ELDRED, John (1629-1717), of Earl's Colne, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 2 Oct. 1629, 1st s. of John Eldred of Stanway, Essex by Anne, da. and coh. of Thomas Goodman of Leatherhead, Surr. educ. Colchester g.s.; Bishop’s Stortford g.s.; Merchant Taylors’ 1644-5; Caius, Camb. 1646; L. Inn 1648, called 1654. m. 15 Dec. 1657, Margaret (d. 27 Jan. 1714), da. of Richard Harlackenden of Earl’s Colne, and coh. to her half-bro. Richard, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1682.1

Offices Held

Dep. recorder, Colchester ?1658-at least 1668, Harwich by 1663-?84; j.p. Essex July 1660-80, Apr. 1688-d.; commr. for assessment, Essex Aug. 1660-9, 1677-80, Colchester and Harwich 1663-4, 1667-9, Harwich 1677-9, Essex, Colchester and Harwich 1689-90, L. Inn 1690; freeman, Harwich 1663; bencher, L. Inn 1673, treas. 1671-2; commr. for recusants Essex 1675, dep. lt. 1701-2.2


Eldred was descended from Thomas Eldred, an Ipswich merchant who accompanied Thomas Cavendish on his world voyage from 1586 to 1588. His grandfather, also a merchant, settled in Colchester, took out a grant of arms in 1631, and acquired Olivers manor in Stanway. His father supported Parliament during the Civil War, and held local office during the Interregnum. Eldred became a lawyer, and married an heiress. He held office in the municipalities of Colchester and Harwich, and probably joined his father on the Essex commission of the peace after the Restoration. Both served as pall-bearers at the reinterment of the Cavalier martyr Sir Charles Lucas in June 1661.3

Nevertheless Eldred, a dissenter, was clearly no friend to the restored monarchy. He served as deputy recorder of Harwich under Sir Harbottle Grimston, who recommended him to the corporation for Parliament in 1674 ‘in case (Sir) Capel Luckyn should happen to die’. He was removed from the county bench in 1680 as an exclusionist, and acted as legal adviser to the City Whigs at the election of sheriffs in 1682. Henry Mildmay considered him as a possible colleague for the next Essex election, but eventually preferred a churchman. Although Eldred acquired a personal grievance against James II when he was obliged to surrender property in Westminster and Surrey as crown lands, he may have become a Whig collaborator. In 1688 James II’s agents recommended his restoration to the commission of the peace, and reported that Colchester intended to choose him at the proposed election. It is not known whether in fact he went to the poll there, but he defeated Samuel Pepys at Harwich. A moderately active Member of the Convention, he was appointed to 15 committees, but made no recorded speeches. Among his committees in the first session was that to consider the relief of Irish Protestants. He was chairman of the committee to reverse the judgments against Titus Oates, reporting on 5 July and carrying up the bill to the Lords on the following day. In the second session his committees included those to prevent excessive expenses at elections and to bring in a bill of attainder against all Jacobites in arms. He is not known to have supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, or to have stood again. He died on 2 Sept. 1717 and was buried at Earl’s Colne, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Gillian Hampson / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Morant, Essex, ii. 193; Vis. Essex ed. Howard, 31; Coll. Top. et Gen. vi. 295-6; Top. and Gen. i. 235.
  • 2. Harwich bor. recs. 98/4/26; Essex RO, Assize rolls 35/100-25; Q/SR/468-501; T/2/26; Colchester Castle, Colchester Exam. and Recog.; HMC Lords, i. 179; Harwich Charters (1798), 57; CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 251.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. (1837), pt. 1, pp. 486-7; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 81; Morant, ii. 193; Merc. Pub. 13 June 1661.
  • 4. HMC Lords, iii. 53; The Essexian Triumviri (1684), 7; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 877, 885-7; Morant, ii. 193.