GURDON, John (c.1672-1758), of Assington, Suff.
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Family and Education
b. c.1672, 1st s. of Nathaniel Gurdon, rector of Chelmsford, Essex by Elizabeth, da. of Emmanuel Arundell, rector of Stoke Bruern, Northants.; nephew of Philip Gurdon*. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1690; L. Inn 1693. m. settlement 23 June 1694, Letitia (d. 1711), da. and coh. of Sir William Cook, 2nd Bt.*, 6s. 4da. suc. uncle Nathaniel Gurdon at Assington, fa. 1697.1
Gurdon succeeded to his uncle Philip’s estate at Assington and briefly followed him as MP for Sudbury, but held to a different course in politics. He was a Tory, like his father-in-law, Sir William Cook, who took a close interest in his affairs. After defeating the Court Whig Sir Gervase Elwes, 1st Bt.*, in a by-election in February 1699, he joined Cook in the ranks of the Country party in the Commons, where he supported legislation to ‘restrain the number of officers from sitting in this House’ and to stipulate a landed qualification for Members. He worried about the size of the land tax, and suspected underhand tactics in the government’s presentation of its accounts. In December 1699 he rejoiced that ‘our Country interest’ was ‘strong enough’ to reduce the estimates for the navy. The success of the Irish forfeitures resumption bill a month later brought him to exult: ‘we can do anything if we but attend’. He was equally enthusiastic about the popery bill: ‘we will in 20 years’ time’, he wrote, ‘effectually root them [the Catholics] out of England’. During a week’s unofficial absence ‘just to look over my business’ in Suffolk and to ‘give Sir John [Cordell, 3rd Bt.*] my votes’ at a by-election for the other Sudbury seat, his was one of several names added on 19 Feb. 1700 to the committee to examine the proceedings relating to charters and the grant of new charters in William’s reign. He did not stand at the next general election, nor thereafter. He remained a Tory, though of a Hanoverian rather than a Jacobite stamp, remarking in September 1714, ‘I wish the Church of England don’t suffer for the villainies of the late ministry, which is sufficiently known by this man’.2
Gurdon died at Assington on 2 Dec. 1758, aged 86.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. J. J. Muskett, Suff. Manorial Fams. i. 287; Vis. England and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, ix. 110–13.
- 2. E. Anglian, n.s. v. 33–34; Suff. RO (Ipswich) Gurdon mss mic. M142(1), Sir William Cook to Thornhagh Gurdon, 9, 23 Feb., 3 Mar. 1698[–9], 22 Feb. 1699[–1700], John Gurdon to same, 28 Feb. 1698–9, 9 Mar., 21 Dec. , [Jan. 1700], 18, 25 Jan., 29 Feb. 1699[–1700], John Gurdon to John Herne, 4 Sept. 1714.
- 3. Gent. Mag. 1758, p. 611.