HERVEY, John (1616-80), of Ickworth, Suff. and Westminster.

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. 18 Aug. 1616, 1st s. of Sir William Hervey of Ickworth by 1st w. Susan, da. of Sir Robert Jermyn of Rushbrooke; bro. of Sir Thomas Hervey. educ. travelled abroad 1636; Leyden 1637. m. 1658 (with £30,000), Elizabeth, da. and h. of William Hervey, 1st Baron Hervey of Kidbrooke, s.p. suc. fa. 1660.1

Offices Held

Gent. of the privy chamber ?1641-6; treasurer and receiver to Queen Catherine of Braganza 1662-d.2

Capt. of horse (royalist) 1642-6.3

J.p. Suff. July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Suff. Aug. 1660-d., Westminster 1661-d., Mdx. 1673-d., Norf. 1677-d., loyal and indigent officers, Suff. 1662, recusants 1675; member, Royal Fishery Co. 1677.4

FRS 1664-d.


Hervey’s ancestors were originally seated in Bedfordshire, which they first represented in 1386. He was descended from a younger son who married the heiress of Ickworth about the middle of the 15th century. His father, who sat for Bury St. Edmunds in 1628-9, was neutral in the Civil War, but Hervey himself raised a troop of horse for the King. He compounded in 1646 on goods and chattels worth £240, and was fined £24 on the Exeter articles. Shortly before the Restoration, while engaged, according to a later account, in a royalist plot, he married a distant cousin, and when he succeeded to the family estate in September 1660 their combined income was £2,000 p.a. He appears to have left the management of the Suffolk estate to his brother, preferring a life at Court, where he had the support of his cousin, the Earl of St. Albans, and it soon became known that ‘when we have a queen’ Hervey would be appointed treasurer of her household.5

Hervey was returned for Hythe on the recommendation of the lord warden and the Earl of Sandwich (Edward Montagu I) at the general election of 1661. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was named to only 20 committees, of which the most important were for the bill of pains and penalties (4 July 1661) and the bill to regulate the sale of offices and honours (18 May 1663). He acted as one of the trustees in the development of St. James’s by Lord St. Albans, and was added to the committee on the bill for creating a separate parish. A patron of Cowley, he became a fellow of the Royal Society, and one of the principal shareholders in the Duke of York’s theatre. He was listed as a court dependant in 1664 and on both lists of the court party in 1669-71. His name appeared on the Paston list and on the list of King’s servants in 1675, though he was named to few committees after the fall of Clarendon, and his reluctant support for the Danby administration was the subject of a ‘much talked of’ anecdote. On the day after a reproof from the King for voting with the Opposition, he duly went into the government lobby. ‘You were not against me to-day’, the King remarked. ‘No, sir’, replied Hervey, ‘I was against my conscience to-day’. Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’, and in Flagellum Parliamentarium he was called ‘a court cully’. Although listed by the government managers as ‘wanting’ in a debate, he was on both lists of the court party in 1678. As one of the ‘unanimous club’, he probably never stood again, though his brother sat for Bury St. Edmunds in the Exclusion Parliaments. On 29 Nov. 1679 Sir Charles Lyttelton wrote that he was not likely to live much longer, and he died on 18 Jan. 1680, aged 64. After legacies exceeding £12,000, he bequeathed the residue of his estate to his brother, on condition that he bought land to the value of £20,000. He was buried at Ickworth, where his memorial describes him as ‘distinguished in character, powerful in intellect, bountiful in favour, impeccable in judgment, abundant in blessings’.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Vis. Suff. ed. Howard, ii. 195-6; HMC Lords, i. 264-5.
  • 2. LC3/1; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 464.
  • 3. P. Young, Edgehill, 210.
  • 4. Sel. Charters (Selden Soc. xxviii), 198.
  • 5. J. Gage, Hundred of Thingoe, 293; HMC 13th Rep. IV, 457-8; SP23/184/881; Cases in Chancery 1660-97, ii. 180; HMC 5th Rep. 150.
  • 6. Survey of London, xxix. 22; A. H. Nethercot, Abraham Cowley, 76, 297; L. Hotson, Commonwealth and Restoration Stages, 231; Burnet, ii. 80-81, Hatton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxii), 207; PCC 179 Bath; Vis. Suff. ii. 147.