CORYTON, Sir William, 3rd Bt. (1650-1711), of Newton Ferrers and Crocadon, Cornw. and the Middle Temple

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. - July 1679
Oct. 1679 - Jan. 1681
Mar. 1681
1685 - 1687
18 Sept. - 12 Dec. 1689
1695 - Nov. 1701
30 Nov. 1703 - 6 Dec. 1711

Family and Education

bap. 24 May 1650, 2nd s. of Sir John Coryton, 1st Bt.†, of Newton Ferrers; bro. of Sir John Coryton, 2nd Bt.*  educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1666; M. Temple 1669, called 1675.  m. (1) lic. 11 Dec. 1688, Susanna (d. 1695), da. of Sir Edward Littleton, 2nd Bt.†, of Pillaton, Staffs., 1s. 1da.; (2) Sarah (d. 1719), wid. of Thomas Williams, banker, of Lombard Street, London, s.psuc. bro. as 3rd Bt. July 1690.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Saltash 1683, Bodmin and Callington 1685; alderman, Callington and Lostwithiel 1685–Oct. 1688.2


A professional lawyer, Coryton had been an opponent of Exclusion and was to be a life-long Tory. Though he had sat for Cornish seats in the previous five Parliaments, Coryton did not stand at either the 1690 election or the Callington by-election later that year occasioned by the death of his elder brother. His brother’s death brought Coryton the family title and estate, but he continued his legal practice and rather than settle at Newton Ferrers he purchased the manor of Crocadon, in St. Mellion, and made this his principal seat. Little is known of Coryton’s political activity in the early 1690s, though Kingston later claimed that in 1694 he was numbered among Cornwall’s chief Jacobites. Coryton was returned for Callington at the 1695 election, and his contemporaries soon noted his opposition to the ministry as he was forecast as likely to oppose the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade. On 20 Feb. Coryton was nominated to prepare a bill to establish a joint stock East India Company, and later the same month reported and carried to the Lords a private bill concerned with Devon estates. Coryton initially refused to sign the Association. On 4 Mar. he was granted a three-week leave of absence, presumably to attend the assizes, though the following day he was appointed to draft a bill to explain the Act for the regulation of Hackney carriages, and he was subsequently listed as having voted later in the month against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. Coryton’s Tory sympathies were evident in the early part of the 1696–7 session. During the passage of the bill of attainder against Sir John Fenwick† he spoke, on 13 Nov., against admitting Goodman’s evidence against Fenwick, and on the 25th he voted against the bill. The next month he was appointed to draft, and subsequently presented, a bill for the easier partition of lands held in coparcenary (8, 18 Dec.). Coryton was also nominated to prepare the bill to prevent abuses in prisons (30th), but otherwise made little impact upon the records of the House before obtaining, on 10 Mar. 1697, a leave of absence. He was also granted a month’s leave of absence on both 24 and 25 Mar. 1698.3

Coryton retained his seat unopposed in 1698, following which he was included upon a forecast of likely opponents of a standing army and was classed as a Country supporter in a comparison of the old and new Commons. He twice acted as teller in this session, in favour of receiving the report on the Corfe Castle election (6 Apr. 1699) and against considering the report on the Newfoundland trade (1 May). Appointment to, and reporting from, the committee to inspect the ballot for trustees of Irish forfeitures was Coryton’s only recorded significant contribution to the 1699–1700 session. An analysis of the House into interests, dating from early 1700, classed him as ‘doubtful’, or possibly as opposition. During the first 1701 Parliament Coryton was appointed to draft four bills, most notably the measure for qualifying Members and regulating elections (20 Feb. 1701) and a bill concerned with Cornish estates (16 Apr.), and was also among those ordered to draw up the impeachment of Lord Portland.

Coryton did not stand at either the December 1701 or 1702 elections. Though he was listed as having voted on 13 Feb. 1703 against the Lords’ amendments to the bill enlarging the time for taking the Abjuration, Coryton did not return to the Commons until the Callington by-election in November 1703. Though he held this seat until his death Coryton was an inactive Member. On 28 Nov. 1704 he did not vote for the Tack, and consequently an analysis of the 1705 Parliament classed him as ‘Low Church’. He voted on 25 Oct. 1705 against the Court candidate for Speaker, and was evidently still attending the Commons in December as he spoke on the 3rd against referring to committee the petition for a bill for the improvement of Parton harbour in Cumberland. It appears, however, that ill-health subsequently limited his parliamentary activity, and he was granted leave of absence on grounds of ill-health on 16 Jan. 1706 and 27 Feb. 1707. In early 1708 an analysis of the House listed Coryton as a Tory. It seems that illness also limited his contribution to the 1708 Parliament, as he was granted a leave of absence on 4 Mar. 1709 and did not make any other impression upon the records of this Parliament. Coryton nevertheless retained his seat in 1710, following which the ‘Hanover list’ classed him as a Tory. The new Parliament witnessed something of a resurgence in Coryton’s parliamentary activity and on 10 Mar. 1711 he told against bringing up a petition, from Exeter, against the bill ending the prohibition upon importing French wines. He was granted, on 16 Mar., a seven-week leave of absence. Coryton was listed among the ‘worthy patriots’ who in this session had detected the mismanagements of the previous administration, a list which also identified him as a member of the October Club. It is uncertain if Coryton returned to London for the following session, and he died on 6 Dec. 1711. He was succeeded by his son, Sir John Coryton, 4th Bt.*4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 101.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1685, pp. 211, 256–7; HMC Var. i. 328.
  • 3. Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. Cornw. iii. 305, 308; R. K[ingston], True Hist. of Several . . . Conspiracies (1698), p. 85; Add. 28879, f. 128; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 1036–7.
  • 4. Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/2/8, James* to Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. I*, 6 Dec. 1705; Vivian, 101.