GYBBON, Phillips (1678-1762), of Hole Park, Rolvenden, Kent.

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



2 Dec. 1707 - 11 Mar. 1762

Family and Education

b. 11 Oct. 1678, o. surv. s. of Robert Gybbon of Hole Park by Elizabeth (d. 1691), da. and h. of John Phillips of St. Clement Danes, Mdx.  educ. travelled abroad (Holland) 1690, (Germany) 1694; M. Temple 1694.  m. Catherine (d. 1733), d. of Honor Bier, 3da. (2 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. 1719.1

Offices Held

Commr. of revenue [I] 1714–26; surveyor-gen. 1726–30; ld. of Treasury 1742–4.

Chairman, cttee. of privileges and elections 1722–7.


Hole Park had belonged to Gybbon’s family since the reign of Henry VIII. During the Civil War his grandfather had been a commander in the Parliamentary forces, and, having done active service for the Protectorate in Kent and Sussex, was elected to Richard Cromwell’s Parliament for Canterbury. Gybbon’s father, a younger son, had made a career as a barrister in the 1670s and 1680s, and became a Kentish magistrate in 1688, but it was not until 1707 that he inherited the family estate from his elder brother John. Gybbon himself, as his father’s only surviving son, was added to the county bench in March 1699, several months before coming of age, but his commitment to Whiggery cost him his place in July 1702 when the commission was remodelled by the incoming Tory administration. He stood for Rye, a short distance south of Rolvenden, in the 1702 election, but having initially declared he would stand a poll, later withdrew. He stood again in 1705 but was defeated in a close contest which he and his partner subsequently disputed. Though said to have ‘a very good cause’, and having the backing of the new Whig ministry, they none the less failed to carry their case when it was considered in January 1707. He had, however, obtained some consolation in his reappointment to the Kentish bench in March of the previous year.2

Gybbon did not have to wait long for his next electoral opportunity. At a by-election in Rye at the beginning of December 1707, he was returned unchallenged upon the reading of a ‘mandate’ from Prince George, the lord warden of the Cinque Ports, and was to represent the town without intermission for the rest of his long life. He was classed as a Whig in two analytical lists of the House compiled early in 1708, while during February and March 1709 he voted with his party in support of naturalizing the Palatine refugees. Similarly, he supported the impeachment proceedings brought against Dr Sacheverell early in 1710, and following the election was noted as a Whig in the ‘Hanover list’ of the new Parliament. He had performed his first substantive task in the House on 16 Feb. 1710, telling for the minority in favour of a bill to incorporate peruke-makers into the company of barber-surgeons. He told again at the end of the year, on 15 Dec., for the majority wanting to exclude four nominees to the land tax commission for Kent. In common with most other Whigs, he supported the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion on 7 Dec. 1711. By 1712 he was beginning to feature as one of the more conspicuous members of the Whig minority. On 17 and 24 Jan., during the censure proceedings against Robert Walpole II* and the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†), he told for the minority in support of the Whig adjournment motions put forward on both occasions in attempts to forestall the extreme parliamentary punishments threatened by the Tories. He was a teller again on 1 Mar. for the small minority demanding the recommittal of a ‘representation’ on the state of the war, intended for presentation to the Queen, and voted on 18 June 1713 against the French commerce bill.

Until the conclusion of the war in 1713, Gybbon undertook the representational duties of his constituency single-handedly, his fellow Member, Sir John Norris, having a succession of senior commands in the Mediterranean fleet. Particularly troublesome during these years were the French attacks on Rye’s fishing vessels, and Gybbon was especially perturbed at the ineffectiveness of a ‘cartel’ set up to ensure security as a result of previous complaints. The attacks continued, however, and, as he had explained in a letter to Secretary Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) in March 1709, the situation was so dangerous ‘that most of the fishermen dare not follow their employ, which besides its being for the public benefit is the only support of themselves and families’. On 15 Mar. 1714 Gybbon served as minority teller in favour of addressing for information and papers regarding the progress of the demolition of Dunkirk harbour. Three days later he voted with his Whig brethren against the expulsion of Richard Steele. He told twice more before the end of the session: on 22 June for the minority against a ways and means resolution for an extra duty on soap; and the following day, on the schism bill, for the minority who agreed with the Lords’ amendment to extend to Ireland the 1689 Toleration Act.3

Gybbon’s services to the Whig cause during the latter years of Anne’s reign were soon afterwards rewarded with an Irish revenue commissionership. In 1719 he inherited the Hole Park estate from his father. His attachment to the Whig establishment remained firm until the late 1720s when he joined William Pulteney’s* contingent of ‘Patriot Whigs’ in opposition, taking office with them briefly after Walpole’s downfall in 1742. He eventually returned to the fold of ‘Old Whig’ government supporters in the early 1750s, all the while continuing to enjoy Treasury assistance in maintaining his seat at Rye, but perhaps because of his advanced years he never again attained government office. He died on 11 Mar. 1762 and was buried at Rolvenden.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Soc. of Geneal., Kent MIs (Rolvenden) nos. 350–1, 358–9; ibid. Rolvenden par. reg. (trans.); London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 541; CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 92; 1694–5, p. 132.
  • 2. Hasted, Kent, iii. 87; H. T. Bowen, Rolvenden (ped.); C. H. Firth, Reg. Hist. Cromwell’s Army, 519–22; London Mar. Lic. 541; info. from Prof. N. Landau; E. Suss. RO, Ashburnham mss ASH 844, Ld. Ashburnham (John†) to Edward Southwell*, 14 July 1702; Som. RO, Sanford mss DD/SF 3109, Sir Joseph Jekyll* to Edward Clarke*, 24 Dec. 1706; Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 127, 131.
  • 3. E. Suss. RO, Rye assembly bk. RYE 1/17, p. 305; Add. 61546, f. 122.
  • 4. Kent MIs (Rolvenden), no. 351; Rolvenden par. reg.