COPE, Sir John, 5th Bt. (1634-1721), of Hanwell, Oxon. and Chelsea, Mdx.

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



Mar. 1679 - Jan. 1681
1689 - 1690
23 Feb. 1699 - 1700

Family and Education

b. 19 Nov. 1634, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Sir John Cope, 3rd Bt., of Hanwell by 2nd w. Lady Elizabeth, da. of Francis Fane†, 1st Earl of Westmorland; bro. of Sir Anthony Cope, 4th Bt.†  educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1651; travelled abroad (France) 1654, (Italy, Germany, Low Countries).  m. 2 Nov. 1672, Anne (d. 1713), da. of Philip Booth, of ?Dunkirk, 7s. (3 d.v.p.) 1da. d.v.psuc. bro. as 5th Bt. 11 June 1675.1

Offices Held

Lt. of ft. Visct. Falkland’s (Henry Carey†) regt. July 1660–2, capt. of ft. 1667.2

Freeman, Oxford 1679–June 1688; asst. Banbury by 1699.3

Dir. Bank of Eng. (with statutory intervals) 1695–1702.4


A younger son, Cope was unfortunate in receiving only a life interest in the family estates owing to his brother’s disapproval of his marriage. Prior to his inheritance he had travelled widely in Europe and served as a soldier. As a considerable landowner he represented Oxfordshire in all three Exclusion Parliaments and the Convention of 1689. Thereafter, his efforts to return to the Commons were usually thwarted.5

Cope clearly welcomed the Revolution of 1688, invested heavily in the new regime and served as a deputy-lieutenant for Oxfordshire from 1689. However, he was well able to afford this outlay, his accounts suggesting expenditure in excess of £2,000 p.a. in the early 1690s. At the 1690 election he was defeated for the county despite the appearance of a broadsheet accusing his Tory opponents of having opposed the transfer of the crown. It is difficult to determine if at this point he was residing at Hanwell, or indeed in Oxfordshire at all, because he was engaged in a dispute over the custody of his sister-in-law, who had been certified a lunatic. Furthermore, within a few years, his involvement in setting up the Bank of England, and then his appointment as a director, probably saw him spending most of his time in London. It is not known if he attempted to regain his Oxfordshire seat in the 1695 election, but he had been expected to ‘make an interest’ there. He did stand in 1698, only to finish bottom of the poll in a four-cornered contest despite enjoying the support of the Dissenters. However, he succeeded in finding a seat in that Parliament at a by-election in 1699 for Banbury, only three and a half miles from his principal seat at Hanwell, the vacancy having occurred when James Isaacson*, a Whiggish friend, was expelled from the Commons for holding an office of profit under the crown. During his short stay in the House his name appears on an analysis of the Commons as a member of the Junto interest, probably an accurate assessment given his long connexion with the Whigs.6

Henceforth Cope’s career becomes difficult to disentangle from that of his eldest son, another Sir John Cope* (who had been knighted in 1696). It seems likely that Cope snr. continued to be active in Oxfordshire politics, but that any electioneering outside the county was undertaken by his son, established at Bramshill, Hampshire from 1700. Cope became a magistrate of Banbury under the corporation’s 1718 charter. He died on 11 Jan. 1721. His will includes a long justification of the actions which had provoked his brother to settle most of the estate on another branch of the family. Written in 1717, it passed most of his personal estate to his heir, while providing the younger sons with £5,000 each in Bank stock, less any money that might be laid out for them in the purchase of public employment.7

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. i. 240; ser. 3, iv. 214; T. E. Sharpe, Royal Descent, 57; IGI, Cheshire; PCC 93 Plymouth.
  • 2. HMC Portland, iii. 228; CSP Dom. 1661–2, p. 278; 1667–8, p. 38.
  • 3. Oxford Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 117; Banbury Corp. Recs.: Tudor and Stuart (Banbury Hist. Soc. xv), 256.
  • 4. N. and Q. clxxix. 41.
  • 5. PCC 93 Plymouth.
  • 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1971, 1976, 1980–1, 1987; x. 910, 915; CSP Dom. 1689–90, pp. 125, 9, 122; Sotheby’s Cat. 21 July 1980, acct. bks.; Bodl. Top. Oxon. 41b(2); Tanner 22, f. 119; HMC Portland, 553; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 357; Add. 18675, f. 39; Bodl. Carte 233, f. 73a; VCH Oxon. x. 89.
  • 7. A. Beesley, Hist. Banbury, 517; PCC 93 Plymouth.