GAUNTLETT, John (c.1643-1719), of Netherhampton, and Hungerford’s Chantry, the Close, Salisbury, Wilts.

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



1695 - 1702
28 Nov. 1702 - 1708

Family and Education

b. c.1643, o. s. of William Gauntlett of Netherhampton by his w. Margery.  m. Margaret (d. 1674), perhaps da. of one Cove, 1s. d.v.p. 2da. d.v.psuc. fa. 1690.1

Offices Held

Clerk of PC by 1669, under-keeper of recs. by 1681–aft. 1716; dep. clerk of the signet c.1682–c.1684, clerk c.1684–1716.2

Burgess, Wilton 1685–?d.3


The pedigree of the Gauntletts has not been fully elucidated. One branch of the family were noted pipe-makers at Amesbury, but the Member’s forbears had resided for several generations in Salisbury, where his grandfather Emanuel (d. c.1653) was a ‘silksman’. Another Gauntlett, possibly an uncle or great-uncle, held property in Netherhampton in 1631. John owed his career, and perhaps also to some extent his parliamentary seat, to his father’s connexion with the Nicholas family of Winterbourne Earls. William Gauntlett, a nephew of Sir Edward Nicholas†, secretary of state 1641–62, had loyally served his uncle, and cousin Sir John Nicholas†, as steward of their Wiltshire estates. John was taken into the Privy Council office under Sir John Nicholas, and in 1674 was granted the reversion to a clerkship of the signet, succeeding to the office itself around ten years later. He was prosperous enough in 1670 to have made a loan of some £500 to the crown. In 1685 he and his father were named in King James’s charter as burgesses of the neighbouring corporation of Wilton, which was also the parliamentary borough that Sir John represented.4

In 1695 Gauntlett was himself returned at Wilton, assisting Edward Nicholas*, Sir John’s son, at his election at Shaftesbury. He appears at first to have acted in accordance with the obligations of office: he was considered likely to vote with the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, and signed the Association. Twice listed as a placeman in 1698, he was classified as a supporter of the Court party in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments in about September of that year. He faced his first contest at Wilton in January 1701, but was easily returned. He was listed among those who were thought to favour the new ministry in February 1701 over the ‘Great Mortgage’. Although returned again in November, he was out of sympathy with the prevailing Whiggishness of Wilton corporation, who ‘slighted’ him by arranging for an address from the borough to be presented by his parliamentary colleague Sir Henry Ashurst, 1st Bt., and was despondent about his chances of being elected again there because of an influx of Dissenting burgesses. Either on account of his place, or his constituency, he was numbered among the Whigs in Harley’s list of the 1701–2 Parliament, but voted on 26 Feb. 1702 in favour of the resolution vindicating the Commons’ proceedings of the previous session in the impeachments of King William’s ministers. The 1702 election realized his worst fears at Wilton, where he was rejected by the new voters. He was, however, able to regain his seat on petition. Forecast in October as a probable opponent of the Tack, he did not vote for it on 28 Nov. In 1705 he was listed as a placeman, but was enough of a Tory to divide against the Court candidate in the vote on the Speakership on 25 Oct. 1705, and he was marked as a Tory in two lists from early 1708. In the election of that year he and William Nicholas* (third son of Sir John) stood on the Tory interest at Wilton, only to be defeated by Gauntlett’s next-door neighbour in Salisbury, Charles Mompesson*, and another Whig. It was to be his last election: he was ‘set up’ to stand with a Tory at Wilton in 1710 but withdrew.5

Though Gauntlett resigned his clerkship of the signet in 1716, he retained his position in the Privy Council office. He died on 14 Apr. 1719, aged 75, and was buried at Netherhampton, leaving as his heir his nephew and godson Gauntlett Fry.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Wilts. N. and Q. i. 377; Hoare, Wilts. Cawdon, 65–66; PCC 82 Browning; L. Inn Adm. i. 342.
  • 2. Pembroke mss at Wilton House, burgess lists, 1 Oct. 1692, 1 Sept. 1716.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1668–9, p. 256; 1685, p. 99; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 122, 268, 475; xxxi. 169.
  • 4. Wilts. N. and Q. 377; VCH Wilts. iv. 243; Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xv), 305; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xxvi. 369; xxvii. 120; D. Nicholas, Mr Secretary Nicholas, 107, 214–18, 223, 233; Diary of Thomas Naish ed. Slatter (Wilts. Arch. Soc. recs. branch, xx), 49; CSP Dom. 1670, p. 716; 1673–5, p. 312; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 605.
  • 5. Add. 28879, f. 254; 28887, ff. 355, 403; 61459, f. 25; Pembroke mss, unsigned letter, 6 Oct. 1710.
  • 6. Hoare, 65–66; PCC 82 Browning.