ARCHDALE, John (1642-1717), of Temple Wycombe, Bucks.

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



1698 - 6 Jan. 1699

Family and Education

bap. 5 May 1642, 1st surv. s. of Thomas Archdale of Temple Wycombe by Mary, da. of John Neville, grocer and alderman of London.  m. lic. 3 Dec. 1673, Anne Dobson (d. 1719), of High Wycombe, wid. of Walter Cary of High Wycombe 1s. 3da.  suc. fa. 1676.1

Offices Held

Gov. N. Carolina 1695–7.


Archdale’s grandfather, a vintner in Dowgate Street, London, acquired the manor of Loakes in Buckinghamshire in 1604 and that of Temple Wycombe in 1628. After holding office as sheriff in 1639–40 his father served with Edmund Waller†, the poet, on the county lieutenancy for Buckinghamshire in 1642. In 1664 Archdale went over to New England to try to make good the claims of his brother-in-law Ferdinando Gorges (who had married his sister, Mary) to the ownership of Maine, but his mission was unsuccessful. He returned to England in 1665 and in 1673 married a local widow, whose son, Thomas Cary, became a deputy-governor of Carolina. In 1674, Archdale became a member of the Society of Friends although the vicar of Wycombe tried to dissuade him by arguing the Church of England case with him for several days. The death of his father in September 1676, one month after that of his elder brother, saw Archdale inherit the family’s Buckinghamshire properties. In 1678 he purchased Lord Berkeley of Stratton’s share in Carolina, making over the title to his infant son, Thomas*. In 1682–3 he accepted a commission from the Carolina proprietors to collect rents from North Carolina, where a number of Quakers had settled, and thence he corresponded with George Fox. Although back home again in 1686, he returned in 1695 as governor, but two years later, after his son sold his share in the colony, he came back to England. As governor, he advocated freedom of conscience in the colony, declaring ‘Dissenters could kill wolves and bears, fell trees and clear ground, as well as Churchmen’, and was lenient to the Indians.2

Archdale’s estate of around £500 p.a. provided him with a political interest in Wycombe, and he seems to have surprised the Wharton interest with his candidature in 1698. Subsequently, he was able to claim that he ‘was chose by the majority of the Church of England without his own seeking’, an inference, possibly, that he had Tory support. However, election to Parliament necessitated taking the oaths. One Quaker reported that:

Archdale intends to stand his choice this sessions. I am not easy at it for, first, I question if he can qualify himself . . . and yet keep within the verge of his principle as a Friend. But however it will cause many to imagine that we aim at that post, and to prevent us they may abridge us of the liberty they intended us.

Before the Commons met he was classed as a member of the Country party and forecast as likely to oppose the standing army. He did not take his seat, however, when Parliament sat in December 1698, and at the very beginning of January 1699 Lord Wharton’s (Hon. Thomas*) agent reported from Wycombe:

The Quakers of this town held a general meeting, at which William Penn was president, and they considered whether Mr Archdale could in conscience take the oaths, in order to sit in the House of Commons as a Member, and after several debates, they resolved that he could not.

Thus, when the House was called over on 3 Jan. 1699 Archdale was absent, but he had given the Speaker a letter in which he said he had not opposed the desire of the burgesses to elect him ‘believing that any declarations of fidelity . . . might in this case, as in others where the law requires an oath, be accepted’. Three days later he was called ‘into the middle of the House, almost to the table’, and there declared ‘that it was not out of any disloyalty to the King or disaffection to the government that he had not qualified himself’, but that he ‘had advice of lawyers that his affirmation would stand good instead of an oath, which he could not take without prejudicing his party’. He then withdrew. After some debate in which it was agreed that the Affirmation Act was limited to actions in the law courts the House refused his request, and a new writ was issued.3

In 1700 Archdale and his son Thomas sold Temple Wycombe and Loakes to Lord Shelburne [I] (Henry Petty†). Five years later Archdale purchased Sir William Berkeley’s share in Carolina and took an active part in the proprietary board, being called to the bar of the Lords in March 1706 to give evidence on a petition from Dissenters settled in Carolina against an attempt being made to enforce the Act of Uniformity there. Then in 1707 he published A New Description of the Fertile and Pleasant Province of Carolina. Having sold his proprietary share in Carolina to his son-in-law John Danson in 1708, Archdale seems to have retired to Wycombe, his abode when he wrote his will in 1714. He was buried on 4 July 1717. His grandson Thomas Archdale Rook inherited his estate in Oxfordshire and some houses in London; his granddaughter Mary Rook inherited his estate in Wycombe, worth £15 p.a., excepting ‘the meeting-house of the people called Quakers and the dwelling house adjoining’, which was bequeathed to his son Thomas’ two daughters. There were other small legacies, his daughter Anne receiving only £5, ‘she having been well provided for in Carolina’.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. H. B. Archdale, Mems. of Archdales, 79–82; PCC 142 Duke.
  • 2. Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 640; Archdale, 79–82; Dict. Carolina Biog.
  • 3. Bucks. Dissent and Parish Life 16691712 ed. Broad (Bucks. Rec. Soc. xxviii), 255; Bodl. Carte 233, f. 62; 228, f. 261; G. Locker Lampson, A Quaker Post Bag, 72–73; Suff. RO (Ipswich), Gurdon mss mic. 142, Sir William Cook* to Thornhagh Gurdon, 12 Jan. 1698[–9]; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 469.
  • 4. Lipscomb, 640; Dict. Carolina Biog.; HMC Lords, n.s. vi. 408, 410; Archdale, 82; PCC 72 Tenison.