NORTON, Sir John, 3rd Bt. (1619-87), of Rotherfield Park, East Tisted, Hants.

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
1685 - 9 Jan. 1687

Family and Education

b. 7 Dec. 1619, 2nd s. of Sir Richard Norton, 1st Bt. (d.1645), of Rotherfield Park by Amy, da. of Thomas Bilson, bp. of Winchester 1597-1616. educ. Corpus Christi, Oxf. 1637; M. Temple 1641. m. c.1658, Dorothy, da. and h. of Thomas March of Ely, Cambs., s.p. suc. bro. Aug./Sept. 1652.1

Offices Held

J.p. Hants July 1660-d.; commr. for oyer and terminer, Western circuit July 1660; dep. lt. Hants c. Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Hants Aug. 1660-80, Ely 1673-80; freeman, Winchester Sept. 1660, Portsmouth 1662; col. of militia ft. Hants Nov. 1660-d., commr. for corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, receiver-gen. 1665-7, 1668-70, high woodward 1669-76, commr. for recusants 1675, wastes and spoils, New Forest 1679.2


Norton’s ancestors had held the manor of East Tisted since the reign of Edward II and first represented the county in 1340. His father, who sat for Petersfield, five miles from his home, in 1621, was a royalist commissioner of array, who compounded in 1644 on the very lenient fine of £500. Norton and his brother were taken prisoner at the fall of Winchester in 1645, and compounded for an additional £100. He took no part in Cavalier conspiracy, but was recommended at the Restoration for the order of the Royal Oak, with an income of £1,000 p.a.3

Norton was returned for the county at the general election of 1661. A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to III committees. He took no part in the Clarendon Code, and, through Sir Humphrey Bennet who lived with him, he probably became a follower of Arlington. He served on the committee to recommend measures for the suppression of Popery in 1666 and on those to inquire into restraints on juries and the miscarriages of the war in 1667. Although the Treasury intimated their severe displeasure with his tardiness in paying in the proceeds of the royal aid in Hampshire, he was reappointed as receiver-general in the following year. After Bennet’s death he was regarded as a friend of Ormonde’s, and included by Sir Thomas Osborne in 1669 among those who had usually voted for supply. He appears to have been active locally in assisting the Admiralty in the procurement of timber, and was rewarded with the post of high woodward of the Hampshire forests. But in his only recorded speech, on 18 Mar. 1673, he supported the complaints of Lord St. John (Charles Powlett I) about the abuses of billeting in Hampshire, which, he said, had been inflicted on private householders as well as innkeepers. He received the government whip in 1675 from Secretary Coventry, and his name continued to appear on the working lists. But, probably under the influence of St. John, his fellow knight of the shire, he resigned his forest post in 1676 and went over to the Opposition. Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’ in 1677.4

In the three Exclusion Parliaments, Norton sat for Petersfield with his cousin Leonard Bilson. Shaftesbury again marked him ‘worthy’, but in 1679 he was appointed only to the committee to inquire into the ordnance office, and he was absent from the division on the exclusion bill. He took no ascertainable part in the next two Parliaments, but presumably opposed exclusion as he was allowed to retain local office. Re-elected in 1685, he was moderately active in James II’s Parliament, in which he was named to six committees, including that to recommend expunctions from the Journals. He died ‘much lamented’ on 9 Jan. 1687 and was buried at East Tisted. His estate was inherited by Francis Powlett, who had married his niece Elizabeth.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. J. S. W. Gibson, Mon. Inscriptions in Hants Churches, 35.
  • 2. Winchester corp. assembly bk. 4, f. 132; R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 169, 357; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 82, 656; ii. 36, 619; iii. 674; iv. 9; v. 264; vi. 199; CSP Dom. 1668-9, pp. 532-3; 1679-80, p. 60.
  • 3. VCH Hants, iii. 31; Cal. Comm. Comp. 848.
  • 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 22, 38; Dering, 144.
  • 5. CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 348; VCH Hants, iii. 34.