MILLINGTON, John (c.1638-89), of East Retford, Notts.

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.1638, 1st s. of John Millington of Sturton-le-Steeple, Notts. by w. Elizabeth. educ. Nottingham g.s.; St. John’s Camb. adm. 31 Mar. 1655, aged 17; L. Inn 1655, called 1663. m. 7 May 1661 (with £2,000) Anne, da. of Edward Neville of Grove, Notts., 1s. d.v.p. at least 3da. suc. fa. 1643.1

Offices Held

J.p. Notts. 1666-87, May 1688-?89, commr. for assessment 1673-80; commr. of sewers, Hatfield chase by 1675; steward, Sherwood Forest by 1683-9; dep. recorder, Nottingham ?1682-Mar. 1688, East Retford 1686-Oct. 1688.2

Serjeant-at-law 1684-d.3


Millington was probably akin to the regicide Gilbert Millington, who sat for Nottingham in the Long Parliament, but the pedigree has not been fully worked out. His father, though a commissioner for the midland association, signed the letter of the Nottinghamshire Royalists in 1642, but died in the following summer. His estate was probably not more than £300 p.a., as Millington allowed his mother £100 p.a. after her unfortunate second marriage. Described by Henry Savile as a ‘menial servant’ of the Duke of Newcastle, he stood down at East Retford in 1670 to forward the unopposed return of the courtier Sir Edward Dering. Newcastle recommended him for a mastership in Chancery, but without success, and Secretary Jenkins told the dean of Lincoln in 1682 that he had heard of Millington as ‘an able lawyer and a gentleman of good loyalty and affection’. He seems also to have been unsuccessful in his quest for a post in the Duke of York’s household, but was made serjeant-at-law in 1684. Although primarily a follower of Newcastle, Millington was also on good terms with Lord Halifax (Sir George Savile) with whom he maintained a regular correspondence. Returned unopposed for East Retford in 1685 with his brother-in-law Sir Edward Neville, he was not an active Member of James II’s Parliament, in which he was named only to the committee of elections and privileges, and to the inquiry into the London widows’ and orphans’ fund. Millington’s attitude to subsequent developments is hard to assess. It is not clear why he was removed from the commission of the peace in 1687, for in the previous year the 2nd Duke of Newcastle (Henry Cavendish) seems to have appointed him deputy recorder of East Retford in succession to Neville. In March 1688 he resigned as deputy recorder of Nottingham on grounds of health, perhaps to make way for an abler lawyer, the future chief justice Nathan Wright, but in May he again became j.p. for the county. His answers on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws have not been found, but he seems to have collaborated with James well past the point at which most Churchmen broke away. In July 1688, Newcastle and Millington were alleged to have threatened the county with the King’s displeasure for lighting bonfires for the acquittal of the Seven Bishops, and the East Retford corporation with purging unless they undertook to elect candidates opposed to the Test. Nothing is heard of Millington after the Revolution, which he did not long survive; he was assessed for a subsidy on 17 Nov. 1689, but died, apparently without male issue, before 17 Jan. 1690, when a creditor took out letters of administration.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: E. R. Edwards


  • 1. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. lxxxix), 68; C8/337/65; St. Paul Covent Garden (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxxv), 43; Nottingham Univ. mss, Ey 258; Notts. Mar. Lic. (Index Lib. lviii), 421.
  • 2. HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 117; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 697; viii. 1273; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 169.
  • 3. Hutchinson Mems. 402; Notts, RO, Sturton-le-Steeple par. reg.; A. C. Wood, Notts. in the Civil War, 25.
  • 4. Savile Corresp. (Cam. Soc. lxxi), 25; Clarendon Corresp. i. 66; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 91; CSP Dom. 1682, p. 562; Foxcroft, Halifax, i. 508; Notts. Subsidies ed. Marshall, 28, 31; PC York.