JENNINGS, Sir Edmund (1626-91), 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



3 May - 29 Dec. 1660
27 Mar. 1673 - July 1679
1685 - 1687
1690 - Sept. 1691

Family and Education

bap. 30 Nov. 1626, 1st s. of Jonathan Jennings (d. 1649) of Ripon by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Giles Parker of Newby, Yorks.; bro. of Sir Jonathan Jennings*.  educ. Silsden, Ripon; Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1641; L. Inn 1646.  m. Margaret, da. of Sir Edward Barkham, 1st Bt.†, of Tottenham, Mdx. and Southacre, Norf., 4s. 3da. (2 d.v.p.).  suc. gdfa. 1651; kntd. by 17 Aug. 1660.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Ripon 1659, alderman, 1662–85, mayor 1663–4; sheriff, Yorks. 1675–6.

Surveyor-gen. of customs 1679–?; commr. prizes Mar. 1691–d.2


Jennings was an adherent of the Earl of Danby, later Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†), in the Cavalier Parliament, and had been appointed surveyor-general of the customs in 1679. In June 1689 he applied to be reappointed to his old customs post ‘in consideration of his services to the King and constancy to Protestantism’. The King, being ‘satisfied as to his loyalty and religion’, referred the petition to the Treasury, though nothing came of it thereafter. Jennings was returned unopposed for Ripon in March 1690, when he was classed as a Tory and probable Court supporter by Carmarthen. He was an active Member, speaking in several debates. On 27 Mar. he spoke in favour of settling the revenue on the King for life, stating that

I remember the method in King James’s Parliament, and why now we should take other precedents, I know not. If you desire to preserve the Church and state will you not settle such a revenue as will do it, and why is not this King to be trusted as well as King James? Either we shall run back to popery and slavery on the one hand, or anarchy on the other. What will neighbouring princes say, if we do not do by this prince, as we have done by the former? I doubt we shall find ill effects afterwards. I have no court employments to expect or lose, only I would some religion and property: therefore settle the revenue upon this King, as upon King James.3

In April Jennings found several opportunities to enunciate his views on Dissenters. On 17 Apr., in the debate on changes in the London lieutenancy, he supported turning Dissenters out of the militia: ‘the Gazettes were stuffed with addresses to King James, to stand by him in the dispensing power with lives and fortunes: Quakers, Anabaptists, Presbyterians and other sects.’ They either ‘opposed this King or forsook King James’ and, therefore, were not to be trusted and should be put out of all civil as well as military employment. He added that whereas King William had not understood this situation when he came in, he was now fully aware of those who were fit to be put in the militia. On the 26th he spoke in the debate on the oath of abjuration, stating that

I am against this abjuration, and was against King James’s dispensing power, and though Dissenters could not swear yet they could address to King James, and leave him at the first turn; it was not dislike to King James, but to monarchy, which is chiefly aimed hereby.

He returned to this argument again on the 28th, when he supported a proposal of Sir John Lowther, 2nd Bt. II, for a bill empowering the King to imprison suspect individuals, and to impose an oath upon everyone in a position of authority, that they would not aid King James. Jennings pointed out that he had been against the abjuration bill

for the sake of the Dissenters. How could it be supposed that they should take such an oath, quite contrary to their address to King James before? And they will be as ready to take an oath against King William upon occasion. It is the monarchy that is aimed at.

The next day, in the committee of the whole appointed to consider the security of the government by suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, he stated that he believed that ‘the militia settled is one good work, and have a month’s pay advanced. Another that papists withdraw from this town, and go to their dwelling, and not to part five miles from thence’. He felt that any papist found more than five miles from his home should be imprisoned. On the 25th he carried up a private estate bill, and on the 30th reported on another such bill.4

Jennings continued to be active in May, displaying both a sense of humour and his continued adherence to Carmarthen. In a debate on the 13th, when Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., and Hon. John Granville moved to go into a committee of the whole to consider ways of preserving the peace of the nation in the King’s absence, Jennings stated that ‘I suppose there is something latet in herbis in this motion. I think it is time to adjourn, and go to dinner.’ On the same day he was a teller against the inclusion of a seven-year rider in the bill for confirming the Hudson Bay Company’s privileges. The following day he again crossed swords with Granville, who attacked Carmarthen. Jennings supported Sir Henry Goodricke, 2nd Bt., in his defence of Carmarthen, arguing that Danby’s impeachment had been

brought on by a trick. As to his pardon, it was by the advice of counsel that he pleaded it. I believe he has given the King counsel to preserve our properties, to prosecute the war in Ireland and France, and to keep the crown on his head, and his head on his shoulders . . . The mismanagement is from others about the King, and if any be in this House, it is fit they should be removed.5

In the 1690–1 session Jennings was a teller on 26 Nov. 1690 against committing the bill for reducing interest rates, and on 31 Dec. against passing the bill for the speedier determination of elections. In December he was classed as a probable supporter of Carmarthen in the event of an attack upon the minister in the Commons, while on another list he was noted as a Court supporter. His services were rewarded when he was appointed as a commissioner of prizes at a salary of £500 p.a. in March 1691. The following month he was classed as a Court supporter by Robert Harley*. Jennings died, however, at Westminster early in September 1691 and was buried in St. Clement Danes. He was succeeded as MP for Ripon by his son and heir, Jonathan.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Ivar McGrath


  • 1. Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, ii. 200–1.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 1271; ix. 1060.
  • 3. H. Horwitz, Revolution Politicks, 40; CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 148; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 553; Grey, x. 10.
  • 4. Cobbett, 588, 608, 611; Grey, 57–58, 92; Bodl. Rawl. A.79, ff. 81, 85, 89.
  • 5. Cobbett, 639, 646; Grey, 37, 143a.
  • 6. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1060, 1371; PRO NI, De Ros mss D638/13/37, John Pulteney* to Thomas Coningsby*, 19 Mar. 1690–91; Luttrell Diary, 7.