STANHOPE, Hon. Arthur (1627-94), of Nottingham and Stoke by Newark, Notts.

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

bap. 10 Apr. 1627, 11th but o. surv. s. of Philip, 1st Earl of Chesterfield (d.1656) by 1st w. Lady Catherine Hastings, da. of Francis, Lord Hastings. educ. G. Inn, entered 1642. m. Anne, da. of Sir Henry Salusbury, 1st Bt., of Llewenni, Denb., wid. of Dutton Fleetwood of Crawley, Hants, 3s. (2 d.v.p.), 1da.1

Offices Held

J.p. Notts. 1652-82, 1689- d., Derbys. 1656-Mar. 1660; commr. for security, Derbys. and Notts. 1655-6, militia 1659, Notts. and Nottingham Mar. 1660, assessment, Notts. Jan. 1660-80, 1689, Nottingham Aug. 1660-1, 1663-4; oyer and terminer, Midland circuit July 1660; dep. lt. Notts. c. Aug. 1660-83, 1689-d., commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662.2


Stanhope was descended from an escheator of Nottinghamshire under Edward III; from 1402 his ancestors represented the county. The family was strongly royalist during the Civil War; three of his brothers were killed in action, and his father died in prison under the Protectorate. But Stanhope himself was active against the local Cavaliers during the Interregnum, and stood ‘well with the Protector’. In the absence abroad of the second earl, his nephew, he obtained a chancery decree and seized the whole estate. Shortly before the general election of 1660, the disintegrating army of the Commonwealth attacked Nottingham, and began to plunder Stanhope’s house. Col. John Hutchinson obtained an order for their withdrawal, and at the election Stanhope in gratitude ‘laboured more for the colonel than himself’. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was named to six committees, including the drafting committee (3 May) and the committee to consider a proviso about Hutchinson in the indemnity bill. He was probably a supporter of the country party.3

Stanhope was re-elected to the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was again inactive. He was named to only 38 committees, none of which was of political significance until the closing years of the Parliament. As the heir-presumptive to the earldom till 1673, he enjoyed a certain amount of consideration at Court; it was ordered in 1670 that the Newark charter was not to be issued without notifying him. But he was probably already voting with the Opposition, and in 1677 his unmistakable hostility to the Government led Shaftesbury to list him as ‘doubly worthy’. On 22 Feb. he spoke in support of the bill for the recall of English subjects from the French army, claiming that they had been starved and that 20,000 had been slain. He was appointed to the committee to consider this matter, and in the final session of the Parliament to those for disbanding the army and for the speedier conviction of Popish recusants. On 27 Dec. 1678, he complained of the delay in executing the first victims of the Popish Plot:

I am as little for shedding blood as any man; but this is shedding blood, to defer this execution. I expect every minute that some mischief will befall the King, but I hope every Englishman will die upon the spot to revenge that blood.4

Such sentiments should surely have secured Stanhope’s re-election in 1679 if he had stood, and his absence from the Exclusion Parliaments cannot easily be explained. He was allowed to plead ill-health when he retired from the lieutenancy in 1683, but he was active enough in persecuting recusants till he was dropped from the commission. He was restored to both after the Revolution, but did not sit again in Parliament. His great-niece met him in Nottingham in the autumn of 1689, looking ill, pious and very melancholy. ‘I hope the thoughts of his going to heaven do not trouble him’, commented Chesterfield savagely. Stanhope died on 26 Mar. 1694, and was buried at Shelford. His immediate descendants did not sit in Parliament, but in 1774, when the title had at last fallen to his branch of the family, a great-grandson was elected for Winchester.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: E. R. Edwards


  • 1. Notts. RO, Shelford par. reg.; J. T. Godfrey, Churches of the Hundred of Bingham, 418; Vis. Notts. (Thoroton Soc. rec. ser. xiii), 72; N. and Q. (ser. 10), v. 404.
  • 2. Notts. County Recs. ed. Copnall, 10; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 69; Thurloe, iii. 212.
  • 3. A. C. Wood, Notts. in the Civil War, 221; Letters of 2nd Lord Chesterfield, 17; Thurloe, iv. 212; Hutchinson Mems. 321.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1670, p. 138; Grey, iv. 132; vi. 395-6; CJ, ix. 387.
  • 5. CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 241; Notts. County Recs. 137; Letters of Chesterfield, 352; Mansfield Woodhouse reg.