CHAMPNEYS, Arthur (c.1658-1724), of Raleigh House, nr. Barnstaple, Devon and Love Lane, London

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



1690 - 1705

Family and Education

b. c.1658, 2nd s. of John Champneys (d. 1682) of Yarnscombe, Devon being 1st by his 2nd w. Anne, da. of Arthur Upton.  m. lic. 13 Feb. 1688 (aged 30), Hannah (d. 1693), da. of Sir Arthur Ingram, Spanish merchant, of St. Andrew’s, Holborn, Mdx. and Bucknall, Lincs., 1da.1

Offices Held

Member, R. Fishery Co. [I] 1691; asst. Glassmakers’ Co. 1691, Mines Adventurers’ Co. 1693.2

Commr. taking subscriptions to land bank 1696.3


In 1689 Champneys, a London merchant, purchased from Sir Arthur Chichester, 3rd Bt.*, the manor of Raleigh, which carried the main interest at Barnstaple. Returned for the borough in 1690, he was listed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Whig on the eve of the new Parliament and as a probable Court supporter towards the end of the second session in December. A list among Robert Harley’s* papers drawn up in April 1691 noted him as a Country party supporter. His business activities seem to have prevented him from playing even a moderate part in the proceedings of the House, as his name features only very infrequently in the Journals. He was concerned in several money-making projects with Sir Joseph Herne*, another London merchant representing a Devonian constituency, whose nephew Nathaniel Herne* married Champneys’ sister-in-law in 1691. Even so, during the period of Herne’s governorship of the East India Company in the early 1690s, Champneys was a member of the interloping syndicate which sought to break the company’s monopoly. Marked as a Court supporter by Grascome, he was forecast in January 1696 as likely to vote with the Court on the proposed council of trade, was an early signatory to the Association in February, and in March voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. Following the 1698 election he was noted as likely to oppose the Court over the standing army issue, and in another list was classed as a member of the Country party, thus indicating a change in his political allegiance. A year or so later, he sold Raleigh to his fellow MP, Nicholas Hooper, a Tory, but kept his borough seat in the next three parliaments. During these years Champneys’ political outlook swung towards Toryism. He was listed as a Tory by Robert Harley in December 1701, and on 26 Feb. 1702 he voted in favour of the resolution vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of the King’s Whig ministers. Although two years later Harley considered him a probable opponent of the Tack, he in fact supported it in the division on 28 Nov. 1704. He stood down in 1705, eventually dying in London in 1724, his burial at St. Dionis Backchurch, Holborn, taking place on 2 Apr.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 166; Foster, London Mar. Lic. 262; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 540; St. Dionis Backchurch (Harl. Soc. Reg. iii), 261; Trans. Devon Assoc. lxxiii. 182.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 540; 1691–2, p. 3; 1693, p. 207.
  • 3. CJ, xii. 509.
  • 4. Trans. Devon Assoc. 181; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 292; Bodl. Rawl. C.449; Add. 38484, f. 254; CSP Dom. 1693, p. 207; Hutchins, Barnstaple Recs. i. 82; St. Dionis Backchurch, 293.