OAKELEY, William (1635-95), of Oakeley, nr. Bishop's Castle, Salop.

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



Mar. 1679
1690 - Jan. 1695

Family and Education

b. Mar. 1635, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Richard Oakeley of Oakeley by Mary, da. of Edward Combes of Fetter Lane, London. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1651; M. Temple 1651. m. (1) settlement 13 Nov. 1663, Mary (bur. 27 Sept. 1680), da. of Walter Waring of Owlbury, Lydham, Salop, 1da.; (2) 24 Mar. 1681, Barbara, da. of John Walcot of Walcot, Salop, 5s. 3da. suc. fa. 1653.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Salop Jan. 1660-80, Mont. Sept. 1660-3, 1673-80, Oxon, 1663-80, Salop and Oxon. 1689-90, militia, Salop and North Wales Mar. 1660; sheriff, Salop Mar.-Nov. 1660; j.p. Salop and Mont. Mar. 1660-87, ?1689-d.; freeman, Ludlow 1661; commr. for corporations, Salop 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants 1675, capt. of militia ft. by 1681, maj. c.1683-6.2


Oakeley’s ancestors took their name from the manor, one mile from Bishop’s Castle, which they had held since the 13th century. His father, the first of the family to enter Parliament, represented the borough in 1624, and acted as a royalist commissioner during the Civil War, incurring a fine of £460 for his delinquency. Oakeley inherited property in Montgomeryshire and Oxfordshire, as well as Shropshire. He first sat for Bishop’s Castle, where he owned several tenements, when its representation was restored in 1659. On the return of the secluded Members they chose him, as one sympathetic to the Restoration but ‘no delinquent’, to replace the republican Edward Waring as sheriff of Shropshire, and he was re-elected for the borough while holding this office. Lord Wharton classed him as a friend, but he did not speak in the Convention and his only committee was on a bill to enable his brother-in-law and himself to sell land. On the same day he obtained leave to go into the country. He was doubtless a court supporter, and was proposed for the order of the Royal Oak with an income of £800 p.a.3

Oakeley retained his seat in 1661, but was again inactive in the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was appointed to 37 committees. He probably introduced the bill for confirming private Acts on 11 July, since he was the first to be named to the committee. He also helped to consider the bills for the regulation of printing in 1662 and the prevention of imprisonment overseas in 1674. He was sent the government whip for the autumn session of 1675, but Sir Richard Wiseman noted that he had failed to appear. The author of A Seasonable Argument noted him as ‘brother-in-law to [Sir Job] Charlton and [Edmund] Waring’, and alleged that he was in receipt of a small pension, which has not been traced. Shaftesbury first marked him ‘worthy’ in 1677, but altered it to ‘vile’. His only speech, in the debate on the Stamford election on 27 Mar., was to correct the statement that he had been serving as sheriff when elected to the present Parliament. On 17 Dec. 1678 he was ordered to be sent for as a defaulter in attendance.4

Oakeley was re-elected to the first Exclusion Parliament, and again marked ‘vile’ by Shaftesbury. He served on no committees, and probably paired in the division on the bill. He was blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’, and replaced in September by the courtier and placeman Richard Scriven. Removed from local office in 1687 he regained his seat in 1690, but was buried at Bishop’s Castle on 31 Jan. 1695. In his will he left £1,000 to each of his four younger sons and £1,200 to each of his daughters. No later member of the family sat in Parliament.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. i. 245; Salop Arch. Soc. Trans. (ser. 2), x. 50; (ser. 4), ii. 196; F. A. Crisp, Frag. Gen. n.s. i. 84; G. Inn Reg. 177.
  • 2. CJ, vii. 864; Bodl. Ch. Salop 146; Herbert Corresp. (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xxi) 197.
  • 3. Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxix), 376; Salop Arch. Soc. Trans. (ser. 4), ii. 193-208; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1119; Grey, iv. 317; CJ, viii. 110; LJ, xi. 202; stat. 12 Car. II, c. 17.
  • 4. Grey, iv. 317.
  • 5. PCC 101 Irby.