JENNINGS, Jonathan (c.1655-1701), of Ripon, Yorks.

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



30 Oct. 1691 - June 1701

Family and Education

b. c.1655, 1st s. of Sir Edmund Jennings*.  educ. Ripon sch.; Christ’s, Camb. 1671; G. Inn 1671; unmsuc. fa. 1691.1

Offices Held

Alderman, Ripon 1698.2

Sec. to commrs. of prizes June 1693–9.3


Jonathan Jennings, who was ten years old at the 1665 visitation of Yorkshire, first stood for Parliament following the death in September 1691 of his father, one of the sitting MPs for Ripon. Although Sir Abstrupus Danby* considered standing at the by-election in October, he desisted after being informed that Jennings had the support of Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) and the archbishop of York, who was lord of the manor in Ripon. Jennings was returned unopposed, and took his place in the Commons on 9 Nov. In June 1693 he was appointed secretary to the prize commission, of which his uncle Sir Jonathan* was a member, with a salary of £500 p.a. Thereafter he was classed as a placeman in several lists during 1693–5, and also as a Court supporter. He was not an active Member, being given leave of absence for a fortnight on 21 Dec. 1693. Prior to the 1695 election in Ripon, Carmarthen, now Duke of Leeds, informed the archbishop of York that ‘Jennings . . . will be sure of the first [seat] with a little of your Grace’s countenance’. The archbishop continued to give his support to Jennings, who was returned unopposed once more. He was forecast as likely to oppose the government in the divisions on the proposed council of trade on 31 Jan. 1696, though he signed the Association promptly, and voted in March for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. On 25 Nov. he voted for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. However, he continued to be inactive in Parliament, and may have been the Mr Jennings who was granted leave of absence on 3 Mar. 1698 for two weeks. Having been returned unopposed for Ripon once more in 1698, in September he was noted as a placeman, while in a comparative analysis of the old and new Commons he was classed as a Court supporter. On 18 Jan. 1699 he voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill. He was turned out of the prize office, where there had been irregularities, at the same time as his uncle. Absent from a call of the House on 9 Dec. he was sent for into custody, and discharged on paying his fees three days later. The following year, the compiler of an analysis of the House into ‘interests’ listed him as a placeman, but also queried whether he was an adherent of the Duke of Leeds, the former Lord Carmarthen.4

Before the first 1701 election, Jennings was the signatory of a letter from the borough men of Ripon to the archbishop, requesting that he would allow his son, John Sharp*, to represent Ripon as their ‘first burgess’, and that they would endeavour to choose a second who would also be ‘a true son of the Church and a loyal subject of the King’. However, the archbishop does not appear to have agreed. It is not evident who was expected to forgo his seat had Sharp stood, as both outgoing Members, Jennings and John Aislabie, were returned unopposed once more on the archbishop’s recommendation, both being described as his ‘good friends’. In February 1701 Jennings was forecast as likely to support the Court in agreeing with the supply committee’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’. He died ‘just immediately after the prorogation [of Parliament in June], upon his arrival in the country’. Aislabie wrote to Danby on 11 July, complaining of Danby’s early electioneering for replacing Jennings at Ripon: ‘you must give me leave to pay that decent respect to the dead, as not to be seen publicly to tread about his old shoes ere he is well laid in his grave’.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Ivar McGrath


  • 1. Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, ii. 201.
  • 2. Ripon Millenary ed. Harrison, 81.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 259; Ripon Millenary, 67.
  • 4. N. Yorks. RO, Swinton mss, Danby pprs. ZS, Danby to Carmarthen, 2 Nov. 1691; Luttrell Diary, 7; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 259; Glos. RO, Sharp mss 4/K27, Leeds to abp. of York, 10 Sept. 1695; T. Sharp, Life of Abp. Sharp, i. 127.
  • 5. Swinton mss, Danby pprs. ZS, Jennings et al. to abp. of York, 1 Jan. 1700[–1], Aislabie to Danby, 11 July 1701, ‘The borough-holders’ answer’, 18 Sept. 1701; Add. 27440, f. 171; Sharp mss, E20; Clay, 201.