CHISENHALL, Sir Edward (1646-1727), of Chisnall Hall, Coppull, 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



1689 - 1690
5 Dec. 1690 - 1695

Family and Education

b. 14 Oct. 1646, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Edward Chisenhall of Chisnall Hall and Gray’s Inn by Elizabeth, da. of Alexander Rigby of Layton, Lancs.  m. (1) bef. Apr. 1665, Anne, da. of Thomas Atkinson of Blew Hall, Essex, 1da.; (2) 25 Apr. 1671, Elizabeth, illegit. da. of Sir William Playters, 2nd Bt., of Sotterley, Suff., 2s. 1da.; (3) 21 Sept. 1683, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Hon. Richard Spencer† of Orpington, Kent, s.psuc. fa. 1654; kntd. 24 Apr. 1671.1

Offices Held

Burgess, Wigan by 1684; freeman, Preston 1702.2


Chisenhall had extensive landholdings in Lancashire and had acquired the manor of Billingford, Norfolk by his second marriage. Having served for Wigan in the Convention, he stood for the borough in 1690 but was unable or unwilling to force a poll, losing the second seat to Peter Shakerley. The chance to revive his parliamentary career came with the summons of the Preston Member, and chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, Lord Willoughby de Eresby (Robert Bertie*) to the Lords in April 1690, but although Chisenhall began treating in the spring of 1690 a petition against Willoughby’s return prevented the issuing of a writ. Despite this delay Chisenhall was in London in October to hear ‘so gracious a speech as the King has made, and especially in that all accounts are ready to be laid before you [the Commons] – a sure way for his Majesty to be supplied by all of you, and, by all you represent, will be most cheerfully paid’. When a writ for the Preston by-election was finally issued in December Chisenhall, standing with the support of Lord Willoughby, the corporation and the 9th Earl of Derby, ‘carried it by 57 votes’, and in April 1691 Robert Harley* thought him a likely Country party supporter, though marking this classification as doubtful, presumably due to Chisenhall’s recent return to the House.3

Chisenhall did not, however, prove an active Member. In October 1694 he was one of the Tory gentlemen removed, at the insistence of the prosecution, from the jury at the trial of those implicated in the Lancashire Plot, but once the case against the accused had collapsed Chisenhall was required to return to the jury, after which it proceeded to an acquittal. He described his experiences at Manchester to the Commons on 22 Nov., being one of the Members who highlighted ‘the scandalousness of the evidence and of the judges suffering all the gentlemen to be challenged and none but ordinary freeholders left on [the jury]’. His endeavours at Manchester led to his removal from the Lancashire bench in March 1695. During the final session of the 1695 Parliament Chisenhall was included on Henry Guy’s* list of ‘friends’, compiled in connexion with the Commons attack upon Guy, and on 6 Mar. 1695 he was granted a leave of absence by the House. Although thought a likely victor should he stand at Preston in 1695, Chisenhall instead attempted to regain his seat at Wigan, but was comprehensively defeated at the poll, having ceased to campaign some time beforehand. He twice more figured in Wigan elections, in 1698 and 1702, but it appears that he campaigned actively on neither occasion, and it may be that the small number of votes he received in both elections were merely protests against the candidates on offer. Though restored to Lancashire’s commission of the peace in 1702, Chisenhall ceased to play an active role in Lancashire politics, but such inactivity did not prevent his being displaced from the bench after the Hanoverian succession. He was buried at Standish, Lancashire on 1 Apr. 1727 and was succeeded by his son. Following the death of Chisenhall’s only grandson in the 1730s his lands passed to his daughter’s husband, Stephen Hamerton of Hellifield Peel, Yorkshire.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. Standish Par. Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. lvi), 104; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 247–8; Harl. Soc. Reg. lxiv. 182; lxxxiv. 63; VCH Lancs. vi. 226–7.
  • 2. NLS, Crawford mss 47/3/78, list of Wigan burgesses, Dec. 1684; W. A. Abram, Mems. Preston Guild, 72.
  • 3. Cumbria RO (Kendal), Le Fleming mss WD/Ry/3740, R. Fleming to Sir Daniel Fleming†, 16 Feb. 1689[–90]; Bellingham Diary ed. Hewitson, 106, 117, 119; Lancs. RO, Kenyon mss DDKe/HMC/749, Chisenhall to Roger Kenyon*, 10 Oct. 1690; 754, Thomas Hodgkinson to same, 5 Dec. 1690; DDKe 9/131/36, Thomas Winckley to Derby, 27 Apr. 1690.
  • 4. Jacobite Trials Manchester 1694 (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, xxviii), 64, 102; Bodl. Carte 130, f. 353; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 281, 285; Kenyon mss DDKe/HMC/967, Charles Rigby to Kenyon, 17 Sept. 1695; DDKe 9/71/42, Sir Roger Bradshaigh, 3rd Bt.*, to same, c.1695; Devonshire mss at Chatsworth House, Finch-Halifax pprs. box 4 bdle. 12, j.p.s put out of commission, c.1715.