EGERTON, John, Visct. Brackley (1646-1701).
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Family and Education
b. 9 Nov. 1646, 1st s. of John, 2nd Earl of Bridgwater by Lady Elizabeth Cavendish, da. of Sir William Cavendish†, 1st Duke of Newcastle; bro. of Sir William Egerton and Hon. Charles Egerton†. m. (1) 17 Nov. 1664, Lady Elizabeth Cranfield (d. 3 Mar. 1670), da. and h. of James Cranfield, 2nd Earl of Middlesex, 1s. 1da., d.v.p.; (2) 2 Apr. 1673, Jane, da. of Charles Powlett I, Lord St. John of Basing, 7s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da. KB 23 Apr. 1661; suc. fa. as 3rd Earl of Bridgwater 26 Oct. 1686.1
J.p. Bucks. 1668-87, 1689-d.; dep. lt. 1668-86, ld. lt. 1686-7, 1689-d.; j.p. Herts. by 1676-87; capt. of militia horse, Bucks. by 1680-?6; recorder, Brackley 1686-Sept. 1688.2
PC 7 May 1691-d.; ld. of trade 1695-9; Speaker of the House of Lords 1697, 1700; one of the lds. justices 1699-1700; first ld. of the Admiralty 1699-d.
Lord Brackley’s great-grandfather, a natural son of the Cheshire family, rose to be lord keeper under Elizabeth and to represent his county in two Parliaments. In 1604, he bought the ex-monastic estate of Ashridge on the borders of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. The family took no part in the Civil War, but this did not save their property from the parliamentary forces, as their royalist and Anglican sympathies were well known. The second earl, though usually reckoned a member of the country party in the Cavalier Parliament, voted against exclusion in 1680. Though pressed by Sir Ralph Verney and others, Brackley refused to stand for the county in the Exclusion Parliaments, and showed little enthusiasm for electioneering in 1685. ‘I am forced to be a Parliament man for the county of Buckingham’, he wrote to his Whig cousin, the 4th Lord Herbert of Chirbury, ‘much against my will, but with my father’s command.’ Not only did the secretary of state, Lord Sunderland, write on his behalf, but the Hon. Thomas Wharton asked the Whig electors to give Brackley their second votes, and he finished at the top of the poll. Once elected, he proved an active and a conscientious Member, serving on 14 committees, of which the most important was to recommend expunctions from the Journals. In the second session, he probably went into opposition with his father, whom he succeeded in the following year. He was removed from the lord lieutenancy of Buckinghamshire in 1687 as an opponent of James II. He supported the transfer of the crown and enjoyed the confidence of William III, dying in office as first lord of the Admiralty on 19 Mar. 1701. One of his sons sat for Buckinghamshire from 1706 to 1708, and afterwards for Brackley.3