MOYLE, Joseph (1679-1742), of Bark Street, Southampton, Hants.

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



1705 - 1708

Family and Education

b. 4 Sept. 1679, 4th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Walter Moyle† of Bake, Cornw. by Thomasine, da. of Sir William Morice, 1st Bt.†, sec. of state to Charles II, of Werrington, Devon; bro. of Walter Moyle*.  m. Oct. 1711, Catherine, da. and h. of Sir Godfrey Copley, 2nd Bt.*, 2s. 3da.1

Offices Held

Clerk of signet 1708–aft.1716.

Commr. million lottery June 1711, S. Sea Co. 1711.2


As soon as he had come of age, Moyle was employed by his uncle Nicholas Morice† in dealings with his cousin Humphry Morice* in various City speculations and in collecting the interest on money lent by him to various people, including several MPs. In return, Nicholas Morice praised him for taking ‘such pains in my concerns’. It was the Morice interest that secured Moyle’s return for Saltash in 1705, following which he was listed as a Whig ‘gain’ by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) and classed as a ‘Churchman’. On 25 Oct. he voted for the Court candidate as Speaker, and on 18 Feb. 1706 supported the Court during the proceedings on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill. When Nicholas Morice resigned as clerk of the signet in April 1706, he requested that Moyle succeed him. An analysis of the Commons in early 1708 classed Moyle as a Whig. He was defeated at Saltash later the same year, but his uncle consoled himself with the thought that Moyle’s appointment to the signet office, shortly after the general election, would in any case have forced him to seek re-election. Moyle’s Tory cousin, Sir Nicholas Morice, 2nd Bt.*, who described Moyle as ‘the little Whig Jo’, wrote after the dismissal of Lord Godolphin (Sidney†) in 1710 that he was getting in a good supply of wine ‘on purpose to keep up the sinking spirits of my friend and kinsman Joseph Moyle whom I am in concern for by reason every post brings news of the Whigs taking the country air’. He may have been the ‘Mr Moyle’ who supported the Whig candidates at the Cornwall election of the same year. In 1711 Moyle married the daughter of his uncle’s late friend Sir Godfrey Copley, a match which was said to have brought him a fortune of about £30,000. Moyle died on 29 Mar. 1742, leaving £1,500 each to his children. His eldest son, Joseph, assumed the name of Copley by Act of Parliament and was created a baronet in 1778 after succeeding to the property of his maternal grandfather.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 335; Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 4, iii. 232; PCC 124 Trenley.
  • 2. Post Boy, 19–21 June 1711; Pittis, Present Parl. 351.
  • 3. Bank of Eng. Morice mss, Nicholas to Humphry Morice, 22 July 1701, 3 Mar. 1703, 10 Dec. 1704, 6 Feb., 28 Nov. 1707, 28 May 1708, Sir Nicholas Morice to same, 19 Feb., 26 Aug. 1710; Add. 70250, Sir Edward Northey* to Robert Harley*, 13 Apr. 1706; 70205, Alexander Pendarves* to same, 7 Oct. 1710; Brit. Mercury, 31 Oct.–2 Nov. 1711; Coxe, Walpole, ii. 62–64; Gent. Mag. 1742, p. 218; PCC 124 Trenley.