OKEDEN, William (c.1662-1718), of Little Crichel, Dorset.

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



1715 - 26 Sept. 1718

Family and Education

b. c.1662, 1st s. of William Okeden of Little Crichel by Mary, da. of John Wyndham of Orchard Wyndham, Som. educ. Trinity, Oxf. matric. 4 July 1677, aged 15. m. Magdalen, da. and coh. of Bartholomew Lane of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, 1da.; 2s. illegit. suc. fa. 1694.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Dorset 1689-90, j.p. ?1694-6, 1700-d., dep. lt. ?1694-6, 1700-1, sheriff Jan.-Nov. 1699.2


Although the Okedens first acquired land in Hampshire, one of the family sat for Dorchester in 1455, after which the name drops out of the Parliamentary records for over two centuries. In 1629 Okeden’s grandfather inherited the Little Crichel estate, with property in Corfe Castle and elsewhere in Purbeck. Okeden’s great-uncle was mayor of Corfe Castle in 1657.3

Okeden’s grandfather was sequestrated in 1645, when his property was valued at £250 p.a. His father came under suspicion with Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper at the time of Booth’s rising. He seems to have been active in favour of Peregrine Osborne, or more probably against Sir Nathaniel Napier, at the Corfe Castle election of February 1679. Okeden married the daughter of a Huguenot refugee who was steward to (Sir) John Morton, owned land in Wiltshire, and kept his carriage.4

Okeden was successful at Corfe Castle as a Tory at the general election of 1689. He voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, but his only committee in the Convention was for a local estate bill. He strongly opposed the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He refused the Association in 1696 and was removed from local office. His conversion to Whiggism by 1715 may be partly the consequence of his embittered quarrel with his Tory neighbours, the Napiers, which he reckoned had cost him £800:

Contrary to the bent of my own natural inclinations I have been obliged (the better to struggle with the said Sir Nathaniel Napier and to resist his encroachments) to set up a kiln for the burning of lime upon some part of my land which lies in the front and full view of the mansion house of the said Sir Nathaniel Napier in More Crichel aforesaid, which kiln may sometimes prove offensive to the said Sir Nathaniel Napier.

He died on 26 Sept. 1718, the last of the family to sit in Parliament. He seems to have been prosperous enough to leave £5,000 portions to his daughter and younger illegitimate son, and mean enough to leave his mistress only £50 a year and the care of his lime-kiln ‘to be kept up in full use and employment and as much lime made and burnt there as possibly can be’.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 128, 131, 469; iv. 48.
  • 2. Dorset RO, Q. Sess. minute-bk.; Hutchins, i. 480.
  • 3. VCH Hants iv. 563; C. A. F. Meekings, Dorset Hearth-Tax, 29, 71, 74.
  • 4. Add. 8845, p. 38; Cal. Cl. SP. iv. 307, 315; PRO 30/24, bdle. 2. n. 70; CJ, ix. 594; Hutchins, iii. 220; Dorset RO, KF1; PCC 173 King.
  • 5. R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 3, p. 127; PCC 94 Browning; Hist. Reg. Chron. 34.