BROXHOLME, William (c.1626-84), of Barrow-upon-Humber, Lincs.

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



25 Feb. 1673
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1626, 1st s. of John Broxholme of Broxholme Place, Lincoln by Troth, da. of Richard Gedney of Bag Enderby, Lincs., wid. of Sir Henry Fowkes of Bulwick, Northants. educ. Jesus, Camb. 1639; L. Inn 1642. unm. suc. fa. 1647.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Lincs. 1647-9, 1657, 1661-80, (Lindsey) Aug. 1660-1, 1663-4; j.p. (Lindsey) 1649-50, Mar. 1660-d.; commr. for militia, Lincs. Mar. 1660, lt.-col. of militia ft. Apr. 1660, receiver-gen. Aug. 1660-9; commr. for sewers, Lincs. Aug. 1660; jt. receiver of hearth-tax, Lincs., Notts. and Kingston-upon-Hull 1664-6; pressmaster, Lincs. 1672-4, commr. for recusants 1675; recorder, Grimsby 1681-d., mayor 1681-2.2

Capt. of ft. Hull garrison Oct. 1660-73; maj. Lord Belasyse’s Ft. 1673-4, regt. of Sir Thomas Slingsby 1678-9.


Broxholme was the last of a minor gentry family that had established several branches in Tudor Lincolnshire. His father represented Lincoln in the Long Parliament and supported the Parliamentarians during the Civil War. On his death Broxholme succeeded him on the Lincolnshire assessment commission, but he was probably a Royalist at heart. At the Restoration he was nominated for the order of the Royal Oak with an income of £1,000 p.a., commissioned in the Hull garrison under Lord Belasyse, and made receiver of taxes. By 1668 he was £10,389 in arrears on his accounts, and to make matters worse for him his surety Anthony Gilby could not be touched ‘being a Parliament man’. He was taken into custody in February 1670 and his lands extended for the debt at £225 p.a. In 1672 he was allowed to go into the country on bail to settle his affairs, and during the third Dutch war he acted as agent for pressing seamen and was promoted to major in a new regiment raised by Belasyse. His need for parliamentary privilege remained, however, and in February 1673 he contested a by-election at Grimsby, probably with Belasyse’s assistance, and was returned ‘by a few voices of the meaner sort’, though at great expense.3

An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, Broxholme was appointed to 19 committees of minor importance, including the committee of elections and privileges in two sessions. His name appeared on the Paston list of court supporters in 1673-4, and on 5 Aug. 1674 the Treasury suspended process against him, ‘the moneys never having come into his hands and the principal of his agents [being] dead’. He was named to the committee on the bill for the drainage of the Lindsey level on 27 May 1675, and in the autumn he received the government whip. He was included among the dependants in the House, and Sir Richard Wiseman wrote approvingly that he ‘went very honestly last session, notwithstanding the ill influences of Sir Robert Carr, and I believe he will be steady’. Any tendency to unsteadiness was doubtless corrected by a note from Lord Treasurer Danby on 4 July 1676 that ‘my lord would be satisfied how he has disposed the King’s money’. In A Seasonable Argument he was described as ‘an indigent Papist’, doubtless because of his association with Belasyse, and it was alleged that he had been given £5,000. Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’ in 1677. He was named to the committee for the bill to enable the trustees of Sir William Thorold to sell land for payment of debts on 14 Feb. 1678, and included in both lists of the court party in that year.4

Broxholme was re-elected to the Exclusion Parliaments and rather surprisingly classed as ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury. An inactive Member of the first Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed only to the elections committee and to that on the bill for encouraging woollen manufactures, and he probably paired with George Pelham in the division on the exclusion bill. As one of the ‘unanimous club’ he could expect opposition at the next election, and he petitioned the Treasury in August, claiming that he would be ruined if he were made to pay his arrears in full. He was discharged by privy seal on making over his lands to two speculators for £1,800. He was returned unopposed, but he took no ascertainable part in the second Exclusion Parliament. He strengthened his interest at Grimsby on the death of Edward King whom he succeeded as recorder. In the Oxford Parliament he was again appointed to the elections committee, and helped to prepare reasons for a conference on the disappearance of the bill of ease for Protestant dissenters. As recorder he presented a loyal address from Grimsby approving the dissolution. He died on 4 Apr. 1684 in his 59th year, and was buried at Barrow. His memorial inscription described him as

a true son of the Church of England, in which faith he died, a loyal subject to the King which he manifested in several Parliaments, a discreet and good magistrate in his country, and a most worthy, just friend, real in all true kindness without any mixture of design. In fine, he was a brave, just and a generous man, and died lamented by all that knew him.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Vis. Lincs. ed. Metcalfe, 15-16; Westminster Abbey Reg. (Harl. Soc. x), 141; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 397.
  • 2. Merc. Pub. 19 Apr. 1660; CSP Dom. Add. 1660-85, p. 108; Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 206, 643; iii. 196, 598, 1224; E. E. Gillett. Grimsby, 135.
  • 3. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 192-6; Keeler, Long Parl. 120; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 314; 1671-2, p. 459; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 410, 478, 1282; Grey, i. 323; BL Loan 29/74, Doughty to Harley, 29 Mar. 1673.
  • 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 564; v. 62.
  • 5. Spencer mss, Hickman to Halifax, 9 Aug. 1679; CSP Dom. 1679-80, pp. 212, 257; Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 219; vii. 183-4; E. E. Gillett, Hist. Grimsby, 135; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 286; London Gazette, 4 Nov. 1681; Lincs. Church Notes (Lincs. Rec. Soc. xxxi), 19.