SCOTT, John (c.1621-64), of Bellerby, Yorks. and Whitehall.
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Family and Education
?b. c.1621, s. of John Scott, dean of York 1625-44. educ. York (Mr Wallis); Christ’s, Camb. adm. 4 July 1635, aged 14, BA 1638. suc. fa. 1644.
Esquire of the body ?1642-6; gent. of the privy chamber 1659-d.1
Maj. (royalist) ?1642-6, (Spanish army) 1656-8; gov. York June 1660-1.2
Freeman, York 1661; commr. for assessment, York 1661-d., corporations, Yorks. 1662-3.3
Nothing certain is known of Scott before 1650, except that he had served Charles I as esquire of the body and his father had died in a debtors’ prison. He may therefore have been the son of the notorious dean of York, a compulsive gambler who was given this preferment to enable him to pay off a debt of honour to an influential courtier, but died in the Fleet during the Civil War.4
Scott himself was in arms for the King, but when he was living at Bellerby in 1650 the North Riding committee was unable to sequestrate his estate ‘because he had nought to sequester’. In June 1651 he petitioned for release from York Castle, to which he had been committed ‘for going above five miles from his habitation, contrary to the Act for confinement of delinquents’, adding that ‘by his long imprisonment, he is reduced to such want that he is now put into the dungeon or lower gaol amongst the common prisoners, by reason of which his condition is very miserable’. After his release, he was active in royalist plots, being implicated by one of Thurloe’s spies in a plan for the seizure of Scarborough Castle. One report describes him as the brother-in-law of William Pierrepont, but this connexion has not been confirmed, though he was active under Sir George Savile in the Nottinghamshire plot of 1655. Although he had been taken prisoner ‘upon manifest circumstances’, the Protector realized that no jury would convict him, and he was allowed to go into exile in the following summer on undertaking ‘to do nothing to the prejudice of the state’. At the exiled Court he made a favourable impression on Sir Edward Hyde, who described him as ‘a very honest man of great sobriety and extraordinary zeal, so that he is ready to go into England though no man’s danger be greater in doing so’. Amnestied after Cromwell’s death, he engaged in several missions to the English Royalists, and was made gentleman of the bedchamber. On the return of the Rump, he undertook to negotiate with Speaker Lenthall’s secretary, ‘an idle person’ who accused Hyde of receiving a pension of £4,000 p.a. to betray the King. The incident was described as ‘false and foolish’ by Lady Mordaunt, whose husband was in direct contact with the Speaker himself, but appears to have done Scott no harm and indeed prompted Sir Philip Monckton to describe him as ‘honest and ingenious’.5
At the Restoration Scott was made governor of York, though the garrison was soon disbanded. He was given the freedom of the city at the King’s command, and returned for York at the general election of 1661. A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 20 committees, of which the most important were to inquire into the shortfall in revenue and to consider the corporations bill in June 1661. He was also named to the committee for the bill to exact reparations from John Hutchinson. Listed as a court dependent in 1664, he was among those entrusted with hearing a petition from the loyal and indigent officers on 31 Mar., but he died during the following recess and was buried in St. Martin in the Fields on 8 July.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Cal. Cl. Sp, iii. 212; Eg. 2542, f. 255; Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 164.
- 2. List of Officers Claiming (1663), 57; CSP Dom. 1660-1, pp. 381, 446; 1661-2, p. 628; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 231.
- 3. York City Lib. corp. house bk. 37, f. 152; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 275.
- 4. Cal. Cl. Sp. iii. 212; iv. 66; J. Jacket, Scrinia Reserata, 207.
- 5. Cal. Comm. Comp. 325; CSP Dom. 1650-1, pp. 240, 250; 1655-6, p. 175; Thurloe, i. 716; iv. 496; v. 187; Underdown, Royalist Comp. 106, 109, 145-6, 166, 207, 336; Cal. Cl. SP, iii. 212; iv. 382, 496, 645, 649; information from Prof. D. Underdown; Lansd. 988, f. 336; HMC Popham, 221.
- 6. Cal Treas. Bks. i. 231, 445, 529; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 486; Westminster City Lib. St. Martin in the Fields par. reg.