GIRDLER, Joseph (?1642-1724), of Haselour, Staffs.

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



14 Dec. 1702 - 1715

Family and Education

?bap. 15 May 1642, ?s. of William Girdler of St. Martin, Birmingham, Warws.  educ. I. Temple 1662, called 1673, bencher 1692.  m. ?Sept. 1674, Dorothy ?Parker of Kingsbury, Warws., 3s. 1da.1

Offices Held

Serjeant-at-law 1692.

Recorder, Tamworth 1699–d.2


Girdler’s origins are obscure, although he may have been the Joseph Girdler baptized in 1642 in Birmingham. Girdler evidently excelled as a student at the Inner Temple, providing a classic example of the way in which the law could transform fortunes in the later 17th century: it was presumably his professional earnings which enabled him to purchase property in three counties and to finance the education of his three sons, all of whom were admitted to the Inner Temple during the 1690s.3

From his seat at Haselour, four miles to the north of Tamworth, Girdler was well placed to play a role in the affairs of the borough. However, his first involvement in local politics may pre-date the purchase of this property, for one Joseph ‘Gindler’ was appointed recorder of the borough in a charter of July 1688, and proposed by the new mayor as a Court candidate for King James II’s abortive Parliament. However, this charter lapsed after the proclamation for restoring charters in November 1688. His eventual appointment as recorder in 1699 appears straightforward for, in addition to his legal acumen, he probably enjoyed the backing of the high steward, Viscount Weymouth (Thomas Thynne†). The link with Weymouth was also vital in promoting Girdler’s parliamentary career, for when Weymouth’s son Hon. Henry Thynne*, who had been elected for Tamworth in 1702, chose to serve for the borough of Weymouth instead, Girdler was elected as his replacement.4

Girdler seems to have adopted a low profile in the Commons. Nevertheless, he was present in the Chamber to vote in most major divisions. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted with the Tories against agreeing to the Lords’ amendments to the bill enlarging the time for taking the Abjuration. Forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, he voted for it on 28 Nov. 1704 despite being lobbied by Robert Harley*. Possibly because of his attitude on the Tack, he faced a challenge at Tamworth in 1705 from Richard Swinfen*, but was re-elected with Thomas Guy*. In an analysis of the new Parliament he was classed as ‘True Church’, and he duly voted on 25 Oct. 1705 against the Court candidate for Speaker. According to a correspondent of Lord Paget in 1706 his vote for the Tack caused him considerable inconvenience for when he procured an address from Tamworth he could ‘get nobody of credit to introduce him to present it because nobody of credit will undertake the recommendation of a T[acke]r’. In February 1707 he was named to draft a bill to build a parish church in Birmingham. His consistent adherence to Tory principles during this Parliament is vouchsafed by two analyses of the House dating from early in 1708: the first marked him as a Tory and the second as a Tacker. Returned with Swinfen at the 1708 election, in February 1709 he was named to draft a bill concerning land in Staffordshire. In the following year he voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. Re-elected at the top of the poll in 1710, he was classed as a Tory on the ‘Hanover list’, and in the first session of the new Parliament, was identified both as a ‘Tory patriot’ who opposed the continuance of the war, and as a ‘worthy patriot’ who helped detect the mismanagements of the previous administration. On 18 June 1713 he voted for the French commerce bill. Re-elected once more in 1713, he was classed as a Tory in the Worsley list.5

Girdler did not stand in 1715, probably giving his interest to William Inge†, an indefatigable worker for Weymouth’s nominees in previous elections. Girdler had the satisfaction of seeing his eldest son, also Joseph, called to the bar in April 1724, shortly before his own death on 16 Nov. 1724. In his will (made in 1715) he left the bulk of his property to his eldest son and directed that he himself be buried in Haselour chapel, near to his deceased wife, Dorothy.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. IGI, Warws.; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), ii. 195–6; PCC 111 Romney.
  • 2. C. F. Palmer, Hist. Tamworth, p. xxiv.
  • 3. Add. 36305, f. 69; Cal. I.Temple Recs. iii. 323.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1687–9, p. 236; Bath mss at Longleat House, Thynne pprs. 25, f. 100.
  • 5. Staffs. RO, Paget mss D603/K/3/6, Roger Acherley to Paget, 13 ?June 1706.
  • 6. Thynne pprs. 25, f. 414; info. from Dr D. F. Lemmings; PCC 111 Romney.