MOYSER, John (c.1659-1739), of Beverley, 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



1705 - 1708

Family and Education

b. c.1659, 4th but o. surv. s. of James Moyser, of Beverley and Appleton, Yorks. by Frances, da. of Edward Yarburgh of Snaith Hall, Yorks., wid. of Sir John Reresby, 1st Bt., of Tribergh, Yorks.; half-bro. of Sir John Reresby, 2nd Bt.†.  educ. Beverley sch. (Mr Banks); St. John’s, Camb. adm. 27 Apr. 1677, aged 16.  m. (1) c.Apr. 1687, Mary or Margaret, da. of Anthony Eyre† of Rampton, Notts., sis. of Gervase Eyre*, s.p.; (2) 26 Aug. 1692, Catherine, da. of John Heron of Beverley, wid. of Sir John Hotham, 3rd Bt.†, of Scorborough, Yorks., 2s. 4da.  suc. fa. 1695.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Beverley 1705.2


The Moysers settled at Appleton early in the 17th century, Moyser’s father, a lawyer and described as ‘a gentleman of competent estate’, was appointed recorder of Beverley in 1685 under James II’s charter, and the same year stood unsuccessfully for York. He was removed as recorder in June 1688 for opposing the repeal of the Penal Laws and Test Act. Moyser himself, by his second marriage, became connected with the Herons, an influential Beverley family with long service on the corporation, and, more importantly, with the Hothams. In December 1699 Moyser was appointed a deputy-lieutenant for the East Riding, while in April 1705 he was made a freeman of Beverley, at which time he presented the town corporation with a new gilt mace. The following month he was returned unopposed for the borough on the recommendation of Sir Charles Hotham, 4th Bt.*, and Sir Michael Warton*, the two dominant local interests. Classed as a ‘Churchman’ in an analysis of the 1705 Parliament, Moyser voted for the Court candidate as Speaker on 25 Oct. However, he was not an active Member. He was considered suitable by Lord Keeper Cowper (William*) for inclusion on the East Riding commission of the peace in 1707, but was not actually appointed. In an analysis of Parliament in early 1708 he was listed as a Tory. After the dissolution of Parliament later that year he did not stand for re-election.3

A gifted amateur architect, Moyser devoted the rest of his life to the restoration of Beverley Minster, using designs from Grecian and Classical antiquity. Posterity has criticized him for introducing alien styles into a Gothic building, but to contemporaries he was ‘the chief instrument in repairing and beautifying that Minster’. He also took a keen interest in other local matters, including the foundation of a charity school in 1710. He died in 1739. By his will he left a fund to provide for an assistant curate for the vicar of St. Mary’s, Beverley.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Ivar McGrath


  • 1. Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Clay, iii. 89; Reresby Mems. ed. Browning, xliv–xlv. 455.
  • 2. Beverley Bor. Recs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. lxxxiv), 193.
  • 3. G. Oliver, Hist. Beverley, 237, 310; Reresby Mems. xlv. 229–30, 355–8; CSP Dom. 1699–1700, p. 310; Beverley Bor. Recs. 193; Herts. RO, Panshanger mss, D/EP F152, list of j.p.s put in or put out by Ld. Cowper, [1707]; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 173.
  • 4. Oliver, 239–40; Yorks. Diaries (Surtees Soc. lxv), 349; Beverley Corp. Min. Bks. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. cxxii), pp. xiii–xiv; VCH East Riding, Yorks. vi. 238, 255; Clay, 89.