PARKHURST, John (c.1643-1731), of Catesby, Northants.

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.1643, 3rd s. of Sir Robert Parkhurst (d.1651) of Pyrford, Surr. being 1st s. by 2nd w. Silena, da. of Sir Thomas Crew of Stene, Northants. educ. Lincoln, Oxf. 1661, MA 1675; Trinity Coll, Camb. 1675, Ll.B. 1677. m. lic. 23 Apr. 1667, Catherine, da. of John Dormer of Lee Grange, Quainton, Bucks., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Northants. 1667-80, co. Dur. 1677-80, Bucks. Glos. and Northants. 1689-90; Steward to bp. of Durham 1674-9; j.p. co. Dur. 1675-?84, Northants. 1677-83, 1687-?d.; master of Greatham hospital, co. Dur. 1676-1711; keeper of Frankland Park, co. Dur. 1676-?84; constable, Durham Castle 1676-84; freeman, Durham 1676, Hartlepool 1680; dep. lt. Northants. by 1701-?d.2

Commr. for prize appeals 1689-99, collector of arrears 1699-at least 1705.3



Parkhurst was the grandson of a lord mayor of London. His father sat for Guildford in all Parliaments from 1625 until secluded at Pride’s Purge. On his death three years later, Parkhurst had the good fortune to come under the care of his uncle John Crew. On coming of age he bought a small estate in Northamptonshire worth £400 p.a. But in 1674 his cousin Nathaniel Crew became bishop of Durham and appointed him steward of his estates. His income was doubled by the grant of Greatham hospital, and his accumulation of degrees at both universities suggests that higher preferment was intended. As constable of Durham Castle, he stood on the bishop’s interest when the city was enfranchised. He narrowly defeated William Tempest, but he was not active in the Cavalier Parliament being named to only two committees for Northamptonshire estate bills. He was one of the Members on the working lists ‘to be fixed’; but Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’, and his hostility to the Court was well enough known to compel him to look for another seat at the general election. He stood for Northamptonshire against Miles Fleetwood, another exclusionist, who declined the poll to avoid expense. Parkhurst was granted leave of absence on 12 Apr. 1679, but returned to vote for the exclusion bill, and a few days later he complained that Humphrey Wharton was pleading privilege to avoid paying royalties on certain lead mines leased to him by the bishop. At the King’s request he was dismissed from his stewardship. He was re-elected unopposed in August 1679 and 1681, but throughout the Exclusion Parliaments made no speeches and sat on no committees. With Gilbert Gerard II he refused to sign the loyal address from Durham in the summer of 1681, and he was included in the list of Northamptonshire Whigs in 1682, when he was noted as an inactive j.p. In the following year he was removed from the commission of the peace, and presented as disaffected by the Northamptonshire grand jury.4

Parkhurst probably did not stand in 1685, but at the end of 1687 the lord lieutenant of Northamptonshire recommended his reappointment to local office. Unlike Bishop Crew, he does not seem to have been an active collaborator, and he was marked on Danby’s list as an opponent of James II. He was returned to the Convention for Brackley on the Crew interest. An inactive Member, he was appointed to ten committees, of which the most important was for the toleration bill, while three others were concerned with Irish affairs. He was made a commissioner of prizes, and was not reckoned a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He remained a government supporter and a placeman under William III.

After his retirement from politics he published the parliamentary proceedings for the 1629 session, which he had found among his grandfather’s papers. He died on 9 May 1731, aged 88, the last of his family to sit in Parliament, and was buried at Catesby.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: E. R. Edwards


  • 1. Baker, Northants. i. 287-8; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 1020.
  • 2. Hutchison, Dur. i. 565; Surtees, Dur. iii. 137; iv. pt. 2, p. 23; information from Mrs M. S. Child; C. Sharp, Hist. Hartlepool, 73.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 146; Cal. Treas. Bks. xiv. 401; xx. 497.
  • 4. Keeler, Long Parl. 296-7; Pepys Diary, 5 Feb. 1668; Examination of Life and Character of Lord Crew (1790), 28; HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 602; CJ, ix. 627; SP29/421/216; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 386; Somers Tracts, viii. 410.
  • 5. Baker, i. 288.