FERRERS, John (1629-80), of Walton-on-Trent, Derbys. and Tamworth Castle, Staffs.

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



26 Nov. 1669 - 26 Mar. 1670

Family and Education

b. 26 July 1629, o.s. of Sir Humphrey Ferrers of Tamworth Castle by Anne, da. of Sir John Packington of Hampton Lovett, Worcs. educ. Corpus, Camb. 1645. m. Anne, da. and coh. of Sir Dudley Carleton, clerk of the Privy Council 1636-43, of Imber Court, Thames Ditton, Surr., 1s. d.v.p. 1da. suc. fa. 1633.1

Offices Held

Commr. for scandalous ministers, Derbys. and Notts. 1654; sheriff, Derbys. 1654-5, commr. for security 1655-6; j.p. Derbys. 1656-d., Warws. July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Derbys. 1657, Aug. 1660-d., Warws. 1661-3, 1664-d., militia, Derbys. Mar. 1660; c.-in-c. of militia, Derbys. Mar. 1660; dep. lt. Derbys. July 1660-d., Staffs. c. Aug. 1660-1; commr. for oyer and terminer, Midland circuit July 1660, recusants, Derbys. 1675.2

Capt. Lord Chesterfield’s Ft. 1667.


Ferrers’s ancestors registered great estates in Derbyshire and Staffordshire in Domesday Book, and held the title of Earl of Derby from 1138 until it was forfeited after Simon de Montfort’s rebellion. The first of the family to sit in the House of Commons was Sir John Ferrers, who represented Staffordshire in 1478. Ferrers held local office during the Interregnum, but signed the Derbyshire petition to General George Monck for a free Parliament, and was returned for the county at the general election of 1660. An inactive Member of the Convention he was named to ten committees, including that for the indemnity bill. But most of his activity occurred in the second session, during which he made five recorded speeches. He was named to the committees to consider the militia bill, to draft the excise clauses in the bill to abolish the court of wards, and to prepare instructions for disbanding the army. But his chief concern was to prevent the break-up of marriages. On 10 Nov. he brought in a bill to prohibit alimony for wives who left their husbands without consent. He offered a proviso on the second reading, and was the first Member named to the committee. He reported the bill at the end of the month, but it was ordered to be recommitted, and nothing further is heard of it. Ferrers was by no means a complete misogynist, opposing the proposal of Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper to debar mothers from acting as guardians to their own children, and supporting a reward from public funds for the sister of John Lane, who had helped the King to escape after the battle of Worcester.3

Though ‘well-affected’ to the monarchy Ferrers did not stand for re-election in 1661, when the Derbyshire gentry agreed to support William Cavendish, Lord Cavendish, and the Cavalier colonel, John Frescheville. After skilful nursing of the Tamworth constituency he was elected in 1669 by a majority of the ‘populacy and burgesses at large’. During his four months in the Cavalier Parliament, interrupted by the Christmas recess, he probably supported the country party. But he was appointed to only two unimportant committees, and on 26 Mar. 1670 he was unseated in favour of the court candidate, Lord Clifford (Charles Boyle). His only son was drowned in the Trent in 1678, leaving him the last male heir of this branch of the family. He died on 14 Aug. 1680 and was buried at Tamworth. His epitaph claims no particular qualities, but enumerates the noble families with which he was connected by birth and marriage. An improving landlord, he left an estate valued at £2,000 p.a. His great-granddaughter carried the Tamworth interest into the Compton and Townshend families.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / E. R. Edwards


  • 1. Shaw, Staffs. i. 426; The Gen. n.s. xvii. 282.
  • 2. Thurloe, iii. 212; J. C. Cox, Three Centuries of Derbys. Annals, i. 172-3; Stowe 142, f. 70.
  • 3. Dugdale, Warws. 1089, 1135; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 396; Old Parl. Hist. xxiii. 9, 14, 33, 48, 59; CJ, viii. 195.
  • 4. The Reliquary, n.s. vi. 112, HMC Bath, iv. 265; CSP Dom. 1670, p. 136, CJ, ix. 147; Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), ii. (1), 133-4.