RALEIGH, Gilbert (1622-c.75), of Rectory House, Downton, Wilts.

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



17 May 1661 - 15 Apr. 1675

Family and Education

b. 1622, and but 1st surv. s. of Gilbert Raleigh of Downton by Lucy, da. of Sir Giles Wroughton of Broad Hinton. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1639. m. Elizabeth, ?da. of James Goddard of South Marston, 2s. suc. fa. 1629.2

Offices Held

J.p. Wilts. July 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d., corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants 1675.3


Raleigh’s grandfather, the elder brother of the great Sir Walter, established himself in Wiltshire, which he represented in the Parliaments of 1584 and 1586. In the closing years of Elizabeth’s reign he leased Downton rectory from Winchester College, and five generations of the family in succession sat for the borough. Raleigh himself is a remarkably obscure figure who took no part in the Civil War. By 1660 at least he was a Royalist and an Anglican, crying: ‘God preserve his Majesty and defend us from the Presbyterian monster’. At the general election of 1661, he was involved in a double return, and seated on the merits of the return. His failure to receive the sacrament at the beginning of the Cavalier Parliament was ascribed to illness. He sat in the House for 14 years without being named to a single committee or appearing on any party list. A default on a call of the House was excused on 31 Jan. 1671. Raleigh’s modest estate was estimated at only £400 p.a., and in 1674 Secretary Williamson successfully intervened with the warden of Winchester to secure a reduction of the entry fine on the renewal of the lease from £170 to £150. His wife came from a little-known branch of the numerous Goddard family, though her brother subsequently became governor of Bermuda. Even the date of Raleigh’s death can only be approximately inferred, for no will has been found, nor even the warrant for a writ for the by-election.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. New writ.
  • 2. Aubrey, Brief Lives, ii. 178; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 4), iii. 293, 361; (ser. 5), ix. 110, 173.
  • 3. Hoare, Wilts. Salisbury, 449.
  • 4. Wilts. RO, Radnor mss 1025, Raleigh to Elliott, 24 Dec. 1660; CJ, viii. 289; Hoare, Repertorium Wiltonense, 17; CSP Dom. 1673-5, p. 386.