JENNINGS, Sir Jonathan (c.1632-1707), of Ripon, Yorks.

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.1632, 2nd s. of Jonathan Jennings of Ripon, and bro. of Edmund Jennings. educ. Ripon g.s.; G. Inn, entered 1649; Christ’s, Camb. adm. 28 June 1650, aged 17. m. Anne, da. of Sir Edward Barkham, 1st Bt., of Tottenham, Mdx. and Southacre, Norf., 1da. Kntd. 18 Mar. 1678.1

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Yorks. 1659, Mar. 1660; alderman, Ripon 1662-87, mayor 1664-5; commr. for assessment, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1663-1680, 1689-90; j.p. (W. Riding) 1674-Sept. 1688 (W. and N. Ridings), Nov. 1688-?d.; liberty of Ripon 1678-?d.; capt. of militia ft. (W. Riding) by 1677; sheriff, Yorks. Nov. 1689-Jan. 1690; dep. lt. (W. Riding) by 1700-d.2

Capt. of ft. regt. of Sir Henry Goodricke 1678-9.3

Commr. for prizes 1691-9.4


Jennings represented Ripon with his brother in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament and was nominated alderman by the commissioners for corporations. A nonconformist minister described him as ‘a debauched person’ and ‘mad against protestant dissenters’. In a duel in 1675 he killed the archbishop’s registrar George Aislabie (father of the Whig statesman). He was convicted of manslaughter at the assizes, but obtained a pardon and was knighted three years later. He was a signatory of the Yorkshire petition of 1683 expressing abhorrence of the Rye House plot, and remained on the Ripon corporation under its remodelled charter in 1686. He came to oppose the ecclesiastical policies of James II, however, and in 1688, refusing to answer the questions of the King’s agents on the Penal Laws and Test Act, he ‘laid his hand on his breast and told us he could not in his conscience own our commission’.5

After a lapse of 30 years, Jennings was successful for Ripon in 1689 on the family interest. A Tory, he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. Four of his speeches in the Convention are recorded, but he was not an active Member, being named to only seven committees. In the debate of 15 Mar. he gave evidence of Popish activities in the neighbourhood of his constituency. He was added to the committee to inspect the new oaths of allegiance and supremacy on 8 June, and appointed to that to regulate army officers’ oaths. As a Yorkshire Member, he served on the committee for the Bathurst estate bill, which he reported and carried to the Lords on 20 June. He acted as teller for reading the London petition against the sacramental test. During the debate on the indemnity bill on 1 July he attacked the record of Sir Thomas Jenner on the ecclesiastical commission. He was named to the committees to examine a petition from the inhabitants of a Yorkshire village against their Roman Catholic landlord, and to inquire into the charges against William Harbord.6

Jennings may not have attended the second session of the Convention, as he had been pricked for sheriff. When he was absent from the call of the House on 7 Jan. 1690, this was declared a breach of privilege, and the King appointed (Sir) Christopher Wandesford in his place. On 24 Jan. a petition was read alleging that Jennings had committed a certain William Brownrigg to York Castle in 1681 for informing Shaftesbury’s steward that witnesses were being suborned. Jennings was given a month to appear to answer the complaint, but Parliament was prorogued three days later. He was re-elected in 1690 as a Tory, and buried in Ripon Minster on 27 Jan. 1707.7

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: P. A. Bolton / Paula Watson


  • 1. Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ii, 201.
  • 2. Ripon corp. mins. 1607-66, f. 548; Ripon Millenary Rec. ed. Harrison, ii. 67-68; Add. 29674, ff. 160-1.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 336.
  • 4. Ibid. ix. 1371; xiv. 301, 401.
  • 5. Diary of Oliver Heywood ed. Turner, ii. 287, 292-3; iii. 209-11; Ripon Millenary Rec. ii. 67-68; CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 300; Reresby Mems. 311.
  • 6. Grey, ix. 165, 387; CJ, x. 197.
  • 7. CJ, x. 325, 335, 342; Clay, ii. 201.