NAPPER (NAPIER), Sir Nathaniel (c.1588-1635), of More Crichel, Dorset

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



26 May 1628

Family and Education

b. c.1588, o.s. of Sir Robert Napper* and his 2nd w. Magdalen, da. of William Denton of Tonbridge, Kent.1 educ. Exeter Coll. Oxf. 1602, aged 14; M. Temple 1604.2 m. 26 Dec. 1605, Elizabeth (d. 7 Oct. 1624), da. and h. of John Gerard of Longhyde, Steeple, Dorset, 6s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da. suc. fa. 1615;3 kntd. 30 Nov. 1618.4 d. 6 Sept. 1635.5

Offices Held

J.p. Dorset 1617-d.,6 sheriff 1620-1,7 commr. piracy 1622,8 subsidy 1624;9 freeman, Poole, Dorset 1625;10 dep. lt. Dorset 1625-d.,11 collector, Privy Seal loan 1625,12 commr. oyer and terminer 1626.13


The east Dorset manor of More Crichel was settled on Napper when he married, and, ‘allured by the pleasantness of the situation’, he built a new house there.14 He first stood for a Dorset county seat in 1624, but lost out to (Sir) George Horsey* by 70 votes. However, in the following year he not only replaced the aged Sir George Trenchard† as a deputy lieutenant but also became a knight of the shire.15 During the 1625 Parliament Napper attracted appointments to just two legislative committees, concerned with restricting benefit of clergy and expediting sheriffs’ accounts, subjects also associated with his father’s career in the Commons (25 June, 9 July).16

Napper was on close terms with the 2nd earl of Suffolk (Theophilus Howard, Lord Howard de Walden*), who had him excused from paying a Privy Seal loan in January 1626, confirmed him as a deputy lieutenant in the same year, and later transferred to him a mine in Shropshire.17 Through his wife, Napper owned property in Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck, and in 1626 he was returned for Wareham with his kinsman Edward Lawrence. He was appointed to consider three bills, one for providing work and religious instruction in prisons, another concerning a Derbyshire estate, and the last to restore Carew Ralegh† in blood, a measure which threatened the title of the earl of Bristol (Sir John Digby*) to his Dorset lands (1, 8 and 24 March).18 In 1628 Napper stood aside at Wareham in favour of his son Gerard*. He presumably anticipated that he would secure a seat at Milborne Port, where he owned property, once that Somerset borough was enfranchised. He was duly elected there, but was named only to two estate bill committees (13 June 1628 and 20 Feb. 1629).19

Napper died on 6 Sept.1635 and was buried at Minterne Magna. Unlike his father, he prefaced his will with distinctively Protestant sentiments, beseeching God to receive his soul, and ‘humbly desiring him for the merits of Christ Jesus, and not for any merits of mine, to afford it a room in heavenly Jerusalem with his saints’. He provided over £4,000 in portions for his three unmarried daughters, and gave his second son Robert the means to buy out his recusant cousins at Puncknowle, Dorset, and found another branch of the family.20

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 125.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. Hutchins, i. 611; iii. 125; iv. 483.
  • 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 170.
  • 5. Hutchins, iv. 483.
  • 6. C231/4, f. 43; C66/2654.
  • 7. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 39.
  • 8. C181/3, f. 72v.
  • 9. C212/22/23.
  • 10. Hutchins, i. 32.
  • 11. William Whiteway of Dorchester (Dorset Rec. Soc. xii), 72.
  • 12. E112/172/14.
  • 13. C181/3, f. 212.
  • 14. PROB 11/126, f. 331; T. Gerard, Survey of Dorset, 116-17.
  • 15. William Whiteway of Dorchester, 58, 72.
  • 16. Procs. 1625, pp. 246, 358.
  • 17. APC, 1625-6, p. 305; William Whiteway of Dorchester, 83; BL, ms Loan 16/2, f. 50.
  • 18. Hutchins, i. 599; Procs. 1626, ii. 158, 226, 356.
  • 19. PROB 11/170, f. 123; CD 1628, iv. 292; CJ, i. 931b.
  • 20. Hutchins, iv. 483; PROB 11/170, f. 123.