DRAKE, Sir William (c.1651-90), of Shardeloes, nr. Amersham, Bucks.

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



1 Nov. 1669
Mar. 1679
18 Dec. 1680
14 Feb. - Sept. 1690

Family and Education

b. c.1651, 1st s. of Francis Drake of Walton-on-Thames, Surr. by 2nd w. Dorothy, da. of Sir William Spring, 1st Bt., of Pakenham, Suff.; bro. of John Drake. educ. St. John’s, Oxf. matric. 22 Nov. 1667, aged 16; M. Temple 1669. m. c. 1670, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Hon. William Montagu of Boughton, Northants., 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. fa. c.1660; kntd. 2 Sept. 1668; suc. to estates of uncle Sir William Drake, 1st Bt. 1669.1

Offices Held

Dep. lt. Bucks. 1672-Feb. 1688, Sept. 1688-d.; commr. for assessment, Bucks. 1673-80, 1689-90, Cheshire 1690.2


Drake’s father sat for Amersham in the Long Parliament until Pride’s Purge, when, as a leading supporter of the Treaty of Newport, he was imprisoned. He represented Surrey under the Protectorate, and supported the offer of the crown to Cromwell. Drake himself succeeded under age to his uncle’s estate and parliamentary seat, though he defeated an outsider, Sir Ralph Bovey, by a mere six votes, after profuse expenditure. Nevertheless, he was an inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was appointed to only three committees. He appeared in the opposition list of 1671 as a court supporter, and in A Seasonable Argument he was said to be ‘under the command of his father-in-law’. Though he became a deputy lieutenant in 1672, he was never included in the Buckinghamshire commission of the peace. In the working lists he was assigned to Danby’s own management. Sir Richard Wiseman marked his name with a query in 1676, but considered that he ‘may be certainly managed by Mr. Attorney Montagu’ (his father-in-law). When Parliament reassembled he duly seconded in his only recorded speech a grant of £600,000 for the navy. Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’ in 1677, though he was named as a court supporter in both lists of 1678. His sole committee in that year was to consider relief for the creditors of the Merchant Adventurers.3

Drake sat in all the Exclusion Parliaments after contested elections, but he was totally inactive in committee and debate. Shaftesbury again marked him ‘worthy’ in 1679, and he voted for the first exclusion bill. Nevertheless he was included in the ‘unanimous club’, and in August he was opposed by the republican Algernon Sidney. The contest must have been costly, for Drake was compelled to retrench his household expenditure. When the second Exclusion Parliament met, the House declared the election void, but Drake was successful at the subsequent by-election, and also in 1681. He fortified his interest at Amersham by building a stately market-hall for the town in the following year. Returned again in 1685, he was a moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, but none of his four committees was of political importance. In 1688 the King’s electoral agents expected Drake to be re-elected at Amersham, ‘and it is not doubted but he will go right’. No answers are recorded from him on the repeal of the Penal Laws and Tests, and he was removed from the lieutenancy. He was returned to the Convention, but was again inactive, with only two committees. He was listed as a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, and was re-elected, but he was buried at Amersham on 24 Sept 1690. His son Montagu sat as a Tory for Amersham from 1695 to 1698.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 21, 154-5; Guildford Muniment Room, Walton-on-Thames par. reg.; HMC 7th Rep. 487.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1671-2, p. 266.
  • 3. Keeler, Long Parl. 159, D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 110, 147, 168; HMC 7th Rep. 488, CJ, ix. 103, 126, Bucks. Recs. xvii. 11; Grey, iv. 104.
  • 4. HMC 13th Rep. VI, 19; 7th Rep. 475; CJ, ix. 638, 646; VCH Bucks. iii. 141; Lipscomb, iii. 155.