PAKINGTON, Sir John, 3rd Bt. (c.1649-88), of Westwood Park, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1649, o.s. of Sir John Pakington, 2nd Bt. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1662; travelled abroad (Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Low Countries) 1665-8; Padua 1666 m. lic. 17 Dec. 1668, Margaret (d.1690), da. of Sir John Keyt, 1st Bt., of Ebrington, Glos., 1s. suc. fa. Jan. 1680.1
Commr. for assessment, Worcs. 1673-80, j.p. and dep. lt. 1680-Mar. 1688; freeman, Droitwich 1683; alderman, Bewdley 1685-d.2
Pakington inherited a taste for learning from his mother, and became something of a scholar in Anglo-Saxon under the direction of the future non-juror, George Hickes, who was appointed dean of Worcester in 1683. He was returned for the county at the general election of 1685 as a Tory on the nomination of the lord lieutenant and with ‘the approbation of most of the gentry’. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was named to the committee of elections and privileges, and to those to recommend expunctions from the Journals and to consider the bill for establishing St. James, Piccadilly as a separate parish. A devout Anglican, he was listed among the Opposition in 1687, and in March 1688 he produced a long and closely argued reply to the lord lieutenant’s questions:
1. The principal intent of the Test and Penal Laws (amongst which the Act of Uniformity is to be reckoned of the greatest importance) being to secure the Protestant religion, till I am convinced that it is now in less danger than when those laws were enacted, or some better security shall be proposed then they offered us, I humbly conceive they cannot be taken off without eminent hazard (if not ruin) to the Church of England, of which I profess myself a member. I can neither in conscience nor honour (if a Parliament man) consent to the releasing a title that relates to its protection and support.
2. For what is not justifiable when done in one’s own person can certainly never become so if done by proxy, for which reason neither can I contribute to the electing of any that shall be inclined to abrogate the Penal Laws, that being in effect to promote that action in another which I myself disapprove.
3. Living friendly with men of what persuasion soever is a doctrine so suitable both to my inclinations and constant practice that before I grow mutinous I must offer all the violence imaginable both to nature and custom, and therefore [it] were superfluous to tell your lordship how readily I can concur with this proposal, with which if in any circumstance my future behaviour should not perfectly agree, your lordship may conclude it my misfortune and not my fault.
Pakington was not called on to make good the ominous language with which he concluded his somewhat verbose reply, for he died later that month, being buried at Hampton Lovett on 28 Mar. The 4th baronet represented Worcestershire as a Tory in 11 Parliaments.3