HOLLES, Gilbert, Lord Houghton (1633-89), of Haughton, Notts. and Warwick House, Holborn, Mdx.

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. 24 Apr. 1633, 2nd but o. surv. s. of John Holles, 2nd Earl of Clare by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Horace, 1st Baron Vere of Tilbury. educ. travelled abroad 1645. m. 9 July 1655, Grace, da. of Hon. William Pierrepont of Thoresby, Notts., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. fa. as 3rd Earl of Clare 2 Jan. 1666.

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Notts. and Lincs. Mar. 1660, j.p. Mar. 1660-?74; dep. lt. Notts. c. Aug. 1660-?74, commr. for sewers, Lincs. Aug. 1660, assessment, Notts. 1661-6.


Lord Houghton was descended from Sir William Holles, lord mayor of London 1539-40, who bought a large estate in Nottinghamshire. The next generation represented the county in the Parliament of 1553. The family was usually in opposition under the Stuarts. Houghton’s father, the brother of Denzil Holles, changed sides three times during the Civil War, and took no part in public affairs till the Restoration. ‘Too much addicted to a natural melancholy’, Houghton was used with great severity by his father, or so he alleged, his ‘small allowance’ of £900 p.a. being reduced by Commonwealth taxation to £500. He represented Nottinghamshire in the Convention together with his father-in-law. He made no speeches and was appointed to no committees, but presumably he voted with the Presbyterian opposition, and he was not re-elected. In the House of Lords from 1666 he acted regularly with the country party, achieving prominence on 26 Jan. 1674 when he moved that the King should be asked to withdraw from the debate. For a short time he was reckoned one of the ‘most forward of the Hotspurs in the Upper House’. A strong Calvinist, he had never acted as j.p., which would have entailed conformity with the Church of England, and was probably removed from both commission and lieutenancy about this time. His journey abroad with his sons in September would have provided an excuse, though he returned in the following April. He signed the petition for the assembly of Parliament on 26 Jan. 1680, and was one of Monmouth’s sureties in 1682. In September of the same year, he was fined £320 for permitting 16 unlawful conventicles to meet at a house in St. Clement Danes belonging to him. He gave evidence on behalf of Algernon Sidney. He was reckoned among the opposition to James II, and signed the petition for a free Parliament on 16 Nov. 1688. His last years were saddened by domestic disagreements with his wife, ‘she gadding usually from morning to night’, while he had never much fancied ‘Courts, Playhouse, Hyde Park by days nor St. James by nights, coffee houses, ordinaries, gaming houses or taverns’. Moreover her ‘lazy trick’ of sending all the table linen to the laundry had wasted and destroyed more of his linen in five years than in the previous 15. He died on 16 Jan. 1689 and was buried at Haughton.

Whitelocke Memorials, i. 498; Hutchinson Mems. 96; K. H. D. Haley, Shaftesbury, 358, 560, 658; Letters to Williamson (Cam. Soc. n.s. ix.), 156-7; CSP Dom. 1673-5, p. 345; 1675-6, p. 85; 1682, p. 430; July-Sept. 1683, p. 401; Burnet, ii. 402; PCC 42 Ent.

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / E. R. Edwards