PLUMPTRE, John (1679-1751), of Plumptre House, Nottingham.
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Family and Education
b. 9 Feb. 1679, 1st s. of Henry Plumptre of Nottingham by his 2nd w. Joyce, da. of Henry Sacheverell of Barton, Notts., wid. of John Milward of Snitterton, Derbys. educ. M. Temple 1696; Queens’, Camb. 1697. m. bef. 1708, Annabella, da. of Sir Francis Molyneux, 4th Bt., M.P., of Teversall, Notts., by Diana, sis. of Scrope, 1st Visct. Howe, M.P., 7s. 2da. suc. fa. 1693.
Commr. for stating army debts 1715-20; treasurer of the Ordnance 1720-d.
John Plumptre belonged to an ancient Nottingham family, who had sat for the town under Richard II and Elizabeth, still lived in it at Plumptre House, but were otherwise indistinguishable from the neighbouring county families with which they inter-married. Returned as a Whig for Nottingham in 1706, he lost his seat in 1713, recovering it in 1715 with the support of the future Duke of Newcastle,1 thus beginning a connexion which lasted to the end of his life. Though one of Newcastle’s first and staunchest adherents in the county, not above accepting and asking favours from him—as he said in applying for a living for a son, ‘a man with nine children must sometimes risk a small indecency’2—he was in no sense a dependant. He owed his seat primarily to his own local influence.
With a break from 1727 to 1734, when Newcastle arranged for him to take a temporary seat at Bishop’s Castle3to facilitate a compromise at Nottingham, Plumptre continued to represent the borough till 1747, consistently supporting the Government, except in 1717, when he voted against them on Lord Cadogan, and in 1733 on the excise bill, which he opposed. For over 30 years he held a place in the Ordnance with a salary of £500 p.a., which according to Henry Pelham he might have exchanged
for almost any other, except the three or four first employments, but he chose rather to stay where he knew he was pleased than to run the risk of meeting with what he, upon trial, might not like so well.4
He spoke on 17 Mar. 1725 for a motion to prevent the universities from purchasing advowsons, and on 4 Feb. 1730, objecting to a motion for a vote of thanks for a sermon to the House on the anniversary of the execution of Charles I as
an ambiguous, dubious discourse, that might be taken by two handles, ... no ways consonant to the dignity of the day, and not very respectful to the audience he preached before, so a division and carried against it by 93 to 48. The text was ‘take the wicked from before the King and his throne shall be established in righteousness’.5
Plumptre lost his Nottingham seat at a three cornered contest in 1747 between the previous Tory Member, himself, and a rival Whig candidate, the 3rd Lord Howe, his relation by marriage, in which he found that ‘on a poll I should make a figure merely despicable’. He therefore withdrew, notifying his withdrawal to the Tory candidate, but not to Lord Howe’s people, ‘the ungentlemanlike and the ungrateful behaviour of that family towards me not entitling them from the very beginning of this affair to any such civility from me to them’.6 Accommodated, no doubt through Newcastle’s good offices, with a seat at St. Ives, he was chairman of a committee on fees in 1751,7 dying that year, 29 Sept.
Ref Volumes: 1715-1754
Author: Romney R. Sedgwick
- 1. Add. 32686, f. 25; 33060, ff. 13, 16, 18.
- 2. To Newcastle, 29 Sept. 1740, Add. 32695, f. 158.
- 3. Cholmondeley (Houghton) mss 42/13; Duke of Chandos to Capt. Oakely, 13 Aug. 1727, Chandos letter bks.
- 4. C. Nugent, Mem. of Robert, Earl Nugent , 254.
- 5. Knatchbull Diary.
- 6. To Newcastle, 15 and 27 June 1747, Add. 32711, ff. 395-6, 576.
- 7. CJ , xxvi. 270, 290.