VENTRIS, Peyton (1645-91), of Granhams, Great Shelford, Cambs. and Ipswich, Suff.

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



12 Jan. - 4 May 1689

Family and Education

b. Nov. 1645, 1st surv. s. of Edward Ventris, counsellor at law, of Granhams and the Middle Temple by Mary, da. of Sir John Brewse of Little Wenham, Suff. educ. Bury St. Edmunds g.s.; Jesus, Camb. 1660; M. Temple 1664, called 1671. m. Margaret, da. of Henry Whiting, shipowner, of Ipswich, 5s. 1da. suc. fa. 1649; kntd. 31 Oct. 1689.1

Offices Held

Town clerk, Ipswich 1681-4; j.p. Suff. 1685-?d.; commr. for assessment, Suff. and Ipswich 1689-90.2

J.c.p. 4 May 1689-d.


Ventris was descended from the branch of his family which had been settled in Cambridgeshire since the mid-16th century, and had provided a Member for Cambridge in 1558-9. His father was a barrister who does not seem to have taken any part in the Civil War, although he was on the Cambridgeshire militia commission in 1648. Ventris himself was born in Little Wenham, seven miles from Ipswich. He followed his father into the law, and in 1668, while he was still studying at the Middle Temple, he began taking notes of cases, which he continued until his death.3

Ventris met with little success at the bar, and took up residence in Ipswich, where he was appointed town clerk in 1681. In this capacity he obstructed the enforcement of the Conventicles Act against dissenters in the town, and he was not continued in office under the new charter in July 1684. Despite this he was added to the Suffolk commission of the peace the next year, after inheriting property from his father-in-law. He successfully contested Ipswich at the general election of 1689. According to Ailesbury’s list he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant; but he was not active in the Convention. In his only recorded speech he defended the hereditary revenue of the crown.

I should be loth the King’s revenue should depend upon doubt. Revenue given to the King is to his successors where the Act runs ‘the King shall be paid it’, and ‘only to the present King devoted’ it belongs not to his successors.

His only committee was to prepare the bill of rights. His parliamentary career was cut short by his appointment as a judge. He died on 6 Apr. 1691 and was buried in St. Nicholas, Ipswich. His legal reports were published posthumously in two parts in 1696. No later member of the family entered Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. J. J. Muskett, Suff. Manorial Fams. ii. 129-31.
  • 2. Add. 25335, f. 53.
  • 3. Lysons, Cambs. 250.
  • 4. Muskett, ii. 129-30; CSP Dom. 1683-4, p. 265; Grey, ix. 115; N. and Q. ccviii. 48.