ELIOT, John (1612-85), of Port Eliot, St. Germans, Cornw.

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



Apr. 1640

Family and Education

bap. 18 Oct. 1612, 1st s. of Sir John Eliot of Port Eliot, and bro. of Edward Eliot. educ. Tiverton g.s. by 1628-9; Lincoln, Oxf. 1629-31; travelled abroad (France) 1631-2. m. 28 Nov. 1632 (with £3,000), Honora (d. 1652), da. of Sir Daniel Norton of Southwick, Hants, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 5da. suc. fa. 1632.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Cornw. 1644-8, 1657, 1661-80; v.-adm. Devon 1645-?53, Mar.-Oct. 1660; j.p. Cornw. 1647-53, 1656-70, commr. for militia 1648, Mar. 1660; alderman, Lostwithiel 1655-62; freeman, Liskeard 1661; commr. for recusants, Cornw. 1675.2


The fortunes of the Eliot family were founded on privateering under Henry VIII and partially invested in the former priory of St. Germans, renamed Port Eliot. Eliot’s grandfather sat for the borough in 1572, and his father was celebrated as the most violent leader of the Opposition in the early Parliaments of Charles I. Eliot himself succeeded under age to an estate of £1,500 p.a., and was heavily fined for marrying without the permission of the court of wards. He was elected to the Short Parliament for St. Germans, but played little part in the Civil War or Interregnum, though he was appointed to the county committee in 1644. His estate suffered severely at the hands of the Royalists, and in 1647 the Long Parliament voted him £7,000 as compensation for his own losses and his father’s.3

Eliot finished a bad last in the county election in 1660, but succeeded in regaining his seat at St. Germans after 20 years. Lord Wharton marked him as a friend, and sent him a copy of the case for modified episcopacy. His committee record in the Convention cannot be distinguished from that of John Eliott, but he was probably inactive. He was proposed for the order of the Royal Oak, with the improved income of £2,500. Re-elected in 1661, he was again inactive, being appointed by full name to the committee of elections and privileges in six sessions of the Cavalier Parliament, and probably to 32 others, including those for the execution of the remaining regicides in 1662 and for the inquiry into the miscarriages of the war in 1667. In 1670 he was removed from the commission of the peace, doubtless as an opponent of the Conventicles Act. Sir Richard Wiseman included him in 1676 among the Cornish Members from whom the Government could expect little good, and in the following year Shaftesbury classed him as ‘doubly worthy’. He handed over the representation of the family borough in the Exclusion Parliaments to his two sons, and was buried at St. Germans on 25 Mar. 1685.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 147-50; H. Hulme, Sir John Eliot, 22, 266, 346, 350, 391; The Gen. n.s. i. 23.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1649-50, p. 203; 1652-3, p. 522; 1655, p. 541; 1659-60, p. 571; Add. 1660-85, p. 121; M. Coate, Cornw. in Gt. Civil War, 224; Cornw. RO, Lostwithiel recs.; Liskeard court bk.
  • 3. Gilbert, Paroch. Hist. Cornw. ii. 36-64; Hulme, 17-22, 346-53, 382-7, 391-3; The Gen. n.s. i. 23.
  • 4. Buller Pprs. ed. Worth, 117; Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, xiii. 122.