PEDLEY, John (c.1666-1722), of Tetworth, Hunts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1666, 6th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Nicholas Pedley† of Lincoln’s Inn and Huntingdon by his 1st w. Lucy, da. of Sir Robert Bernard, 1st Bt.†, of Huntingdon. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1683; L. Inn 1687, called 1694. m. (1) lic. 20 Mar. 1693 (he aged about 27), Frances Bernard of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, Mdx., ?s.p.; (2) ?1701, Essex, da. of Philip Foley*, at least 3s. (1 d.v.p.). suc. bro. Robert at Wistow, Hunts. 1687.1
Originally intended for the Church, Pedley entered himself at Lincoln’s Inn in 1687 as soon as his elder surviving brother died. It was not an auspicious time to embark upon an ecclesiastical career, especially since his principal clerical connexion, his brother-in-law Edward Stillingfleet, dean of St. Paul’s, was a Low Churchman out of favour at court. With his own father as a model, Pedley preferred to take his chance at the law. Although not particularly successful, he appears to have been for a while an active barrister on the country circuits, and his assistance in business matters was occasionally enlisted by relations. The bulk of his inheritance would seem to have been in mortgages held on other estates rather than in property of his own, and he may well have purchased his seat at Tetworth himself.2
The political allegiance Pedley inherited was broadly Whiggish. During the Interregnum his father had co-operated with the Commonwealth and Protectorate governments, and in the later stages of the Cavalier Parliament had aligned himself with those opposed to Danby’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) administration. Even though he voted against Exclusion he was ‘put out of the commission of the peace’ in 1685, when a local Tory rival described him as ‘one of the old stamp’, and his eldest son as ‘having always . . . been an enemy to the King [James II] in a violent manner’. Pedley himself first stood for Huntingdon on the Whig interest in the general election of January 1701, and as the nominee of Sidney Wortley Montagu*, who reportedly ‘paid his charges’. Although he withdrew before the poll was over, he went through with a petition against the victorious Tory candidate Charles Boyle II*, but later let it drop. The following year he was appointed to the Huntingdonshire lieutenancy. His next attempt to secure election to Parliament, at Huntingdon in 1705, also met with defeat at the hands of a Tory, Sir John Cotton, 4th Bt.*, but this time Pedley’s petition succeeded. As well as enjoying the support of the Whigs in the House, he had connected himself by marriage with the powerful Foley family. That he acted with the Whigs may be inferred from his classification as such on a list of early 1708. At the next general election he ‘desisted’, making way for a more prominent Whig lawyer (and a stranger to the borough), Francis Page*. He did not stand for Parliament again and died in 1722.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 274; Lansd. 921, ff. 6, 36; PCC 91, 113 Cann, 52 Foot; VCH Hunts. ii. 248; Mar. Lic. Vicar-Gen. (Harl. Soc. xxxi), 251; Nash, Worcs. ii. 464–5; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1700–15, p. 287.
- 2. PCC 91, 113 Cann; CSP Dom. 1696, p. 87; Add. 34730, f. 149; VCH Hunts. ii. 372.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 267; 1702–3, p. 393; VCH Hunts. 35–37, 248; HMC Cowper, 415.