JAMES, Roger (c.1620-1700), of Reigate, Surr.

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



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1620, o.s. of Sir Roger James of Reigate by Margaret, da. of Anthony Aucher of Bishopsbourne, Kent. educ. Clare, Camb. 1637; I. Temple 1638; Leyden 1648. m. by 1649, his cos. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Anthony Aucher of Bishopsbourne, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1636.1

Offices Held

Elder, Reigate classis 1647; j.p. Surr. 1659-80, 1690-?d., commr. for militia Mar. 1660, oyer and terminer, Home circuit July 1660, sewers, Surr. and Kent Aug. 1660, assessment, Surr. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90, recusants 1675, rebuilding of Southwark 1677.2


James was descended from a Dutch brewing family originally called van Haestricht which migrated to London about 1540 and adopted the surname of James. James’s father was knighted in 1613, purchased the rectory manor of Reigate in 1614, and was returned to Parliament for the borough in 1625. James himself was apparently a Presbyterian and was not appointed to the commission of the peace until 1659.3

At the general election of 1660 James was involved in a double return at Gatton, and listed as a friend by Lord Wharton. He received the same number of votes as Thomas Turgis and William Oldfield, but did not sit before the election was declared void. At the by-election he made way for Sir Edmund Bowyer. He was successful in 1661 for Reigate, where he had a large house at the east end of the town. He was appointed to only 34 committees in the Cavalier Parliament, of which the most important was on the bill for hindering Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament (28 May 1675). Despite his inactivity in the House, however, his political allegiance was well known, and Shaftesbury considered him ‘thrice worthy’ in 1677. James was again returned for Reigate at both elections of 1679. Marked ‘worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list of the first Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and voted for the exclusion bill. Although the autumn election was contested, James’s own return was not questioned. But he was left out of the commission of the peace in the purge of exclusionist justices in 1680, and took no known part in the second Exclusion Parliament.4

James was not elected in 1681 or 1685 because of the eclipse of the country party in Reigate. He was returned to the Convention, however, in a contested election, though again there was no opposition to his return. He was not named to any committees, but was given leave to go into the country for a fortnight on 23 Apr. 1689. Although presumably a Whig, he was not listed as a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. James unsuccessfully contested the Reigate seat in 1695 and did not sit again. He died on 25 July 1700 and ‘was buried late at night privately according to his own appointment’ at Reigate, the last member of his family to enter Parliament.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 4), v. 106; Vis. Surr. (Harl. Soc. lx), 65.
  • 2. Q. Sess. Recs. (Surr. Rec. Soc. xxxv), 12; C181/7/31.
  • 3. Returns of Aliens (Huguenot Soc. x), 136; Shaw, Eng. Church, ii. 434.
  • 4. CJ, viii. 13; Aubrey, Antiqs. Surr. iv. 192.
  • 5. W. Hooper, Reigate, 196.