnaker estate but a fortune estimated at more than £50,000.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. lxxxix), 77–78; Add. 5699, ff. 154v, 156, 203; IGI, London.
  • 2. R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 359; A. Hay, Hist. Chichester, 589; Cal. Treas. Pprs. i. 148.
  • 3. L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 123.
  • 4. Add. 5699, ff. 154v, 156, 203.