SANDYS, Samuel I (1615-85), of Ombersley, Worcs.

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



Apr. 1640
Nov. 1640 - 20 Aug. 1642
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. 15 June 1615, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Edwin Sandys of Ombersley by Penelope, da. of Sir Richard Bulkeley of Beaumaris, Anglesey. m. (1) 12 July 1636, Mary (d.1651), da. and h. of Hugh Barker, DCL, of Chichester, Suss., chancellor of Oxford dioc. 1624-32, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.; (2) Elizabeth (d.1698), da. of Sir John Pakington, 1st Bt., of Westwood Park, Worcs., wid. of Henry Washington of Packington, Leics., s.p. suc. fa. 1623.1

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Worcs. 1642; freeman, Worcester 1643, Bewdley by 1673; j.p. Worcs. by 1644-6, July 1660-d., commr. for excise 1645, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Worcs. Sept. 1660-79, Worcester Sept. 1660-1, 1667-80, Notts. 1673-9, drainage, Bedford level Sept 1660, oyer and terminer, Wales 1661, loyal and indigent officers, Oxon, and Worcs. 1662; bailiff, Bedford level 1663-5, 1666-7, conservator 1665-6, 1668-73; commr. for recusants, Worcs. 1675.2

Lt.-col. of ft. (royalist) 1642-5, col. 1645-6; gov. of Evesham, 1642; lt.-gov. of Worcester, 1644.3

Gent. of the privy chamber (extraordinary) June 1660, (ordinary) 1668-d.4


The Sandys family originated in Furness, but the Worcestershire branch was founded by Archbishop Sandys, whose eldest son first leased Ombersley, three miles from Droitwich, from the crown in 1594 and in 1614 acquired the freehold of the manor subject to a fee-farm rent of £26 19s.3d. Members of the family sat in most of the Elizabethan Parliaments, and first represented the county in 1609. Sandys succeeded to an estate valued at £1,350 p.a., which was improved during his minority, and as one of the Lynn Adventurers he had laid out £8,500 in the Bedford level before the Civil War. He was returned for Droitwich at both elections of 1640, but disabled as a royalist commissioner of array. He commanded a troop of horse at Edgehill and took part in the defence of Worcester. In 1646 he compounded for £2,090 at a tenth, but this was halved in 1648 on the plea that his debts totalled £25,000. An active plotter during the Interregnum, he was imprisoned for a time in 1651, and in 1658 he was associated with the royalist group known as the Trust and led by Mordaunt.5

Although ineligible under the Long Parliament ordinance, Sandys regained his seat at Droitwich in the general election of 1660. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was named only to the committee to recommend rates for the poll-tax, but doubtless supported the Court. He was recommended for the order of the Royal Oak, with an income reduced to £1,000 p.a., and given an honorary post at Court to protect him from his creditors. At the general election of 1661 he was returned for the county with his brother-in-law Sir John Pakington, 2nd Bt.. An active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 283 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges in twelve sessions, acted as teller in five divisions, and made 45 recorded speeches. In the opening session he was named to the committees for the security, corporations and uniformity bills, and for the bill of pains and penalties. On 5 June he was among those to whom were committed two bills of local importance, those for uniting Droitwich parishes and confirming the privileges of the clothiers’ company of Worcester. He served on the deputation from the Commons to ask the King for leave to name the commissioners for the loyal and indigent officers, and on 21 Mar. 1662 he carried to the Lords the bill for Lady Wentworth’s naturalization. When the conflict between the old and the new Adventurers in the Bedford level threatened to erupt in a duel between (Sir) William Tyringham and Richard Gorges, Lord Gorges, Sandys was involved as Tyringham’s second; but at the request of the House the King intervened to prevent bloodshed. In 1663 he was appointed to the committees for Pakington’s estate bill, and for the bill to reform the administration of St. Oswald’s hospital, Worcester. He was among those ordered to devise remedies for the meetings of sectaries and to consider the bill to regulate abuses in the sale of offices. On 15 Dec. 1664 he acted as teller for a reduction in the Worcestershire tax assessment. During this session his own bill for the sale of lands for payment of debts was introduced in the Upper House, and when it came down to the Commons it passed without even the formality of commitment. On 18 Oct. 1666 Sandys moved to empower the King to send out privy seals to all rich and moneyed men ‘and consider of their repayment afterward’. He complained that the debates and resolutions of the House had been published in the enemy press, and that some Members were being misreported to the King. He was appointed to the committee to receive information about the insolence of Popish priests and Jesuits. He helped to manage two conferences on public accounts and to prepare reasons for a third, and he was nominated to the abortive parliamentary commission. A country Cavalier, he was described by Andrew Marvell as standard-bearer of the opposition to the Government’s excise proposals, perhaps an allusion to his disappointed expectations of a regiment in the new-raised forces during the second Dutch war.6

On the fall of Clarendon Sandys was among those instructed to bring in another public accounts bill, and he was the first Member appointed to inquire into the charges against Mordaunt. His name also stands first on the committee for the bill to prevent duelling. Although he disapproved of excessive severity towards recusants, he was appointed to the committee for the bill to prevent the growth of Popery. He was one of the Members ordered both to devise means of increasing security on the highways and to consult the Duke of Albemarle (George Monck) on the subject. When the Lords refused to commit Clarendon, he moved for a Commons protestation, rather boldly, since he was seeking to persuade the Upper House to insert a clause in the Bedford Level bill for his sons’ benefit. Together with (Sir) Thomas Bludworth and William Love he was instructed to take evidence of embezzlement from the deathbed of a naval official, and after further inquiries charged John Backwell with cheating the King out of £65,000; but nothing further seems to have been done. He was among those Members to whom were committed petitions from the merchants trading to France and the loyal and indigent officers. In the debate on the miscarriages of the war on 15 Feb. 1668 he opposed the motion condemning the delay, widely attributed to Lord Arlington (Sir Henry Bennet), in ordering Prince Rupert’s squadron to rejoin the main fleet before the Four Days’ Battle, because it was too sweeping. He demanded that the culprits should be named, and acted as teller against the motion. He was one of those instructed to assist Sir Charles Harbord in his report on alienations of crown lands, and to ask the lord keeper for copies of the proclamation against Papists and nonconformists. He now spoke in favour of an additional excise on wine; ‘the objections against it’, he said, ‘are but to put us upon a land tax’. In the debate on uniting Protestants, he told the House that he ‘never knew a toleration without an army to keep all quiet’. Despite his opposition to the religious policy of the Cabal, his helpfulness in other directions deserved reward, and he was placed on the Household establishment.7

Sandys took a prominent part in the attack on the nonconformists in the next session. He regretted that they had been encouraged by ‘some within these walls’, and was named to the committees for extending the Conventicles Act and receiving information about conventicles. A supporter of Ormonde, he introduced the charges against his principal Irish opponent, Lord Orrery (Roger Boyle). He was the first Member named to the committee on the bill for regulating Kidderminster stuffs and carried it to the Lords on 21 Nov. 1670. One of the committee to inspect the Conventicles and Militia Acts, he ‘aggravated very highly’ the conduct of the London dissenter Jekyll in renewing his suit against the deputy lieutenants in defiance of a ruling of the House. He was appointed to the committee on the bill for the sale of fee-farm rents. He was on both lists of the court party at this time among those independent Members who had usually voted for supply.8

Sandys was perhaps aware of the report in 1673 that ‘at the beginning of the sessions [he] had a £1,000 lick out of the bribe-pot, [and] £15,000 given in the excise farm of Devon’, for he intervened quite irrelevantly in the debate of 22 Feb. to declare that he was ‘not ashamed that he has received the King’s bounty; he never begged anything’. He was appointed to the committee to prevent the growth of Popery, but opposed the test bill that emerged from its proceedings:

The King has called several of these officers, whom you will make incapable by your bill, from beyond sea; they lost their fortunes there for their allegiance in returning hither upon the King’s command.

When Lord Treasurer Clifford was attacked as ‘a person so much suspected of Popery’, Sandys tried to earn his bounty by deploring any prosecution upon common fame, as ‘instanced in my Lord of Strafford, whose innocent blood, and that confessed afterward, was shed upon that account’. His name appeared on the Paston list. When the House was told in 1674 that Lauderdale bore a share in the responsibility for the execution of Charles I he proposed a bill of attainder. He was appointed to a committee for extending habeas corpus, and in the debate on grievances declared that he ‘would have so much force as to keep the King from tumults, and disband the rest’. He probably introduced the bill for the preservation of fishing in the Severn and its tributaries, since his name stands first on the list of the committee and he continued to be appointed to consider similar measures in subsequent sessions.9

Henry Coventry, who shared the representation of Droitwich with Sandys’s son, wrote personally to him before each of the 1675 sessions to secure his attendance. But his speeches were not uniformly helpful to Government. On one occasion he told the House that an assertion by (Sir) John Berkenhead was pure invention. He was among those ordered to prepare reasons for a conference on the jurisdiction of the Lords, and on 5 June moved for a committee to inquire into the authors of the differences between the Houses, which, it was suspected, had been fomented by the Opposition to force a dissolution. Under the Danby administration he no longer needed to restrain his attitude towards Roman Catholics. He was appointed on 23 Oct. to the committee for hindering them from sitting in Parliament, and after the assault on a Protestant convert by the Jesuit St. Germain he declared: ‘This priest has done you a kindness. The nation is full of them, and [I] would have a warrant to search for all priests and Jesuits in general.’ His name appeared on the working lists among those ‘to be remembered’, and Sir Richard Wiseman marked him with a query. But Shaftesbury, with the dissolution question uppermost in his mind, marked him ‘vile’ in 1677 and later doubled it. According to the author of A Seasonable Argument he had sold his ‘boon’ in the excise for £13,500, though the real figure was apparently only £6,000. Nevertheless he was appointed to the committee for the recall of British subjects in the French service, proposing that those who carried recruits over should forfeit their vessels, and to the committee for the better preservation of the liberty of the subject. But these were his last important committees, nor was he otherwise prominent in the closing sessions of the Cavalier Parliament, although listed among the government speakers. On 29 Mar. he found in Marvell ‘a strange confidence, if not an impudence’, and when it was proposed to describe the French King in an address as ‘terrible to your Majesty’s subjects’, he wished to substitute ‘terrible to Christendom, ... for he is not so to his Majesty’s subjects’. His name appeared only on the government list of court supporters in 1678.10

Although Sandys feared a contest in 1679, he was not listed in the ‘unanimous club’, and he was returned unopposed as knight of the shire in both elections. Shaftesbury marked him ‘vile’, but in the first Exclusion Parliament he was appointed only to the elections committee, and he was absent from the division on the bill. In the second Exclusion Parliament he was named only to the committee for the repeal of the Severn Fishery Act. ‘Gallant old Sam’ was now identified as an opponent of exclusion, but the lord lieutenant could not prevail on him to stand for the county again in 1681. He moved down to the family borough, but left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. In 1685 he stood down in his son’s favour, probably for reasons of health. He died on 5 Apr. and was buried at Ombersley. His epitaph records his fidelity to Church and King, in defence of which he spared neither his purse nor his blood:

For prudence, valour, and a generous mind,
Though equalled, not excelled among mankind.
He was the clergy’s friend, the poor’s relief,
Our heart’s joy once, but now his death’s our grief.
Here now he lies, in hopes to rise again,
When Doomsday trumpet sounds, with Christ to reign.11

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Edward Rowlands


  • 1. Nash, Worcs. ii. 221; Mdx. Par. Reg. ix. 33; B. P. Levack, Civil Lawyers, 208-9.
  • 2. List of Worcester Freemen (1747); Univ. Birmingham Hist. Jnl. i. 108; Townshend’s Diary (Worcs. Hist. Soc.) ii. 184; CJ, viii. 164; S. Wells, Drainage of the Bedford Level, i. 456-60.
  • 3. W. H. Black, Docquets of Letters Patent, 281.
  • 4. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 182; LC3/2.
  • 5. VCH Worcs. ii. 427; iii. 463-4, 534; Wells, i. 383; Keeler, Long Parl. 332-3; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1296-7; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 746; CSP Dom. 1651, pp. 157, 203, 462; 1655, p. 220; D. Underdown, Royalist Conspiracy, 143, 242, 259, 298.
  • 6. CJ, viii. 381, 430, 583, 584, 655, 670; HMC 7th Rep. 179; Milward, 27, 29; Bodl. Carte mss 35, ff. 105, 502v; Marvell ed. Margoliouth, i. 148.
  • 7. Milward, 104, 138, 149; CJ, ix. 10, 26, 28, 32, 51, 65; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 109; Grey, i. 75, 95, 99, 110.
  • 8. Grey, i. 161, 182, 294; Dering, 9.
  • 9. Harl. 7020, f. 45v; Grey, ii. 53, 79, 142, 392; Dering, 149.
  • 10. Dering Pprs. 103; Grey, iii. 249, 422; iv. 329; v. 248; Collins, Peerage, ix. 223.
  • 11. Bath mss, Coventry pprs. 19, ff. 150, 152; Bagford Ballads ed. Ebsworth, 999; Nash, Worcs. ii. 218.