ANDERTON, James (b.1661), of the Inner Temple, London and Wigan, Lancs.

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



Feb. 1701 - 1705

Family and Education

bap. 22 Aug. 1661, 2nd s. of John Anderton of Wigan.  educ. Barnard’s Inn c.1678; I. Temple 1681, called 1686.  m. Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Jennings of Burton, Som., 3da.1

Offices Held

Attorney and serjeant in Lancs. 1687–9; King’s counsel of the duchy of Lancaster 1689–97; ?dep. custos rot. Lancs. 1698.2


Anderton was a practising lawyer. Little is known of his early life, though it seems that in 1688 he was serving Wigan corporation, which had been regulated by Lord Brandon (Charles Gerard*), in a legal capacity. The implication that Anderton collaborated with James II’s policies is strengthened by his appointment in 1687 to legal office in the duchy of Lancaster by Robert Phelips†, a supporter of James’s policies and a non-juror after the Revolution. Anderton was removed from the duchy in April 1689, but in December the same year he obtained a different legal post within the duchy, and in July 1698 it became apparent that the Earl of Macclesfield (as Brandon had become) intended to nominate him as deputy custos of Lancashire. Macclesfield was piqued at the recent appointment of George Kenyon* as recorder of Wigan, despite attempts to blacken Kenyon as a Jacobite. Kenyon was also Lancashire’s clerk of the peace by letters patent, and Peter Shakerley* perceptively noted that Anderton’s proposed appointment was intended to ‘nip’ Kenyon ‘of some profits’. Shakerley suggested that the Lancashire ‘gentlemen’ should ‘remonstrate by petition to the King and Council’ on the matter, and though it is unclear whether Anderton was appointed he unsuccessfully contested Wigan in 1698 in alliance with Sir Alexander Rigby*, a political ally of Macclesfield.3

The Somerset connexions of Anderton’s wife led him to stand for Ilchester in the first 1701 election. After a hard-fought and notably venal election he was returned with a director of the New East India Company, but although Anderton had acted as counsel for the company, and despite his links with the Whig Macclesfield, he proved himself a committed Tory in the Commons. Blacklisted as having opposed during the 1701 session the preparations for war with France, he retained his seat at the second election of the year and, ironically, given the extensive bribes whereby he had obtained his return, was added on 20 Jan. 1702 to the committee drafting a bill for the better prevention of bribery at elections. The following month, on the 26th, he voted for the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the last session against the former Whig ministers. Though sitting for a Somerset borough, Anderton’s few significant committee nominations suggest his continuing concern for matters relating to the north-west, as he was appointed to examine the accounts of a late receiver of taxes for Cheshire and north Wales (25 Mar.), and reported upon the bill to vest lands of Whitworth parish, Cheshire in trustees (27 Mar.). When on 30 Mar. 1702 the Queen offered to return £100,000 from the civil list due to ‘the great necessities of the nation’ Anderton was among those who offered what Sir Richard Cocks, 2nd Bt.*, called ‘nauseous and flattering expressions of thanks’, proposing that Parliament give the Queen ‘£200,000 more to return the compliment’. Later in the session, on 12 May, Anderton seconded the petition, presented by Sir John Bolles, 4th Bt.*, of those imprisoned for the Assassination Plot, requesting that they be banished rather than have their imprisonment continued. His return for Ilchester in 1702 was complicated by a complaint against him of electoral bribery, though in January 1703 he was declared duly elected. In October 1704 he was forecast as a probable supporter of the Tack and either voted for it, or was absent, on 28 Nov. He did not stand for election again. The date of his death has not been ascertained.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Richard Harrison


  • 1. IGI, Lancs.; Burke, Commoners, iv. 538.
  • 2. Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Official Lists, 56, 101.
  • 3. HMC Kenyon, 196, 425.
  • 4. Cocks Diary, 260, 288; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 254, 262.