NICOLSON, James (1681-1727), of West Rainton, co. Dur.

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



1708 - 1710

Family and Education

bap. 28 Nov. 1681, 1st s. of James Nicolson, cordwainer, of Durham by Jane, da. of William Heslop, butcher, of Old Durham, coh. Sir John Duck, 1st Bt. (d. 1691) of Haswell on the Hill, co. Dur.  educ. M. Temple 1696, called 1704.  m. (1) c.1712, Anne Allan (d. 1719), 1s. d.v.p. 3da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Richard Metcalfe of Thornbrough, Yorks. s.psuc. fa. 1681.1

Offices Held

Mayor, Hartlepool 1711–12, 1724–5.


Son of a wealthy Durham tradesman, Nicolson’s family was closely involved in Durham’s corporation. His maternal uncle served as alderman until his death in 1704, as had his great-uncle Sir John Duck. Duck acquired a considerable fortune, and dying childless in 1691, left his estate to Nicolson’s mother and aunt. Nicolson was successful for Durham at the 1708 election. Classed as a ‘gain’ by the Earl of Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*), he supported the naturalization of the Palatines, in 1709, and voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell the following year. At the 1710 election he was defeated despite reports that ‘Nicolson spends very high’, and did not stand for Parliament again. He was buried at St. Nicholas, Durham on 16 Aug. 1727, and was succeeded in his estates by his three daughters, the eldest of whom married Hon. Thomas Lyon†, later 6th Earl of Strathmore [S].2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. IGI, co. Durham; Surtees, Dur. iv(2), 156.
  • 2. HMC Portland, iv. 575; Surtees, iv(1), 109.