BABINGTON, Philip (c.1632-90), of Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1632, 1st s. of William Babington of Ogle Castle, Northumb. by Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Henry Helmes of Graveley, Herts. educ. G. Inn 1661. m. (1) bef. 6 Aug. 1662, Catherine (d. 9 Sept. 1670), da. of Sir Arthur Hesilrige, 2nd Bt., of Noseley Priory, Leics., wid. of George Fenwick of Brinkburn Priory, Northumb., s.p. (2) 29 May 1679, Anne, da. of William Webb, master of Berwick sch., 1s. d.v.p. 4da. suc. fa. 1648.1

Offices Held

Student of Christ Church, Oxf. 1650; commr. for assessment, Northumb. 1657, Northumb. and Berwick 1689-90; capt. of militia ft. Northumb. Apr. 1660.2

Capt. of ft. (Dutch army) 1676, maj. 1677, lt.-col. 1682-5, Apr. 1688-9; col. (later 6 Ft.) 1689-d.; gov. Berwick 1689-d.3


Babington’s family derived their name from a Northumberland parish in which they were the principal landowners by 1274. But in the course of the next century they moved south, representing Nottinghamshire under Henry VI. Babington’s grandfather, who sold his Oxfordshire estate and bought Heaton Hall on the outskirts of Newcastle, was the first to return. His father was nominated a commissioner of array at the outbreak of the Civil War, but presumably never acted, as his name appeared shortly before his death on the Northumberland militia commission. Babington was offered a commission in the county militia in 1655, but considered a cornetcy beneath him. On his marriage to the daughter of the republican statesman Hesilrige and widow of a Protectorate Member for Berwick, Babington bought Harnham Hall in Bolam, near the birthplace of his ancestors. His first wife died excommunicate, and he had to dispose of the body by hacking out a cave in the garden, with an equally homemade epitaph. Possibly he took service in the Dutch army soon afterwards, for he let Harnham Hall to the covenanter William Veitch, who had been outlawed in Scotland for his part in the Pentland rising, and it was licensed to Veitch (under his alias of Johnson) for Presbyterian worship under the Declaration of Indulgence. He sold all his land in 1677, retaining only his interest in the Heaton colliery. He served as a major alongside the English force under the Duke of Monmouth in 1678, and was wounded and taken prisoner at the battle of St. Denis. After Veitch’s reappearance in Northumberland in the spring of 1685, with commissions from the Earl of Argyll and Lord Grey of Warke to prepare the ground for Monmouth’s invasion, James II demanded Babington’s dismissal. But William of Orange wrote to Lord Treasurer Rochester: ‘I have always found him a very prudent and honourable man, and assuredly a very brave and excellent officer—even one of the best who have served me here of his nation’. Rochester found the King predisposed against him and convinced that Monmouth had depended on him, and William yielded to James’s request that Babington should at least be transferred to another regiment, where he would not be in command of English troops.4

Babington was restored to his old regiment in 1688, and accompanied William to England. His second marriage had strengthened his interest at Berwick, for which he was returned to the Convention, and where he may already have been acting governor. He succeeded to the command of the regiment in April 1689. An inactive Member, he was appointed as ‘Colonel Babington’ to only five committees, those to consider the delays in relieving Londonderry, the militia laws, the conviction of Titus Oates for perjury, the scandalous reflections on William Harbord and the mutiny bill. It was probably he, and not Thomas Babington, who supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. It is not known whether he stood again in 1690. His regiment arrived in Ireland in April, where a fever cut short his promising career shortly before the end of the year.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Gillian Hampson


  • 1. College of Arms; Top. and Gen. i. 277-9; Glos. Inquisitions (Index Lib. ix), 50-51; Hist. Northumb. xi. 404; xiv. 523; Arch. Ael. ser. 4, xxiv. 83.
  • 2. Parl. Intell. 30 Apr. 1660.
  • 3. F. J. G. ten Raa, Het Staatsche Leger, vi. 255; Luttrell, i. 507; J. Childs, Army of Charles II, 243.
  • 4. Top. and Gen. i. 136-7, 275; Thurloe, iii. 568; Hodgson, Northumb. pt. 2, i. 345-7; Mems. of William Veitch, 61, 148; CSP Dom. 1672-3, p. 259; 1685, pp. 107, 339; Clarendon Corresp. i. 118.
  • 5. HMC 7th Rep. 422; Luttrell, ii. 34, 153; HMC Ormonde, n.s. viii. 31; PCC 19 Vere.