GUNTER, James (1676-1712), of the Priory, Abergavenny, Mon.

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



18 Feb. - 1 Aug. 1712

Family and Education

bap. 8 Aug. 1676, 1st s. of Robert Gunter of the Priory, Abergavenny by his 2nd w. Judith, da. of John Godden, Mercer, of London.  educ. King’s, Camb. 1694.  m. settlement 4/5 Jan. 1703, Lettice alias Gladys (d. c.1734), da. and h. of Andrew Prosser (d. bef. 1700) of Llangorse, Brec., wid. of John Gunter of Trefeca, Talgarth, Brec., 1da.  suc. fa. c.1701–3.1

Offices Held


Gunter was the first member of his family to sit in Parliament since his ancestor and namesake, the purchaser of Abergavenny Priory, who had been returned as knight of the shire in 1554. Little is known of his immediate family background. His father, whom he succeeded at some point between March 1701, when Robert Gunter was named to the county lieutenancy, and June 1703, when his will was proved, had served as sheriff in 1684–5, and had retained a place on the Monmouthshire commission of the peace throughout the 1680s, not giving an answer to King James’s questions on the repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act because he was ‘ill of the gout’. The tradition that James Gunter and his wife were ‘particularly noticed by King William and Queen Mary on their appearance at court’, on account of their ‘good sense, comeliness and spirit’ clearly cannot be true of them, but may have applied to his parents.2

On the news of Lord Windsor’s (Thomas*) call to the Upper House in December 1711, Gunter applied to the Duke of Beaufort to support him in the consequent by-election for Monmouthshire. Beaufort placed his interest ‘at your service’, though at first without apparent enthusiasm. Then, as another faction ‘set up’ Sir Charles Kemys, 4th Bt.*, the Duke was obliged to exert himself to preserve his position in the county, and Gunter was chosen after ‘zealous’ activity by Beaufort’s agent on his behalf. However, as early as 11 Apr., less than two months after his election, he was given leave of absence for health reasons, and on 1 Aug. 1712 he died. The inscription on his monument referred to his ‘loyal principles’, but he had scarcely been in Parliament long enough to bear witness to them.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Bradney, Mon. i. 160; T. Jones, Brecknockshire (1909–30), iii. 46–47, 49; iv. 290; Duncumb, Herefs. i. 574; Schedule of Milborne Fam. Pprs. (NLW, 1948), 341–2, 436, 439–40, 443–4, 472–3, 475, 492.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 254; Milborne Fam. Pprs. 447; J. R. S. Phillips, Wales and Mon. JPs, 365–7; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1882), 269; W. Coxe, Tour through Mon. (1904), 259.
  • 3. Beaufort mss at Badminton House, Beaufort to Gunter, 29 Dec. 1711, 10 Jan. 1712, same to ‘Mr Gwyn’, 12 Jan. 1712, same to Godfrey Harcourt, 12 Jan. 1712; Boyer, Pol. State, iv. 125; Bradney, i. 167.