MORICE (afterwards POYNTZ), Sir John (1568-1618), of Chipping Ongar, Essex and Heneage House, Bevis Marks, London

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

bap. 17 Oct. 1568,1 1st s. of James Morice† of Chipping Ongar, att. of the Wards 1589-97, and Elizabeth, da. of George Medley of Tilty Abbey, Essex.2 educ. Jesus, Camb. 1585; M. Temple 1586.3 m. (1) 24 Oct. 1593,4 Katherine, da. and h. of Sir Gabriel Poyntz of North Ockendon, Essex, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.);5 (2) 27 Feb. 1606, Lettice, da. of Edward Fitzgerald† of Stanwell, Mdx., wid. of (Sir) Ambrose Coppinger† of Dawley Court, Mdx., s.p.6 suc. fa. 1597;7 kntd. 22 May 1603.8 d. 31 Jan. 1618.9

Offices Held

Gent. pens. by 1602-c.1611;10 chamberlain of the Exch. 1613-d.11

Commr. sewers, Essex 1605-d., Kent and Suss. 1609-at least 1611;12 dep. lt. Essex by 1613;13 j.p. Essex by 1614-17;14 commr. inquiry into lands of 1st earl of Somerset, Essex 1616.15


Morice’s grandfather, who acquired the manor of Chipping Ongar in 1542 and sat for Downton in 1547, was an early convert to Protestantism.16 Morice’s father, an officer in the Court of Wards with outspoken puritan views, carried on the tradition of parliamentary service. It was probably through the latter’s kinship with the countess of Cumberland that Morice was returned for Appleby in 1601, and re-elected in 1604, with Sir William Bowyer I* of the Exchequer as his colleague. In the opening session Morice was appointed to help prepare for the conference with the Lords of 21 Apr. 1604 on religion, and to consider two bills against ecclesiastical pluralism (4 June).17 He was appointed to help manage the conference with the Lords of 6 Feb. 1606 on the recusancy laws.18 In the third session his only two appointments, both on 29 Nov. 1606, were to consider a bill for the regulation of procedure in ecclesiastical courts, and to prepare for a conference with the Lords on the Union with Scotland.19

On the death of his first wife’s father in 1607, Morice succeeded under entail to the estate, which he valued at £716 a year, and, having ‘acquired lands and goods beyond expectation or any probability’, he changed his name to Poyntz.20 Through Sir Fulke Greville* he obtained the wardship of his nieces, Audrey and Susan Poyntz, who would have succeeded but for the entail. He nevertheless found it difficult to disencumber the estate from various trusts and annuities, and appealed in around March 1608 to the earl of Salisbury (Robert Cecil†), though protesting that ‘I come not a suitor to your lordship for any benefit; I know my deserts cannot challenge it’.21 By this time his health was failing, and he left no trace on the records of the fourth or fifth sessions of the Parliament in 1610.

Morice rebuilt North Ockendon manor house, and joined Bowyer in the Exchequer in 1613, though in a sinecurial capacity. He drew up his will ‘before my journey to the Spa’ in the summer of 1617, but derived no permanent benefit from the waters and died on 31 Jan. 1618.22 He desired his armoury and library to be preserved as heirlooms. The entire estate eventually passed to Sir Thomas Littleton†, who sat for Much Wenlock in the Short and Long Parliaments of 1640.23

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Ongar Par. Reg. ed. F.A. Crisp, 6.
  • 2. Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 256.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 4. Ongar Par. Reg. 78.
  • 5. F. Chancellor, Ancient Sepulchral Mons. of Essex, 184.
  • 6. D. Lysons, Mdx. Parishes, 133.
  • 7. C142/258/74; Essex RO, D/AEW/11/250 (will of James Morice).
  • 8. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 110.
  • 9. C142/369/148.
  • 10. LC2/4/4.
  • 11. Exchequer Officeholders comp. J.C. Sainty (L. and I. Soc. spec. ser. xviii), 19.
  • 12. C181/1, f. 121; 181/2, ff. 87v, 105v, 150v, 230v, 265.
  • 13. APC, 1613-14, p. 278.
  • 14. C66/1988; Cal. Assize Recs., Essex Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 141, 188.
  • 15. C181/2, f. 260.
  • 16. VCH Essex, iv. 161; v. 111.
  • 17. CJ, i. 178a, 231b.
  • 18. Ibid. 263a.
  • 19. Ibid. 326b.
  • 20. WARD 7/39/5.
  • 21. SP14/31/92.
  • 22. PROB 11/131, f. 196; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 136-7; C142/369/148.
  • 23. Morant, Essex, i. 103, 129.