ELLYS, Richard (1683-1742), of Nocton, Lincs. and Bolton Street, Piccadilly, Westminster

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



Dec. 1701 - 1705
7 Dec. 1719 - 1734

Family and Education

b. 14 Mar. 1683, 4th but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Ellys, 2nd Bt.*; bro. of Thomas Ellys*.  educ. travelled abroad (Holland) 1694; Padua Univ., 1697.  m. (1) lic. 21 May 1714, Elizabeth (d. 1724), da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Hussey, 2nd Bt.*, s.p.; (2) 1 Dec. 1726, Sarah, da. and coh. of Thomas Gould of Iver, Bucks., s.psuc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 6 Oct. 1727.1

Offices Held

Surveyor, duty on houses, Leics. 1715–16, Lincs. 1716–17.2


Ellys was probably, like his brothers, first educated at a private Dissenting academy, and then in 1694, following in his elder brother’s footsteps, went to continue his education in Holland, after which he kept up a correspondence with continental scholars such as Gronovius and Mettaire. Ellys’ family had strong connexions with Grantham, where his father was a long-serving MP. At the first election of 1701, objections at having two members of the same family as the borough’s MPs stifled Ellys’ candidature, but similar opposition in the second election of that year was overcome and Ellys came in as his father’s colleague, aged only 18. He continued to represent the borough in Anne’s first Parliament, during which he voted on 13 Feb. 1703 in favour of agreeing to the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration, was forecast in October 1704 as a probable opponent of the Tack and did not vote for it in the division on 28 Nov. 1704. An inactive Member, he deferred to the superior interest of the Marquess of Granby (John Manners*) at the 1705 election and did not stand again in this period. It is possible that he was the ‘Richard Ellis’ who held a mortgage of £8,000 with interest on Richard Minshull’s estate in 1708. If so, it does not seem to have prevented financial difficulties, as shortly after his marriage in 1714, it was reported that Ellys was so deeply in debt that he had been forced to take his wife off to Europe and ‘now her house and goods and all is seized. Sir William [Ellys’ father], answered for her house and goods, but no more.’ Subsequently Ellys represented Boston under George I and II.3

Outside politics his main interests were theology, on which he published a book in 1727, and book collecting. He built up large libraries at both Nocton and his London house. Henry Newman, secretary to the SPCK, heard that Ellys wished to leave his library ‘to any learned seminary among the Dissenters’ and attempted to acquire it for Harvard College in the summer of 1741, but failed. Ellys died on 14 Feb. 1742, leaving an estate worth about £5,000 p.a. according to Newman. His lands in Lincolnshire and Leicestershire were bequeathed to his widow for life and then entailed on the Hobart family, who also inherited the books, which were eventually removed to the Hobarts’ seat at Blickling in Norfolk.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. IGI, Lincs.; Assoc. Architectural Socs. xxiv. 365–6; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 326; CSP. Dom. 1694–5, p. 317.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxix. 415; xxx. 374–5; xxxi. 578.
  • 3. Calamy, Life, i. 134; ii. 188; Add. 70083, Richard Stretton to Edward Harley*, 2 Oct. 1697; CSP. Dom. 1690–1, p. 116; Assoc. Architectural Socs. 365–6; Glos. RO, Newton mss D1844/C/10, H. Solomon et al. to Sir John Newton, 3rd Bt., 18 May 1700; Lincs. AO, Monson mss 7/12/106, Robert Fysher to Newton, 15 Nov. 1701; HMC Lords, n.s. viii. 17; Norf. RO, Ketton-Cremer mss, Katherine to Ashe Windham*, n.d. [1714].
  • 4. Assoc. Architectural Socs. 365–6; L. W. Cowie, Henry Newman, 193–4; PCC 50 Trenley.