OXENDEN, Sir James, 2nd Bt. (1641-1708), of Deane, Wingham, Kent
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 4 Apr. 1641, 1st s. of Sir Henry Oxenden, 1st Bt.†, of Deane by his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Meredith, 1st Bt., of Leeds Castle, Kent; bro. of George Oxenden*. educ. G. Inn 1657; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1658, BA 1661; travelled abroad (Italy) 1663–5. m. (1) lic. 17 May 1673 (with £3,000), Elizabeth, da. of Edward Chute alias Westrow of Bethersden, Kent, s.p.; (2) 1 Dec. 1698, Arabella (d. 1735), da. of Edward Watson, 2nd Baron Rockingham, s.p. Kntd. 22 Mar. 1672; suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. Aug. 1686.1
Freeman, Sandwich 1679; commr. lodemanage ct. Cinque Ports 1689.2
A strong Exclusionist, Oxenden had played a minor but significant part in the events of the Revolution, when he and Sir Basil Dixwell, 2nd Bt.*, had brought their militia troops to take the fugitive King James under escort at Faversham. ‘Their rude and rebellious carriage to their sovereign’ in these unhappy circumstances was resented by James to such a degree that Oxenden was excluded by name from the indemnity promised in his declaration of 1692. In the Convention Oxenden showed himself a strong Whig, being blacklisted as one of those who had supported the disabling clause in the corporations bill. He did not stand in 1690, his wife later writing that his health having suffered greatly during the Convention, she had ‘prevailed with him to decline the importunities made to him to be of this Parliament, and spend his time with me in the country’. Outside Parliament, his loyalty to the new regime, to which he lent some £7,000 between May 1689 and April 1690, was rewarded by his restoration to the Kent commission of the peace and lieutenancy, and by his inclusion, in March 1694, in a local commission of inquiry into lands conveyed to ‘Popish and superstitious uses’.3
In April 1698 Philip Papillon* reported that ‘great interest is making in Kent for knights of the shire’. He hoped ‘our East Kentish men will stand fast to Sir Ja[mes] Oxenden, who is of clear reputation and of good estate and well deserving of his neighbours, among whom he generally resides and studies their welfare’. Clearly Oxenden was standing on a Whig interest, and after his return was marked at first as a Court supporter in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments. A subsequent reconsideration of this listing introduced an element of doubt, however, and in a further analysis of the House in early 1700 into factions and connexions he was noted as doubtful, and possibly even as an adherent of the Country opposition. Having suffered greatly from rheumatism since the reign of James II, Oxenden appears to have been almost overcome by pain by 1700, and did not stand for the first 1701 Parliament, although he was returned to his former borough of Sandwich in the last Parliament of the reign. Robert Harley’s* list of the December 1701 Parliament classed him with the Whigs but he was not a particularly active Member, and did not put up for election again.4
Oxenden died on 29 Sept. 1708. He left as much as £100 to be laid out on funeral expenses, but also £1,500 to Christ’s Hospital and a further sum to pay a schoolmaster to teach the poor boys of his own and a neighbouring parish to read, write and know their ‘Church catechism’, though ‘not to teach them Latin or any other language’. He was succeeded first by his brother and within a year by a nephew, Sir Henry, 4th Bt.*5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. The Gen. n.s. viii. 40; Coll. and Travels ed. A. and J. Churchill (1744–6), vi. 520, 663; IGI, London.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 210.
- 3. Clarke, Jas. II, ii. 485; BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 27, E[lizabeth] Oxenden to [?Lady Trumbull], 31 Aug. 1691; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1973–4, 1980–1, 1988–9, 1994; x. 558; CSP Dom. 1694–5, p. 20.
- 4. Centre Kentish Stud. Papillon mss U1015/C44, p. 91; Locke Corresp. ed. de Beer, vii. 266–7; Herts. RO, Panshanger mss D/EP/F29, p. 269.
- 5. PCC 216 Barrett.