PLUMPTRE, John (1680-1751), of Plumptre House, Nottingham

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



25 Dec. 1706 - 1713
1715 - 1727
1727 - 1734
1734 - 1747
11 Dec. 1747 - 29 Sept. 1751

Family and Education

bap. 16 Jan. 1680, 1st s. of Henry Plumptre of Nottingham by his 2nd w. Joyce, da. of Henry Sacheverell of Barton, Notts., wid. of John Milward of Snitterton, Derbys.  educ. M. Temple 1696; Queens’, Camb. 1697.  m. 3 Oct. 1707, Annabella (d. 1745), da. of Sir Francis Molyneux, 4th Bt.*, 7s. 2da.  suc. fa. 29 Dec. 1693.1

Offices Held

Guardian, Plumptre hosp. 1704–d.; freeman, Nottingham 1705; trustee, King Street chapel.2

Commr. standing army debts 1715–20; treasurer of Ordnance 1720–d.


Plumptre came from a well-established family resident in the borough of Nottingham itself. His father joined the subscription for the Whig candidates in September 1679 and both his parents appear to have been strong supporters of the Williamite regime after 1688 as they both subscribed to voluntary loans to the government in the early 1690s. Plumptre first entered the Commons unopposed at a by-election in 1706. In the following year he strengthened his interest considerably by marrying a niece of Lord Howe (Sir Scrope*). That he quickly made himself useful to the ministry, and to his patron the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†), the lord privy seal, in particular, is vouchsafed by the appointment of his brother, Dr Henry Plumptre, as a commissioner of the sick and wounded in 1707. A list dating from early 1708 classed him as a Whig. On 5 Feb. he acted as a teller against a clause offered at the report stage of the bill raising a supply through the sale of annuities, which is not recorded in the Journals, but which probably made void all subscriptions before the bill received the Royal Assent. He was re-elected at the top of the poll in 1708. In the opening session of the new Parliament he voted for the naturalization of the Palatines, a view confirmed on 2 Mar. 1709 when he acted as a teller for a question that the orders of the day be read for receiving the report on that bill. Not surprisingly, he voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in 1710. In the election of 1710, the generous support of Newcastle enabled Plumptre to top the poll although his partner finished in third place. The ‘Hanover list’, analysing the new Parliament, classed him as a Whig. In the opening session, he acted as a teller on 7 Apr. 1711 in favour of the question declaring James Stanhope* elected for Cockermouth. On 25 May 1711 he voted against the amendment to the South Sea bill which vested the appointment of the first governor and board of directors in the crown. In the following session he voted against the Court on 7 Dec. 1711 on the motion for ‘No Peace without Spain’. He was also named to assist in drafting a bill relating to sheriffs’ accounts, and acted as a teller on 1 May 1712 in favour of proceeding with a call of the House. In the 1713 session he acted as a teller on 7 May in favour of an adjournment motion in a debate concerning the conduct of William Churchill* while a commissioner of sick and wounded. The House then voted that the offence was covered by a royal pardon relating to public money, thus protecting Churchill from further censure, a poignant defeat for Plumptre as his brother had given evidence to the Commons earlier in the day. On 18 June he was noted as a Whig who voted against the French commerce bill.3

The death of Newcastle in 1711, and the consequent wrangling over his political inheritance, weakened Plumptre’s interest sufficiently, in the difficult circumstances of 1713, for him to lose his seat in the election of that year. However, he did not surrender without a fight, frightening some Tories by suggesting a compromise with Robert Sacheverell*. This accommodation fell through, to the relief of Matthew Brailsford who described Plumptre in 1713 as ‘the most violent Whig and the most furious enemy the ministry has’. In 1715, with the tide running strongly in favour of the Whigs, and the young Whig Earl of Clare (Thomas Pelham-Holles), soon to be created Duke of Newcastle, offering financial backing, Plumptre was returned to Parliament with George Gregory*. Together they spent over £850 to secure their election. Not surprisingly he was classed as a Whig in an analysis of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments. Plumptre continued to represent the town until 1747, with one break when, to effect a compromise, he moved to Bishop’s Castle. In the 1747 election he withdrew from the contest, blaming his Howe relations for the certainty of his defeat, and taking refuge at St. Ives. After a long career in the Whig cause, he died on 29 Sept. 1751, having increased the endowments of his ancestor’s foundation, Plumptre hospital, and having spent much time as a diligent trustee of Archbishop Tenison’s foundation of King Street chapel in St. James’s parish.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. Berry, Kent Gens. 90.
  • 2. J. Bramley, Hist. Plumptre Hosp. 21; Pollbks. of Nottingham and Notts. 1710 (Thoroton Soc. Rec. Ser. xviii), 158; HMC Egmont Diary, ii. 218.
  • 3. [Bull. I] HR, lxix. 230; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 2007; x. 909; Add. 70501, f. 187; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Holles) mss Pw2 187, Plumptre to [Newcastle], 20 Aug. 1710.
  • 4. Add. 70373, Brailsford to Ld. Harley (Edward*), 13 Jan. 1712–13; 32686, ff. 25–26; 33060, f. 18; W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 27, 60; Pollbks. of Nottingham and Notts. 158; HMC Egmont Diary, 63, 128.