JENKINSON, Sir Robert, 2nd Bt. (c.1654-1710), of Walcot, Charlbury, Oxon. and Hawkesbury, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. c.1654, o. s. of Sir Robert Jenkinson, 1st Bt.†, of Walcot, by Mary (d. 1691), da. of Sir John Bankes†, c.j.c.p. 1641–4, of Corfe Castle, Dorset. educ. Brasenose, Oxf. matric. 11 Nov. 1671, aged 17; I. Temple 1672. m. 14 Feb. 1684, Sarah (d. 1709), da. of Thomas Tomlins (d. 1677), Grocer, of London and Bromley, Kent, and sis. and h. of Thomas Tomlins (d. 1686), of Bromley, 9s. (1 d.v.p.) 6da. (2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 30 Mar. 1677.1
Freeman, Woodstock 1680, Oxford 1684.2
The Jenkinsons had become gentrified by the second or third decade of the 17th century, having before then operated for several generations in trade. Sir Robert, the second baronet, had been appointed to the usual county offices within a few years of succeeding his father, and his responses to the major political and religious issues of the 1680s were High Tory in nature. He had exhibited an interest in one of Oxfordshire’s parliamentary seats as early as 1681, canvassing in the election of that year alongside Sir William Walter, 2nd Bt. Both men were described on this occasion as being ‘well known at court’. Jenkinson was a close personal friend of the 2nd Earl of Clarendon (Henry Hyde†), and at the election to the Convention it was Clarendon who commended him to the influential Oxfordshire magnate Lord Abingdon. Re-elected after a contest in 1690, Jenkinson was to remain knight of the shire until his death. During his 20 or so years in the House, however, he remained an inconspicuous figure. At the beginning of the new Parliament he was classed as a Tory and probable Court supporter by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†), and in mid-December Carmarthen, anticipating a parliamentary attack on his ministerial position, identified Jenkinson as a likely supporter. A list among Robert Harley’s* papers compiled in April 1691 classified him as a Country supporter. His voting record for 1696 leaves no doubt of a hardening anti-Court stance in the intervening years. He was expected to oppose the council of trade proposal when it was put to a division on 31 Jan., and a little later refrained initially from signing the Association. He voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. in March 1696 and on 25 Nov. voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. The House indulged his applications for leave on 19 Mar. 1695, on 2 Mar. 1697, and on 19 Apr. 1698. It would seem that these permitted absences allowed him to attend his wife during her later pregnancies.3
Returned again in 1698 after a vigorous contest, Jenkinson’s Country proclivities continued to be very much in evidence. He was noted as a Country supporter in a comparative analysis of the House compiled about September, and was forecast before the commencement of the session as likely to oppose the government on the standing army question. However, there are signs of a slight tempering of his attitudes at the beginning of the 1701 Parliament when he was listed among those thought likely to support the Court in agreeing with the committee of supply’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’. He was blacklisted at the time of the 1701 dissolution as having opposed preparations for war with the French, and on 26 Feb. 1702 voted for the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachments of the King’s Whig ministers. On 19 Mar. 1702 he introduced a private bill for an Oxfordshire constituent to alter the terms of a marriage settlement, and in later sessions was involved in the initiation of two other private bills. On 16 Apr. he served as a teller during proceedings on Irish forfeitures. He voted on 13 Feb. 1703 against agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill extending the time allowed for taking the abjuration oath; and Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†) noted him as a likely supporter in mid-March 1704 in connexion with a possible attack on him over his handling of the Scotch Plot. At the end of October that year Jenkinson was confidently forecast as a probable supporter of the Tack, and he voted for the measure on 28 Nov. Accordingly, he was noted as ‘True Church’ in an early analysis of the 1705 Parliament. On 25 Oct. he opposed the Court candidate for the Speakership. A list drawn up in early 1708 classed him as usual as a Tory, but the hand responsible for another set of classifications at about the same time marked him as a ‘reclaimed Tory’. There may be a suggestion here that there had been some moderation of his otherwise strict Tory views, and this may relate to an apparent diminution of his personal prestige with the Oxfordshire electors at the general election in May 1708. He died on 30 Jan. 1710, and was buried at Charlbury. His eldest son succeeded him in the baronetcy and, soon afterwards, as knight of the shire. A man of considerable wealth, Jenkinson left legacies to his surviving children, with the exception of his heir, totalling £15,600. His great-grandson Robert Banks Jenkinson entered Parliament in 1790 and, as 2nd Earl of Liverpool, was prime minister 1812–27.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Andrew A. Hanham
- 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 2, v. 9–11, 63, 79; East Anglian, n.s. xiii. 323; Soc. of Geneal. St. Botolph Aldersgate par. reg.; PCC 70 Smith.
- 2. Woodstock council acts, 1679–99, 6 Sept. 1680; Oxford Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 163.
- 3. Prideaux Letters (Cam. Soc. n.s. xv), 112; Clarendon Corresp. ed. Singer, ii. 185–6, 286, 290, 293, 298–9, 304; Newberry Lib. case mss, Clarendon to Abingdon, 10 Jan. 1688–9; Wood, Life and Times, iii. 327.
- 4. Add. 61353, f. 36; PCC 70 Smith.