ACTON, Sir Edward, 3rd Bt. (c.1650-1716), of Aldenham Hall, nr. Bridgnorth, Salop.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1689 - 1705

Family and Education

b. c.1650, 1st s. of Sir Walter Acton, 2nd Bt.†, of Aldenham Hall by Catherine, da. of Richard Cressett of Upton Cressett and Cound, Salop.  educ. Queen’s, Oxf. matric. 4 May 1666, aged 16, MA 1667; I. Temple 1670.  m. 8 Dec. 1674, Mary, da. and. h. of John Walter of Elberton, Glos., 3s. 5da.  suc. fa. 1665.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Bridgnorth 1673, recorder 1686–d.; freeman, Much Wenlock 1676, bailiff 1686–7; sheriff, Salop 1684–5; freeman, Ludlow 1697.2


On re-election in 1690 Acton was listed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Tory and as a probable Court supporter, while in December Carmarthen again noted him as a likely supporter. The following April, Robert Harley* classed Acton as doubtful but possibly a Court supporter.3

The increasing influence of the Whigs moved Acton into opposition. He was removed from the Shropshire lieutenancy in 1693 through the influence of Hon. Richard Newport I*, and although he signed the Association in February 1696, he had been thought likely to vote against the Court over the proposed council of trade in January of that year, and in March voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. and in November against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. Acton’s record of attendance in Parliament was noticeably poor: he was given leave of absence on 25 Jan. 1693 for 21 days, on 25 Jan. 1694 for his health, and again on 7 Mar. 1695 and 17 Dec. 1696. On 16 Dec. 1697 he was ordered into custody for non-attendance. Released on 12 Jan. 1698, he was granted leave of absence again on 21 Apr. following. In an analysis of the general election results compiled about September 1698, Acton was marked as a member of the Country party and was also forecast as likely to oppose a standing army. After 1700, his voting reflected the changes in the government: he was listed in February 1701 as likely to support the Court in agreeing with the committee of the supply’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’, and in the aftermath of that session was blacklisted as one who had opposed the making of preparations for war. He then voted on 26 Feb. 1702 in favour of the resolution vindicating the conduct of the Commons in the impeachments of the Junto ministers. In Anne’s first Parliament he continued to vote with the High Tories, dividing on 13 Feb. 1703 against agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time to take the oath of abjuration, was also forecast in March 1704 as a supporter of the government’s actions in the Scotch Plot, and voted for the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704. His having been a ‘Tacker’ may have cost his family the seat, for although he possessed a considerable interest at Bridgnorth, his son Whitmore* was defeated there by two Whigs at the 1705 election. Acton died on 28 Sept. 1716.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. liv. 195–6; Glos. N. and Q. iii. 237.
  • 2. Salop RO, Forester mss, copy of Much Wenlock corp. bk.; Ludlow bor. recs. min. bk. 1690–1712.
  • 3. Luttrell Diary, 143; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 319–20.
  • 4. Add. 70235, Sir Edward Harley* to Robert Harley*, 28 July 1693; HMC Portland, iv. 271; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. 195.