CLAYTON, John (c.1620-at least 1694), of Oakenshaw, Yorks. and the Inner Temple.

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



4 June 1660

Family and Education

b. c.1620, 1st s. of John Clayton of Oakenshaw, recorder of Leeds 1626-61, by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Gerard Fitwilliam of Bentley. educ. Clare, Camb. 1638; I. Temple 1639, called 1648. m. lic. 20 Mar. 1674, ‘aged 48’, Thomasine, da. of Sir Samuel Owfield, Fishmonger, of Covent Garden, Westminster and Upper Gatton, Surr., wid. of Deane Goodwin of Bletchingley, Surr., s.p. suc. fa. 1671.1

Offices Held

Capt. of ft. (parliamentary) 1643, major bef. 1650.2

Commr. for northern association, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1645, assessment 1647-52, 1657, Jan. 1660, Sept. 1660-1, j.p. 1649-52, 1655-July 1660; capt. of militia ft. Yorks. 1650, commr. for militia Mar. 1660.3


Clayton and his father were both lawyers and both zealous Parliamentarians in the Civil War. At the capture of Leeds in 1643 Clayton took the colours of the royalist governor Sir William Savile, 3rd Bt., and he later distinguished himself in the defence of Hull. At the Restoration he reckoned that he had been ‘serviceable’ to the hundred of Askrigg and Morley for 14 years. He probably owed his election for Lostwithiel to the family of his fellow-Member, Walter Moyle, another Inner Temple lawyer, though many years his junior. But in 1660 he was involved in a double return with Henry Ford, which was not resolved in his favour till 4 June. Lord Wharton assigned him to the management of Sir Wilfrid Lawson. On 24 July Clayton wrote to Sir George Savile:

I hope what was concluded the last night at the House (which sat late) will be acceptable news to the clothiers, which I shall send down by this night’s post ... viz. that the customs of all woolien manufactures for the King’s life shall be but 3s.4d.

He was an inactive Member of the Convention, serving, as ‘Major Clayton’, only on the committee for settling ministers before the autumn recess, and on four others afterwards, including that for taking accounts of public moneys; but he probably voted with the Opposition, for all his protestations of loyalty to the King and detestation of Oliverians and Rumpers. He held no office, not even the humblest, after 1660, though his younger brother was on the West Riding commission of the peace, and he seems to have made no particular mark at the bar. He was imprisoned in 1662 for four months on a charge of treasonable words. A bachelor on the wrong side of 50 when his father died, he had to marry within three years a virtuous wife with a portion of at least £800 or lose the inheritance. He chose a Surrey widow of 13 years’ standing, whose son, Deane Goodwin, bequeathed her an annuity on condition that her second husband should not meddle with it, but there is no mention of the marriage on her memorial. Clayton assisted William Jephson at East Grinstead in 1679 by introducing him to the Goodwins, but he took no known part in the politics of the Exclusion crisis, or later. He was still alive in 1694, when he addressed a petition to the benchers of his Inn about his chambers, which had been sub-let to a ‘blackamoor’, but the date of his death has not been ascertained.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. iii. 394-5; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 289.
  • 2. HMC 5th Rep. 110.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1650, p. 506.
  • 4. Notts. RO, DDSR221/94/16, Clayton to Savile; HMC Portland, i. 139; PC2/56/159, 262; PCY 52, f. 380; Bodl. Carte 103, f. 221; I. Temple Recs. iii. 300.