ERNLE, Sir John (1647-86), of Whetham House, Calne, Wilts. and The Homme, Much Marcle, Herefs.

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



1685 - 25 Oct. 1686

Family and Education

bap. 31 Dec. 1647, 1st s. of John Ernle. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1664; L. Inn 1666. m. 6 Dec. 1674, Vincentia, da. and coh. of Sir John Kyrle, 2nd Bt., of Much Marcle, 1s. 1da. Kntd. June/July 1673.1

Offices Held

Lt. RN 1664, 1670-2, capt. 1672-80; cornet, Prince Rupert’s horse 1667; capt. Barbados Dgns. 1673-at least 1675.2

Freeman, Portsmouth 1678; j.p. Glos. and Herefs. 1680-d.; conservator, Forest of Dean 1681-d.; dep. lt. Herefs. 1685-d.3


Ernle was one of the gentlemen captains of whom Samuel Pepys so strongly disapproved, even to the extent of ridiculing an episode in which he saved the life of one of his subordinate officers. His naval service was interrupted by the usual education of an eldest son. Prince Rupert thought highly of his courage, especially after he was wounded at the battle of the Texel. He went on half-pay when peace was made with the Dutch, but was given a company in the Irish army, and was employed in the Mediterranean in 1677-9. Although he lived chiefly in Herefordshire after his marriage, he was returned for Calne as a court supporter in 1685. No committee work can be definitely ascribed to him in James II’s Parliament, and he was probably inactive. He died on 25 Oct. 1686 and was buried at Much Marcle. His son, the last of the family, did not enter Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Leonard Naylor


  • 1. Mariner’s Mirror, xxxiii. 100; Cooke, Herefs. iii. 28-29; CSP Dom. 1673, p. 521.
  • 2. CSP Com. 1667, p. 183; 1673-5, pp. 17, 371; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 724; Cat. Pepysian Mss (Navy Rec. Soc. xxvi), 348.
  • 3. R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 363; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 279.
  • 4. Tangier Pprs. (Navy Rec. Soc. lxxiii), 156; CSP Dom. 1673, p. 521; 1677-8, p. 381; Burke, Commoners, iii. 621.