OXENDEN, Sir Henry, 4th Bt. (1690-1720), of Deane House, Wingham, Kent

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



1713 - 21 Apr. 1720

Family and Education

bap. 10 July 1690, 1st s. of George Oxenden*, and bro. of George Oxenden†.  educ. Trinity Hall, Camb. 1705.  m. 27 July 1712, Anne, da. of John Holloway, barrister-at-law, of Oxford and the I. Temple, s.psuc. fa. 1703, uncle Sir Henry Oxenden, 3rd Bt., as 4th Bt. Feb. 1709.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Sandwich 1713.2


Having shared with his brother George their father’s substantial personal estate in Bank stock and other government funds, Oxenden then inherited from an uncle not only the family’s baronetcy and ancestral seat in Kent, but also a powerful electoral interest in the borough of Sandwich. This latter asset he sought to exploit at the first opportunity, at a by-election in April 1713, in which he was defeated, and then in the general election later that year, when he was successful. His appetite for a parliamentary career had perhaps been whetted by the fact that he was embroiled in a series of Chancery suits over the personalty bequeathed to him in the 3rd baronet’s will but contested by another relative, Sir Henry Penrice. The complications of the litigation were to result in ‘very great and considerable expenses’ and eventually mortgages and other borrowings. To the corporation of Sandwich, however, he naturally did not speak of such things, declaring only that his perdurable principles comprised

a very hearty zeal for our excellent constitution both in Church and state, an entire obedience and loyalty to my sovereign, a steadfast maintenance of the Protestant succession in the most illustrious house of Hanover, and a strict regard to the just rights and privileges of my fellow subjects.

Ironically, to secure the protection of parliamentary privilege for himself, he was obliged to spend more money. Even though he was not opposed at the general election, ‘’tis said it cost him a good sum’, reported one observer, ‘to purchase reconciliation with the leading men of the place’.3

In the House, Oxenden followed the family’s political traditions, telling on the Whig side on 15 June 1714 for a motion to adjourn for two weeks the hearing of the Southwark election case, and on 23 June in favour of giving Andrew Archer leave to propose a motion. He was classed as a Whig in the Worsley list and in two lists of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments. His later absence from several crucial divisions is probably to be explained by his deteriorating health. When he made his will in July 1719 he was ‘somewhat weak in body’. Begging God’s forgiveness for ‘the manifold sins and wickednesses which I have been guilty of against His divine majesty’, he recited his losses on account of the ‘malicious’ lawsuits brought by Penrice, and requested burial of his remains in the family vault at Wingham ‘without any pomp or ceremony nor anybody to be present thereat save only my relations’. Oxenden died on 21 Apr. 1720, and was succeeded by his brother, in title, estate and parliamentary seat.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. IGI, London.
  • 2. Centre Kentish Stud. Sandwich bor. recs. Sa/AC/8, f. 374.
  • 3. PCC 55 Dogg, 118 Shaller; Chancery Procs. 1649–1714 (Index Lib. xxxii), 67; Sandwich bor. recs. Sa/Ac/8, ff. 374, 376; Add. 33512, f. 196; Bodl. Ballard 15, f. 107.
  • 4. PCC 118 Shaller.