WALDEN, Lionel I (1620-98), of Huntingdon.

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. 19 Dec. 1620, o.s. of Lionel Walden of Huntingdon by Elizabeth, da. of Morrice Bawde of Somersby, Lincs. educ. I. Temple 1638. m. Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Charles Balaam of Elm, Cambs., 1s. 2da. suc. fa. by 1660; kntd. 29 Jan. 1673.1

Offices Held

Maj. of ft. (royalist) ?1643-6, lt.-col. 1648, (Ld. Belasyse’s Regt.) 1673-4; col. 1678-9; commr. for Hounslow camp 1687-Oct. 1688.2

J.p. Hunts. July 1660-?89, Ely by 1680-?89; commr. for oyer and terminer, Norfolk circuit July 1660, assessment, Hunts. and Huntingdon Aug. 1660-80, loyal and indigent officers, Hunts. 1662; farmer of excise, Hunts. 1662-74, receiver of taxes 1664-9; pressmaster, Ely 1666; commr. for recusants, Hunts. 1675; conservator, Bedford level 1679-84, 1691-5, bailiff 1684-91; dep. lt. Hunts. by 1680-9; alderman, Huntingdon 1680-?89, mayor 1686.3


The Walden pedigree recorded at the 1613 heralds’ visitation shows some very respectable marriages in the sixteenth century, but the family seems to have come down in the world when it moved from Kent to Huntingdonshire. Walden’s father, the first mayor of Huntingdon, helped to make the town too hot for its former Member, Oliver Cromwell, in 1631, and during the Civil War allegedly contributed £1,200 to the royalist coffers. Walden served in both wars under Sir George Lisle, escaping with a merely nominal fine for his delinquency. Nothing further is heard of him till the Restoration, when he was recommended for a knighthood of the Royal Oak. He was credited with an income of £600 a year, but its source is undetermined; he does not seem to have owned manorial property either in Huntingdonshire or the Isle of Ely.4

Walden was returned for the borough at the general election of 1661, probably on Manchester’s interest. The first of the family to sit, he was a moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, with 74 committees, including that for the corporations bill. He was soon granted the excise farm for the county, which he held without partners for longer than most of the provincial farmers. He was also receiver of assessments for five years, and probably used the proceeds to pay the rent of the excise farm when returns were affected by the closing of alehouses through plague. He opposed the Bedford level bill in 1664, acting as teller with Roger Pepys against two of the bailiffs of the corporation. At Oxford he was appointed to the committee for the five mile bill. The debate of 20 Feb. 1668 on the miscarriages of the war provoked Walden’s first recorded speech, in which he scored off his enemies by affirming that Lord Sandwich [Edward Montagu I] had blamed want of victuals for his failure to press home the attack at Bergen. On 13 Dec. 1670, on being named by Sir George Downing as £7,040 in debt to the crown, he replied that the victuallers owed him much more. He usually voted for supply, and was regarded at this time as a court supporter by both sides of the House.5

Walden was given a regular commission in the third Dutch war. His smartness at the review on Blackheath won the approval of no less an authority than Schomberg, who commended him to the King ‘for as good an officer as ever he served with’. His continued inability to present his accounts as receiver of taxes forced him to look for a patron, and with considerable shrewdness he attached himself to Sir Robert Carr, by whom he was treated with insufferable condescension. Walden was included in the Paston list, and in A Seasonable Argument he was described as being ‘£8,000 in the King’s debt, a Blackheath captain and a Papist: at present has a company of foot and £1,000 a year given him’. The charge of Popery was later held to be a libel, and his excise pension as compensation for loss of the county farm was only £300 a year; but the comment is as accurate as can be expected.6

Walden received the government whip from Secretary Coventry in 1675, and his name appeared on the list of ‘servants and officers’, but his parliamentary performance was highly unsatisfactory. There can be no doubt that this was a well-calculated hint to the Treasury to come to some arrangement about his accounts. Sir Richard Wiseman reported to the lord treasurer: ‘Sir Lionel Walden hath been made to juggle and prevaricate in the King’s service, but he will leave Sir Robert Carr for the time to come’ On 12 July 1676, Danby ordered process to be stayed against Walden, and this respite was continued at intervals until after the dissolution. Shaftesbury noted him as ‘thrice vile’, and his record in 1678 was apparently unimpeachable; he was a court supporter in both lists, and, for only the second time in 18 years, was named to a committee of political importance, that to prepare instructions for disbanding the new-raised forces, in which he had been given a regiment.7

Walden was defeated at the general election of February 1679, and no report was made on his petition. In March, Danby, now in need of all the friends he could get, signed an acquittance for £6,693 12s.10d. plus interest at 12 per cent. Of the principal, £1,226 10s.8d. represented his deliveries to the victuallers and £383 0s.6d. was struck off by assigning his pension. The remainder was harder to justify: £1,600 was cancelled in respect of loans to the King and Sir George Lisle during the Civil Wars, £610 was lost through forgery and defalcation among Walden’s subordinates, and the balance of £2,874 1s.8d. the King was pleased to remit in consideration of the good services of Walden and his father. Blacklisted among the ‘unanimous club’ of court supporters, Walden retired into private life with what can only be described as his ill-gotten gains. By Whitsun, he had purchased at least 200 acres in the Bedford level, the minimum qualification for a conservator of the corporation.8

Walden remained in touch with the Government, reporting on local affairs in Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire, and acting as host to the Duke of York on his journey to Scotland. With the assistance of Lord Ailesbury ( Robert Bruce), he was returned for the county in 1685 without a contest. A very active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was named to 17 committees. He was chairman for two naturalization bills, and was appointed to the committee for taking the accounts of the disbandment commissioners. On 4 June he was one of seven Members ordered to bring in a bill for using part of the revenue from hackney carriage licences for the benefit of Chelsea Hospital.9

Walden was named mayor of Huntingdon under the new charter of 1686, and returned affirmative answers on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. He was nominated as court candidate for Huntingdonshire in 1688. On 8 Dec. a Huntingdon maltster called him a pensioner and a Papist: ‘when he is at home he goes to church, but when he is in London he goes to mass’. But he recovered damages on the latter charge. Probably he and his son lost all their local offices, except those on the Bedford level corporation, after ‘the most miraculous, strange and memorable Revolution; since which there has appeared more violence than respect from the people in power to their memory’. A Jacobite sympathizer, he died on 23 Mar. 1698, and was buried at All Saints, Huntingdon.10

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Lansd. 921, f. 36v.
  • 2. Add. 10115, f. 97; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1432, 1814, 1833.
  • 3. M.I. All Saints, Huntingdon; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 427, 681; iii. 833, 1353; vi. 268; CJ, viii. 569; CSP Dom. 1665-6, p. 484; 1686-7, p. 46; S. Wells, Drainage of the Bedford Level, i. 462-9; Huntingdon Bor. Recs. ed. Griffith, 125-6.
  • 4. Vis. Hunts. (Cam. Soc. xliii), 18; VCH Hunts. ii. 124; Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 4; Cal. Comm. Comp. 2714.
  • 5. E. Hughes, Studies in Admin. and Finance, 147-9; CJ, viii. 579; Grey, i. 87, 323.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1673, p. 552; 1675-6, pp. 24, 249, 262.
  • 7. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 268, 609.
  • 8. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 1288; vi. 3-4.
  • 9. HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 234; CSP Dom. 1682, p. 293; July-Sept. 1683, p. 101.
  • 10. CSP Dom. 1686-7, p. 46; 1687-9, p. 273; Ventris, Reps. ii. 263-6; HMC Finch, iv. 204; Soc. of Genealogists, Huntingdon par. regs.