FITZHERBERT, John (c.1624-93), of College Green, Bristol and Luckington, Wilts.

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.1624, 1st s. of William Fitzherbert, merchant, of Bristol. m. by 1652, Anne (d.1682), ?da. of John Fownes, merchant, of Bristol, at least 4s. 2da. suc. fa. 1662.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Wilts. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90, Bristol 1661-3, Som. 1664-5; customer outwards, Bristol Sept. 1660-89, dep. lt. 1674-?89; j.p. Wilts. 1677-d., Glos. 1680-?89, commr. of inquiry, Forest of Dean 1679; alderman, Malmesbury 1685-7.2


Fitzherbert’s grandfather, a younger son of a prolific Oxfordshire gentry family, became an eminent Bristol merchant, and his father, who farmed the prisage of wines from the mother of Sir William Waller I, acquired Luckington, seven miles from Malmesbury, in 1632. At the outbreak of the Civil War Fitzherbert was acting as his father’s clerk. Both were active royalists and claimed losses of £3,000 in the cause. They took temporary refuge in oxford in 1643 when their design to betray Bristol to the Cavaliers was discovered. When the city was reconquered by the New Model Army in 1645, Fitzherbert’s father was thrust into a dungeon in irons, and forced to buy his liberty from Philip Skippon for £360. It was alleged that he enlisted men and collected money for the Royalists in the second Civil War; but there is no mention of this in Fitzherbert’s petition after the Restoration, which earned him a customs post at Bristol. He continued to trade with Newfoundland on his own account, leased an estate in Virginia (together with Sir Humphrey Hooke), and from 1665 was sending local intelligence to Joseph Williamson.3

Fitzherbert was nominated a ‘capital burgess’ in the Malmesbury charter of 1685, and returned for the borough as a Tory six weeks later after a contest. He left no trace on the records of James II’s Parliament. Though he was removed from the Malmesbury corporation in 1687, no doubt as a sop to the dissenters, he gave affirmative answers on the repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, and was recommended for re-election as court candidate. But he is unlikely to have stood for the Convention. Although his son Humphrey replaced him as customer of Bristol after the Revolution, he must have taken the oaths to the new regime, for he continued to sit on the Wiltshire bench. He died on 20 Mar. 1693 and was buried at Luckington. No other member of this family is known to have sat in Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. E134/27, 28 Chas. II Hilary 15; Wilts. N. and Q. vii. 189; Sir T. Phillipps, Mon. Inscriptions Wilts. ii. 51; H. F. Waters, Gen. Gleanings in Eng. 1098; PCC 78 Coker.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 54; vi. 196; ix. 121; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 64; 1687-9, p. 215; PC2/72/555.
  • 3. Paroch. Colls. (Oxon. Rec. Soc. ii), 35-36; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 243; Aubrey and Jackson, Wilts. Colls. 105; Deposition Bks. (Bristol Rec. Soc. vi), 18; Soc. of Merchant Venturers (Bristol Rec. Soc. xvii), 3; Merchants and Merchandise (Bristol Rec. Soc. xix), 258; CSP Dom. 1660-61, p. 201; 1665-6, p. 116; Cal. Cl. SP, v. 256.
  • 4. PC2/72/55; Bodl. Carte 130, f. 24; Phillipps, ii. 51.