LONG, Sir James, 2nd Bt. (1617-92), of Draycot Cerne, Wilts.

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. 1679 - Mar. 1681
1690 - 23 Jan. 1692

Family and Education

bap. 12 Jan. 1617, 1st s. of Sir Walter Long† of Draycot Cerne, being o. s. by his 1st w. Lady Anne, da. of James Ley†, 1st Earl of Marlborough.  educ. L. Inn 1634; travelled abroad (France).  m. (1) by 1635, a da. of Sir William Dodington† of Breamore, Hants, s.p. (2) by 1640, Dorothy, da. of Sir Edward Leach† of Shipley, Derbys., 1s. d.v.p. 5da.  suc. fa. 1637, uncle Sir Robert Long, 1st Bt.†, as 2nd Bt. 1673.1

Offices Held

Capt. of horse (royalist) 1642, col. 1644–6; gent. of privy chamber 1673–85.2

Sheriff, Wilts. (royalist) 1644–5.

FRS 1663.3


The Longs of Draycot Cerne were a senior branch of an extensive Wiltshire family which had been settled in the north of the county since the end of the 14th century. Long inherited the Draycot properties on his father’s death in 1637, although two years previously he had been granted a warrant to recover certain of these lands for settling a jointure on his first wife, a daughter of Sir William Dodington. Still a minor, he purchased his own wardship, with his uncle Sir Robert standing bound.4

In 1690 Long was reassured of the town’s support, and even, he claimed, that of the county at large, should he have opted to stand for knight of the shire. However, he admitted to Hon. Thomas Wharton* that he was a reluctant candidate. The only reason he had agreed to put up at his advanced age was his conviction that ‘such is the present conjuncture, it may be prudential . . . that as many known persons as may . . . affirm faith’ to the government ‘to appear to confirm the proceedings of the late excellent Parliament’. This would be the last time he would ever stand, he declared to Wharton, ‘neither should I now do it, but that I am very apt to think that I shall, by reason of my many kinsmen and friends in the House of Commons, be able to serve their Majesties in the methods you shall direct me’. He spoke during the debates touching the Abjuration and the suspending of habeas corpus, claiming that ‘I know many countries, but I know none but are desirous to swear or give the crown satisfaction as to their allegiance’. On its third reading, he acted as a teller on 15 May 1690 against a rider to the forfeitures bill giving those who had accepted office after 8 Oct. 1688 a respite until 1 Aug. 1690 to qualify themselves retrospectively and escape the bill’s penalties. In April 1691 he was listed by Robert Harley* as a Court supporter.5

Having attended the House the previous day, he was found on the morning of 23 Jan. 1692 dead in bed: ‘apoplexy’ was diagnosed as the cause. Long had drawn up his will in June 1690. His only son having predeceased him, the estate was distributed among his grandchildren. His widow was left a life interest in Draycot and four other manors; two granddaughters shared a marriage portion of £3,500; one grandson was given North Bradley manor, Wiltshire, while another, the future, Sir James Long, 5th Bt.*, was given an annuity of £60. Long was an original fellow of the Royal Society, and his friend John Aubrey, not without exaggeration, listed among his virtues that he was a ‘good swordsman, horseman; admirable extempore orator pro harangue; great memory, great historian and romancer . . . exceeding curious and searching long since, in natural things’. Aubrey also suggests that Long was the author of a history of the Civil War and the tract Examinations of Witches at Malmesbury, neither of which appears to have survived.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: D. W. Hayton / Henry Lancaster


  • 1. Vis. Wilts. (Harl. Soc. cv–cvi), 117; Bradford on Avon par. reg.; Wilts. Inquisitions (Index Lib. xxiii), 239–41; Aubrey, Brief Lives ed. Clark, ii. 36–37; SP16/312/54.
  • 2. Add. 24121, f. 50; Ludlow Memoirs ed. Firth, i. 470; N. Carlisle, Gent. Privy Chamber, 191.
  • 3. M. W. Hunter, R. Soc. and Fellows, 34.
  • 4. Burke, LG, 760; VCH Wilts. xiv. 77; VCH Hants, iv. 419; Aubrey, Top. Colls., 229; WARD 9/163, f. 79.
  • 5. Bodl. Carte 103, f. 254; Bodl. Rawl. A.79, f. 72; Egerton 3359, ff. 29–30.
  • 6. Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 342–3; Wood, Life and Times, iii. 381; Add. 70119; HMC Hastings, ii. 339; PCC 409 Fane; Dorm. and Extinct Baronetcies, 321; Aubrey, Brief Lives, 36–37.