DARELL, Sir John (1645-94), of Calehill, Little Chart, Kent.

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



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679
1690 - 24 Jan. 1694

Family and Education

bap. 20 Aug. 1645, 1st s. of Edward Darell of Gray’s Inn by Dorothy, da. of Robert Kipping of Tudeley. educ. G. Inn, entered 1658; Corpus, Oxf. 1663. m. 4 Aug. 1670, Elizabeth, da. and h. of his uncle Sir John Darell of Calehill, s.p. suc. fa. 1665; kntd. 26 July 1670; suc. uncle 1675.2

Offices Held

Member, Society of Mines Royal 1666, asst. 1669-74, 1675-7, 1682-3; member, Society of Mineral and Battery Works 1667, asst. 1671-7.3

J.p. Kent 1671-8, 1679-80, Feb. 1688-d.; commr. for assessment, Kent 1673-80, 1689-90, Rye 1690, recusants, Kent 1675; recorder, Canterbury 1687-Oct. 1688; dep. lt. Kent Feb. 1688-d.4


Darell’s ancestor, a Yorkshireman, acquired Calehill by marriage in the reign of Henry IV, and sat for Kent in seven Parliaments between 1407 and 1429; but they were not a regular parliamentary family. Darell’s uncle and his father, a lawyer, were Royalists in the second Civil War, and paid respectively £400 and £250 to the county committee for their compositions. On succeeding to his uncle’s estate, Darell became associated with the country party. He signed the protest against the candidature of Sir John Banks at Winchelsea in 1677, and was removed from the commission of the peace by the King’s command. He was returned for Maidstone on the Fane interest at the first election of 1679 and marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. A moderately active Member he was appointed to five committees, including those for the habeas corpus amendment bill and for security against Popery, and voted for the exclusion bill. At the next election Darell was returned for Rye, where he was ‘recommended as a burgess by the fanatics of Canterbury’, and probably also by his neighbour and kinsman Edward Dering. He was again removed from the commission of the peace as leader of the Kentish petitioners in 1680. He remained moderately active in the second Exclusion Parliament, being named to the committees to regulate elections, to reform the collection of the hearth-tax and to bring in a bill for the naturalization of foreign Protestants. He was re-elected in 1681, but left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament.5

Darell probably did not stand in 1685, but became a Whig collaborator later in the reign of James II, to whom he would be the more acceptable because his heir, a distant cousin, was being educated as a Roman Catholic at St. Omer. He was nominated recorder of Canterbury in the new charter, and recommended by the King’s electoral agents as j.p. and deputy lieutenant. They also approved his candidature at Canterbury, with the support of the dissenters; but he is unlikely to have stood there in 1689. He was returned unopposed for Rye in a contested election, and also chosen to represent the Cinque Ports at the coronation of William and Mary. He was inactive in the Convention, in which he was named to only three committees. He was teller against excepting Hereford from the bill for restoring corporations, but did not vote for the disabling clause. He was appointed to the committee for the bill declaring the right of election in the Cinque Ports. Re-elected in 1690, he remained a court Whig, but he died early in 1694 and was buried at Little Chart on 2 Feb. The Calehill estate, valued at £1,035 p.a., was registered as the property of a Catholic non-juror in 1715, and no later member of the family entered Parliament.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. New writ.
  • 2. Little Chart Reg. 50, 116, 148; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. liv), 45; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 240.
  • 3. BL Loan 16.
  • 4. Hasted, Kent, xii. 611.
  • 5. Arch. Cant. xvii. 46-48; A. M. Everitt, Community of Kent and the Great Rebellion, 257; Cal. Comm. Comp. 458; Kent AO, 5a/ZB3/1; HMC Finch, ii. 44; CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 526; Bath mss. Coventry pprs. 6, f. 230.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1691-2, p. 535; CJ, x. 322; Little Chart Reg. 153; PCC 30 Box; English Catholic Nonjurors, 88.