EDISBURY, John (c.1646-1713), of Symond's Inn, Chancery Lane, London.

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.1646, 2nd s. of John Edisbury (d.1677) of Pentreclawdd, Denb. by 1st w. Martha, da. of Joshua Downing of Chatham, Kent. educ. G. Inn, entered 1654; Brasenose, Oxf. matric. 9 Nov. 1661, aged 15, BA 1665, MA 1668, DCL 1672; advocate, Doctors’ Commons 1672. unm.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Oxf. Univ. 1677-80; master in Chancery 1684-1709; chancellor, Exeter dioc. 1692-?1709; j.p. Cornw. by 1701-?9.2


Edisbury came of a minor Welsh family resident in Denbighshire from the middle of the 16th century. His grandfather, however, entered the service of the crown as a dockyard official; he received a grant of arms, bought Pentreclawdd in 1630, and was surveyor of the navy from 1632 till his death in 1638. His father was taken prisoner by the parliamentary forces during the Civil War, but was not required to compound for his estate. He became steward to Sir Thomas Myddelton, and served as protonotary of Denbigh and Montgomery from 1647 to the Restoration.3

Edisbury became a civilian, and first stood for the university at the by-election of 1674, but, ‘being soundly jeered and laughed at for an impudent fellow, desisted’. He came top of the poll in the next general election, owing his success to ‘the juniors and potmen, he being one himself’. Shaftesbury regarded his politics as doubtful, but Huntingdon marked him as a court supporter. A moderately active Member of the first Exclusion Parliament, he made no speeches, but was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and instructed to ask Dr Jane, a ritualistic Calvinist and at this time an ardent exponent of passive obedience, to preach a sermon for a fast. On 10 Apr. 1679 he was added to the committee to inquire into the publication of pamphlets defending Danby. Although not appointed by name to the committee for excluding from Convocation those who had not taken the oaths, he sat on it as a university Member and reported the bill. According to the official list he voted against the exclusion bill, but it is more probable that he abstained, as Roger Morrice believed, since he was replaced at the August election by a firmer partisan, and never stood again. He became a master in Chancery in 1684, for which he paid his predecessor £1,500, but must have accepted the Revolution, for he was mentioned as a possible ambassador to Spain in 1692. But in 1708 he was found to have embezzled the funds committed to his charge in order to assist his elder brother, who had ruined himself in building Erddig Hall. He was forced to resign, and died on 16 May 1713. His cousin Kenrick sat for Harwich as a placeman from 1709 to 1713.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Leonard Naylor


  • 1. A. N. Palmer, Country Townships of Wrexham, 224-5.
  • 2. T. D. Hardy, Principal Officers of Chancery, 94-96; Wood’s Life and Times (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxvi), 403; A. L. Cust, Chrons. of Erthig, 143.
  • 3. Palmer, 225-9.
  • 4. Wood’s Life and Times (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxi), 441, 443; CJ, ix. 579, 600; HMC Downshire, i. 31; Luttrell, ii. 326; Cust, 141; Palmer, 224.