STANYAN, Abraham (c.1670-1732), of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1715 - Oct. 1717

Family and Education

b. c.1670, 1st s. of Lawrence Stanyan1 of Monken Hadley, Mdx., merchant, farmer and commr. of the revenue [I], by Dorothy, da. and coh. of Henry Knapp of Woodcote, or Rawlins, in South Stoke, Oxon., sis. of Mary, w. of Sir Richard Temple, 3rd Bt., M.P., of Stowe, Bucks., and aunt of Richard Temple, M.P., 1st Visct. Cobham. unm. suc. fa. 1725.2

Offices Held

Sec. of embassy to Sir William Trumbull at Constantinople 1690-1, to the Earl of Manchester at Venice 1697-8, and Paris 1699-1700; clerk to Privy Council extraordinary 1699; envoy extraordinary to Switzerland 1705-14, and to the Grisons 1707-14; special commr. to mediate between the Emperor and Savoy 1712-13; ld. of Admiralty 1714-17; envoy extraordinary and plenipotentiary to the Emperor 1716-18; clerk in ordinary to Privy Council 1717-20; ambassador to Turkey 1717-30; commr. of privy seal Jan.-June 1731.


Abraham Stanyan, a career diplomat, entered the secretary of state’s office as a clerk, distinguishing himself under Queen Anne as envoy to Switzerland, of which he published an account on his return to England in 1714. A Whig and member of the Kit-Cat club, he was made a lord of the Admiralty on George I’s accession and returned for Buckingham on the interest of his cousin, Lord Cobham. Vacating his seat in October 1717 on appointment to a Privy Council clerkship, a few weeks later he was appointed ambassador to Turkey, where he remained for over twelve years. His successor there, Lord Kinnoull, described him as ‘a well-behaved, complaisant gentleman of an indolent temper ... whose life [at Constantinople] ... has been upon a sofa with the women’.3 After his final return to England in 1730 he held office for a few months as commissioner of the privy seal ad interim. He died 9-11 Sept. 1732, leaving to Lord Cobham the ‘large diamond brilliant ring I usually wear [as a] small token of my gratitude in acknowledgment of the friendship he has constantly honoured me with’.4

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: R. S. Lea


  • 1. HMC Downshire, i. 319.
  • 2. O. G. Knapp, Hist. Fam. of Knapp, 83-87.
  • 3. Wood, Hist. Levant Co. 174-5.
  • 4. PCC 255 Bedford.