NICOLL, Humphrey (c.1653-99), of Penvose, St. Tudy, Cornw.

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



Apr. 1694

Family and Education

b. c.1653, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Anthony Nicoll of Penvose, master of the armouries, by Amey, da. and coh. of Peter Speccot of Thornbury, Devon. m. lic. 9 Sept. 1676, aged 23, Rebecca, da. of John Cudworth, Girdler, of New Fish Street Hill, London, 4s. 5da. suc. fa. 1659.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Cornw. 1677-80, 1689-90, j.p. June 1688-d., sherriff 1692-3.


Nicoll was descended from Oto Nicoll, an immigrant from Guernsey, who sat for Lostwithiel in 1437 and acquired Penvose in 1446. His father, a nephew of John Pym and one of the leaders of the Cornish Presbyterians, sat for Bodmin in the Long Parliament on a somewhat dubious return until impeached by the army in 1647 for corruption. He reappeared in the Protectorate Parliaments as knight of the shire.2

Nicoll inherited estates worth £800 p.a., and was described on coming of age as ‘comely, sober, well-bred, of Presbyterian principles and parentage’. He failed to find a bride in the Harley family and two years later married the daughter of a ‘haberdasher of small wares’, who was also first cousin to Lady Masham, Locke’s patron. Presumably a Whig collaborator under James II, he was one of the dissenters added to the commission of the peace and recommended as court candidate for Lostwithiel in 1688. He was returned to the Convention Parliament for Bossiney, seven miles from Penvose, and became a moderately active Member. He did not speak, but was appointed to 31 committees, including those for the toleration and mutiny bills. On 12 Dec. 1689 he acted as teller for the election petition of Humphrey Courtenay for Mitchell. He was apparently absent from the division on the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, but was named to the committee on the bill to impose a general oath of allegiance. He died on 7 Jan. 1699 and was buried at St. Tudy. His son was returned for Tregony as a Whig in 1708.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 344-5; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 972; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London, 54.
  • 2. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, iii. 366-70; Gilbert, Paroch. Hist. Cornw. iv. 268; M. Coate, Cornw. in Gt. Civil War, 32, 56-57, 183, 242-3; D. Underdown, Pride’s Purge, 50, 81; DNB.
  • 3. BL, Portland loan 29/83, Ralph Strettell to Sir Edward Harley, 4 Aug. 1674.