OSBALDESTON, Sir Littleton, 1st Bt. (c.1631-91), of Chadlington, Oxon.
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Family and Education
b. c.1631, 1st s. of John Osbaston of Chadlington by Joan, da. of Sir Edward Littleton of Henley, Salop. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1647-8; I. Temple 1651, called 1658. m. 21 Nov. 1655, Catherine (d. 24 Mar. 1695), da. of Thomas Browker of the Inner Temple and Sundridge, Kent, 3s. 1da. cr. Bt. 25 June 1664; suc. fa. aft. 1668.1
Commr. for assessment, Oxon. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90; j.p. Oxon. 1661-6, by 1669-?d., Woodstock 1669, 1674; commr. for corporations, Oxon. 1662-3; freeman and common councilman, Woodstock 1662-d., recorder July-Oct. 1688; sub-commr. of excise Oxon. and Berks. 1671-2, Bristol, Glos. and Oxon. 1673-4; bencher, I. Temple 1675; commr. for recusants, Oxon. 1675, dep. lt. Feb.-Oct. 1688.2
Osbaldeston’s ancestors, of Lancashire origin, settled in Oxfordshire in the 15th century. His father, already seriously indebted before the Civil War, was fined £354 6s.6d. for adhering to the King’s forces. Osbaldeston himself was ejected from Magdalen by the parliamentary visitors in August 1648. His father was a prisoner for debt at Oxford in 1650, and to retrieve the family fortunes Osbaldeston entered the legal profession, in which his maternal ancestors had played so distinguished a part. After the Restoration he helped to regulate the Woodstock corporation, and was created a baronet. His father was still living in 1668, but had probably made over the estate to him. He was returned for Woodstock, about five miles from Chadlington, at both elections of 1679, and marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. He had leave for a fortnight on 28 Apr. and was absent from the vote on the first exclusion bill. He made no speeches and sat on no committees in either Parliament, but may have gone over to the Court, for he made way, probably by agreement, for the court supporter Henry Bertie in 1681, and accompanied Lord Norris with the loyal address from Woodstock in June. He regained his seat in 1685, but was named to only two committees in James II’s Parliament, those for the bills to suppress hawkers and to encourage woollen manufactures. He was one of the few Oxfordshire gentry to consent to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. He declared that he was a
weak, infirm person, and not like for ought he knows to be a Member of Parliament. But if he should be so, he should give his consent for taking off such Penal Laws and Tests as do hinder any sort of dissenters from the Church of England from exercising their religion, that they may not be troubled or molested therefore, either in their persons or estates. ... He will contribute his assistance for the election of such persons to serve in Parliament as shall be most pleasing to his Majesty. ... He shall comply with the King’s declaration for liberty of conscience. ... He has lived friendly and amicably all his lifetime with all sorts of dissenters from the Church of England, and is resolved to continue so to do, as a good Christian and a subject of the same prince.
He was appointed recorder of Woodstock under the new charter, and recommended as court candidate in September 1688, but he is not known to have stood again. At the Revolution he was removed from the lieutenancy, but continued to serve as justice of the peace until his death. He died on 26 Dec. 1691, aged 60, and was buried at Chadlington, the sole member of his family to sit in Parliament.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. Par. Colls. (Oxf. Rec. Soc. ii), 79; St. Paul Covent Garden (Harl. Soc. Reg. xxxv), 35; Bodl. Wills. Oxon. 171/2/4.
- 2. Cal. Comm. Comp. 2206; A. Ballard, Chrons. Woodstock, 92; Woodstock Council Acts, 1661-79 (16 Aug. 1662); Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 881, 1155; iv. 69; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 229.
- 3. SP23/218/685-701; EHR, xl. 255; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 285.