LENNARD, Sir Stephen, 2nd Bt. (1637-1709), of West Wickham, 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



Mar. 1681
1698 - 1700
1708 - 15 Dec. 1709

Family and Education

bap. 2 Mar. 1637, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Stephen Lennard, 1st Bt., of West Wickham by 3rd w. Anne, da. of Sir John Oglander† of Nunwell, I.o.W.  m. settlement 30 Dec. 1671, Elizabeth (d. 1732), da. and h. of Delalyne Hussey of Shapwick, Dorset, wid. of John Roy of Woodlands, Dorset, 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. Jan. 1680.1

Offices Held

Commr. Greenwich Hosp. 1695–?1704.2


Lennard was descended from the younger branch of the Lennards of Chevening. The elder branch inherited the Dacre barony in the early 17th century, and Thomas Lennard, 15th Lord Dacre, was subsequently created Earl of Sussex. Lennard’s father was probably a Royalist as his estate was ordered to be seized in 1651, although he was pardoned the following year. Relations between the two branches of the family seem to have been good, with Lennard’s father often staying with the Dacres, and Lennard himself lending money to the Earl of Sussex. Lennard was probably in control of the West Wickham estate at an early age, for in 1672 ‘squire Leonard’ was selling elm trees to the navy. He was appointed to the bench in 1680, no doubt in place of his deceased father. Elected in 1681 for Winchelsea, he seems to have been close to his co-Member, Creswell Draper†, a proponent of Exclusion. Lennard’s views on the issue are unknown. In August 1681 he informed against Sir Edward Dering, 2nd Bt.†, for raising a regiment, which might indicate an aversion to Whig radicalism, or that he was himself privy to the arrangements. However, it should be noted that antipathy to Dering was not exclusively a Tory trait. Whatever the true interpretation of these events, Lennard remained in the commission of the peace, a deputy-lieutenant and a militia officer, possibly owing to the influence of his kinsman Lord Sussex (who was married to a natural daughter of Charles II). Lennard was dismissed from local office (along with Draper) in February 1688 owing to his failure, on account of ‘illness’, to answer the three questions.3

From a description of the shire election for the Convention by Sir John Knatchbull, 2nd Bt.*, it is clear that Lennard was in the Whig camp. He arrived with Hon. Sir Vere Fane* and was one of those who selected Fane to oppose Sir William Twysden, 3rd Bt.*, when the latter refused the Association. At the county election of 1690, Lennard was originally a candidate, but declined a poll in the face of the superior strength of Knatchbull and Fane. A letter of 1697 in the papers of John Ellis*, under-secretary of state, suggests that Lennard was the author of ‘a seditious if not treasonable paper tending to stir up the people or at least to cause a disaffection to the government’. The informant, one Harrison, wished to remain anonymous as ‘my partners will be concerned that I should send without their knowledge, they having a great kindness for Sir Stephen Lennard’. The paper itself appears to have been somewhat anodyne, possibly no more than a Country critique of government, of the kind which was widespread at that time, and caused Lennard no difficulty in the county election of 1698, when he was returned without a contest.4

However, Lennard’s hostility to the Court is affirmed by a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments in 1698, in which he was classed as a Country supporter, and by the inclusion of his name on a forecast of those likely to oppose the standing army. Such a principled stand would have gone against the interests of his son, Samuel†, an army officer whose regiment was subsequently disbanded and who remained on half-pay until 1702 despite his father’s lobbying of William Blathwayt* in an attempt to procure another commission. As befitted Lennard’s independence, the compiler of an analysis of the House into ‘interests’ in 1700 marked his name with a query.5

Lennard did not stand in 1701, but continued to act as a local office-holder. He was returned as knight of the shire in 1708, having apparently stood singly, although the preceding year his name had been linked with that of Sir Thomas Palmer, 4th Bt., the other Member elected in 1708. The Earl of Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) considered the election a gain for the Whigs, an analysis consistent with Lennard’s support in 1709 for the naturalization of the Palatines. In the following session, on 12 Dec. 1709, Lennard was added to the drafting committee on a local turnpike bill. On 14 Dec., when the Commons voted to impeach Dr Sacheverell, he was heard to observe that Members were going ‘to roast a parson’. Much comment therefore followed the next day when he dropped dead ‘of an apoplexy’ while walking in Drury Lane. His will mentioned three investments, each of £100, in the Exchequer, and £200 owed to him by the Earl of Sussex. He was succeeded by his son Samuel, who sat for Hythe in George I’s reign.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. iv. 393–4.
  • 2. Add. 10120, f. 235.
  • 3. T. B. Lennard, Acct. of Fams. of Lennard and Barrett, 214, 285; Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 4, ii. 228; Top. and Gen. iii. 217; Hasted, Kent, ii. 33–34; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 1310; PCC 111 Smith; CSP Dom. 1672–3, p. 55; 1681, p. 395; info. from Prof. N. Landau; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1882), 359.
  • 4. Add. 33923, ff. 451, 470, 477, 480; 28924, f. 208.
  • 5. Add. 38704, f. 98; 70036, f. 98.
  • 6. Post Man, 25–27 May 1708; Add. 61496, ff. 92–93; G. Holmes, Trial of Sacheverell, 93; Boyer, Anne Annals, viii. 408; Post Boy, 15–17 Dec. 1709; PCC 111 Smith.