CLEIVELAND (CLEVELAND), John (1661-1716), of Chapel Street and Cleveland Place, Liverpool, 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



1710 - 1713

Family and Education

b. 3 Aug. 1661, s. of Joseph Cleiveland of Hinckley, Leics. by his w. Dorothy.  m. bef. 1693, Anne Williamson of Liverpool, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.1

Offices Held

Common council, Liverpool 1693–d., bailiff 1691, merchant appraiser 1693, alderman by 1703–d, mayor 1703–4.2


Descended from a family of Leicestershire Royalists, most notably John Cleveland, a popular poet in the reign of Charles I, Cleiveland was adopted by his uncle Richard Cleiveland, a Liverpool merchant. Cleiveland followed his uncle’s lead and by the first decade of the 18th century had become a prominent tobacco importer, as well as possessing a small interest in the sugar trade and engaging in the refining of rock salt, prospering enough to buy the manor and priory of Birkenhead in 1700 and to build a fine town house in Liverpool. Involved in corporation affairs from the early 1690s, Cleiveland was one of those who in 1695 opposed the replacement of the charter of 1676, but despite this opposition he was reappointed a common councilman in the new charter of October 1695. He remained allied at Liverpool with the opponents of the new charter, and in October 1703 the supporters of the new charter forced him to assume the mayoralty against his will. Although he continued to take a keen interest in corporation affairs, supporting the advocates of the old charter in the mayoral election of 1705, Cleiveland did not stand for Parliament until 1710, when he was returned following a contested election.3

Classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’, Cleiveland was an inactive Member, his only appointment of significance being on 27 Feb. 1711 to draft a bill for the navigation of the Weaver. He was granted leave of absence for five weeks on 26 Mar., but despite his apparent inactivity was still included in the list of ‘worthy patriots’ who during the 1710–11 session had exposed the mismanagements of the previous ministry. The 1711–12 session saw him given a six-week leave of absence on 3 May 1712. His only significant action in the 1713 session was to vote on 18 June against the French commerce bill, though he was surprisingly classed as a Whig in this list. His vote was no doubt influenced by the opposition to the treaty prevalent in Liverpool, and his frequent absence from Parliament may be explained by his activities on behalf of the Tory interest in the borough. Choosing not to stand in 1713, Cleiveland was one of the few Tories left on the Lancashire bench following its regulation after the Hanoverian succession. He died on 1 Aug. 1716, and was buried at St. Nicholas’, Liverpool. His only surviving son, William, sat for Liverpool as a Court Whig between 1722 and 1724, and on his death the family estates went to Cleiveland’s daughter Alice, who had married the Liverpool Whig, Dr Edward Norris†.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. Nichols, Leics. iv. 707.
  • 2. J. Picton, Memorials of Liverpool, i. 186; info. from Dr M. Power.
  • 3. Nichols, 707; info. from Prof. J. M. Price; Picton, 186; Liverpool RO, Liverpool bor. recs. 352 MIN/COU I 1/4, p. 346; R. Muir and E. M. Platt, Hist. Mun. Govt. Liverpool, 249; Norris Pprs. (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, ix), 132–4, 144–5; Liverpool RO, Norris mss 920NOR 1/248, William Squire to [Richard Norris*], 15 Oct. 1703.
  • 4. Hamilton mss at Lennoxlove, bdle. 4407, George Tyrer, John Cleiveland and William Clayton* to Duke of Hamilton, 1 June 1711; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 293; Nichols, 707.