NORREYS, Sir Edward (1634-1712), of Weston-on-the-Green, Oxon.

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



10 Nov. 1675 - July 1679
1689 - 1700
Feb. 1701 - 1708

Family and Education

bap. 28 Aug. 1634, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Sir Francis Rose alias Norreys† of Weston-on-the-Green by Hester, da. of Sir John Rous† of Rous Lench, Worcs.  educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1650; L. Inn 1654; travelled abroad (France) 1656–8.  m. lic. 9 Dec. 1662, Jane (d. 1722), da. of Sir John Clerke of Shabbington and Hitcham, Bucks., and bro. of Francis Clerke*, 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 5da. (1, and poss. 1 other d.v.p.).  Kntd. 22 Nov. 1662; suc. fa. 1669.1

Offices Held

Freeman and bailiff, Oxford 1668–Jan. 1688, Woodstock 1684.2


A gentleman of rigid High Tory opinion, Norreys was returned for Oxford in 1690 along with his son-in-law, Hon. Henry Bertie I*, having first served for that city in the Convention. On the eve of the new Parliament he was classed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Tory and as a probable Court supporter. Indeed, Norreys’ pro-Court allegiance was almost certainly reinforced by a more personal connexion with Carmarthen, whose wife, Lady Bridget, was Henry Bertie’s sister. Norreys made his only recorded intervention in a debate on 1 May 1690 when the Commons was in committee on the regency bill: he raised the question of what would happen if, in the event of the King’s death on campaign in Ireland, the Queen, as regent, chose not to oppose her father if he landed in England. This brief but pertinent intervention, which may well have savoured of disloyalty to the new monarchs in the eyes of Court supporters, was not taken up and the day’s proceedings on the bill ended very soon afterwards. Otherwise, in his long years of parliamentary service Norreys’ presence in the House was inconspicuous, and he was only very infrequently invited to serve on non-legislative committees. In December 1690 Carmarthen classed him as a probable supporter in connexion with the projected attack on him in the Commons. Robert Harley* may have seen in him a propensity towards independence, for in drawing up his analysis of the House in April 1691, he noted Norreys both as a Court and a Country supporter. He appears to have been a close friend of Sir Cyril Wych*, who during at least one parliamentary session, that of 1692–3, placed his residence in Jermyn Street at Norreys’ disposal. A fortnight’s leave of absence was accorded him on 21 Dec. 1693.3

Re-elected for Oxford in 1695, Norreys was forecast in January 1696 as likely to support the Court in the division anticipated on the proposed council of trade, though the list also seems to indicate that he opposed it in the division itself. He refused at first to put his signature to the Association, only doing so after the Act for the security of the crown had passed; and voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. in March. He also voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† on 25 Nov. Norreys’ movement towards opposition by the early months of 1696 may well have been determined by Carmarthen’s disgrace at the hands of the Whig Junto the previous year. On 18 May 1698 he was granted leave of absence following the death of his third son. Returned in 1698, he was marked before the opening of the new Parliament as likely to oppose a standing army, and as a Country supporter in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments compiled in around September. Another analysis undertaken in 1700 categorized him as still attached to Carmarthen, now Duke of Leeds. His decision to accept one of the Oxfordshire seats in the first election of 1701 was facilitated by a disagreement occurring between the candidate originally intended, Sir Robert Dashwood, 1st Bt.*, and the Earl of Abingdon (Montagu Venables-Bertie*, Lord Norreys), the foremost Tory influence in the county. Norreys’ kinship with the Earl doubtless made him a particularly suitable choice, while Norreys’ son Francis was elected to fill the vacancy he himself left at Oxford. Soon after the new Parliament commenced Norreys was listed as likely to support the Court in a supply resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’. However, his antipathy towards the Court seems to have been more pronounced, as indicated subsequently by his being blacklisted as an opponent of preparations for war with France in the 1701 session, and by his vote on 26 Feb. 1702 in favour of the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of William III’s leading Whig ministers. He was returned unopposed for the county in 1702, and with the Tories now in office he was noted in mid-March 1704 as a supporter of the government’s actions in the Scotch Plot affair. Even so, his High Churchmanship led to a forecast in October that he would support the Tack, an expectation which he fulfilled in the crucial division of 28 Nov. Following the 1705 election, at which he was returned once more without challenge, Norreys was described in a published list of the new House as ‘True Church’; and in the Speakership division on 25 Oct. he naturally voted against the Court candidate. Another list, of early 1708, classed him as a Tory.4

Norreys stood down in 1708, most probably for reasons of old age. He died in 1712, his burial taking place at Weston on 5 Oct. His estates at Weston, and at Hampstead Norris and Yattenden in Berkshire, passed to his only surviving son James, a Norfolk clergyman, who, dying in 1718, bequeathed them to his nephew James Bertie, Sir Edward’s grandson from his daughter Philadelphia’s marriage to Henry Bertie.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Andrew A. Hanham


  • 1. Oxon. RO, Weston par. reg.; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 289; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 163; CSP Dom. 1656–7, p. 142; 1657–8, pp. 354, 359; Mar. Lic. Vicar-Gen. (Harl. Soc. xxiii), 80; J. Dunkin, Bullington and Ploughley, ii. 200–1, 213–14.
  • 2. Oxford Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 27, 196; Woodstock Council Acts, 1677–99 (17 Sept. 1684).
  • 3. Grey, x. 108; Nat. Archs. Ire. Wych mss 1/67, William Ball to Wych, 24 Jan. 1692–3; Bull. IHR, sp. supp. 7, p. 171.
  • 4. L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 121.
  • 5. Weston par. reg.; Dunkin, ii. 201; PCC 191 Browning.