SKYNNER, John (1724-1805), of Great Milton, Oxon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



30 Jan. 1771 - Nov. 1777

Family and Education

b. 1724, s. of John Skynner of Great Milton, Oxon. by his w. Elizabeth.  educ. Westminster, Jan. 1735, aged 10; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 19 June 1742, aged 18; L. Inn 1739, called 1748.  m. 6 Mar. 1778 Martha, da. of Edward Burn, 1da.  Kntd. 23 Nov. 1777.

Offices Held

Attorney-gen. to duchy of Lancaster 1770-7; K.C. 1771; bencher L. Inn 1771; recorder, Woodstock 1771-80; second justice, Chester 1772-7; recorder, Oxford 1776-97; ld. chief baron of the Exchequer 1777-87; P.C. 23 Mar. 1787.


Skynner practised on the Oxford circuit, and was returned for New Woodstock on the interest of the Duke of Marlborough. He supported North’s Administration. Eight speeches by him are reported 1772-4. Questions concerning the Church of England seem to have interested him most: he spoke at length against the motion to extend the Nullum Tempus Act to Church property, 17 Feb. 1772, and opposed Meredith’s motion on university subscription to the 39 Articles, 23 Feb. 1773.

On 4 May 1774 he spoke against a clause in the bill regulating the administration of justice in Massachusetts Bay. His objections were legal, and the clause was dropped.1 But Skynner is included in the list of 24 Members who voted against the third reading of the bill on 6 May—the only Member in that list not in declared opposition. It is clear that he did not object in principle to North’s American policy, for Robinson in September 1774 classed him as a Government supporter. He left Parliament in 1777 on his appointment to the bench.

Skynner died 26 Nov. 1805.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Brickdale’s ‘Debates’.