KIRTON, James II (-d.1611), of the Middle Temple, London and West Camel, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press




Family and Education

2nd s. of Robert Kirton (d. c.1565) of Wells, Som. educ. New Inn; M. Temple 1585, called 1596.1 m. 17 Sept. 1599, Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Rodney* of Pilton and Rodney Stoke, Som., 3s.2 d. by 10 Feb. 1611.3

Offices Held

Recorder, Wells 1601-10, freeman 1601, fee’d counsel 1610.4


Described as the son of Robert Kirton of Wells on his admission to the Middle Temple in 1585, Kirton was the first cousin of James Kirton I*.5 His father may have been the Robert ‘Kerton’ who graduated as a bachelor of Civil Law at Oxford in March 1562.6 If so, then Robert probably moved to Wells, where he was made free in 1561 to practise as an ecclesiastical lawyer. Kirton himself was presumably very young when his father died in the mid-1560s.7 Unlike his namesake, Kirton was not formally employed by Edward Seymour, 1st earl of Hertford, but he nevertheless acted as a trustee and conducted other business for the earl. Moreover, his father-in-law, Sir John Rodney, was closely connected with the Seymours.8

Kirton was elected recorder of Wells in August 1601 and was returned to Parliament for the borough later the same year. Re-elected in 1604, he is not differentiated in the Commons Journal from his cousin, who sat for Ludgershall, but most of the references to a ‘Mr. Kirton’ can safely be attributed to the latter. Nevertheless, it was presumably this Member who was named on 26 Apr. 1604 to the bill for settling a Somerset estate on his father-in-law, Sir John Rodney.9 In the second session both Members were added to the committee appointed to consider the bill for reforming abuses in the Marshalsea (21 Mar. 1606).10 On 10 Nov. 1606 Kirton witnessed, before the lord chancellor, the taking of the oath of a freeman of Wells by Edward Forsett. The corporation had insisted that Forsett be sworn before returning him at a by-election three days later. In August 1607, following the end of the third session, Kirton was voted a ‘gratuity’ of £5 by the Wells corporation in recompense for ‘his great charge as it is now alleged’ in attending ‘the Parliament last past’.11

Before the start of the fourth session Kirton tendered his resignation as recorder ‘at the earnest entreaty’ of the corporation, and he was replaced on 2 Jan. 1610, although he was retained as one of the borough’s counsel at 40s. p.a. It may be possible that declining health was responsible for his resignation as, in the only unambiguous reference to him in the parliamentary records, on 12 Mar. 1610, Kirton was granted leave of absence from the Commons ‘for his health’.12 He had died, intestate, by 10 Feb. 1611, when his chambers in the Middle Temple were reassigned, and letters of administration were granted to his widow on 2 March.13

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Henry Lancaster / Ben Coates


  • 1. MTR, 279, 369; Som. Wills from Exeter ed. S.W. Rawlins and I. Fitzroy Jones (Som. Rec. Soc. lxii), 25.
  • 2. Som. RO, Pilton par. reg.; J. Collinson, Hist. and Antiqs. of County of Som. (1791), iii. 605; GI Admiss.; Al. Ox.
  • 3. MTR, 535.
  • 4. Wells Convocation Act Bks. ed. A. Nott and J. Hasler (Som. Rec. Soc. xc-xci), 141, 222.
  • 5. HMC Bath, iv. 163; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. cix-cx), 87.
  • 6. Al. Ox.
  • 7. Wells City Chs. ed. D.O. Shilton and R. Holworthy (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 181; Wells Convocation Act Bks. 141.
  • 8. CSP Dom. Addenda, 1580-1625, p. 515; Wilts. IPMs ed. G.S. and A.E. Fry (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxiii), 22-4.
  • 9. CJ, i. 185a.
  • 10. HLRO, HC/CL/JO/1/5, f. 81v.
  • 11. Wells Convocation Act Bks. 194, 200.
  • 12. Ibid. 221-2; CJ, i. 409a.
  • 13. PROB 6/8, f. 10v.