EYLES, Francis (c.1679-1735), of Essex St., London, and Earnshill, nr. Taunton, Som.
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Family and Education
Director, South Sea Co. 1715-21.
Eyles was the son of a lord mayor of London, who owned estates near Devizes, which the family represented in every Parliament from 1715 to 1741. Returned for Devizes as a Whig, he voted with the Government except on the peerage bill, on which he abstained. As a director of the South Sea Company he was expelled from the House after the collapse of the scheme and was included in the bill confiscating the estates of the chief culprits for the relief of their victims. He petitioned the Commons for lenient treatment on the ground that
he was no ways concerned in promoting the scheme upon which the Act passed ... nor was ever at any meeting of the directors ... to consult or contrive the carrying on the scheme ... nor privy to the giving or taking in any stock for any minister of state, or Member of either House of Parliament; ... he never made any advantage of being a director ... was absent in the country whilst many of the said matters were transacted, etc.2
The House took a comparatively favourable view of his case, allowing him to keep £20,000 out of estates valued at about £35,000. Like the other directors, he was also incapacitated from sitting again or holding public office. He died 19 Dec. 1735, leaving everything to his nephew, Francis Eyles.