PULTENEY, Sir John (1585-1617), of Misterton, Leics.

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




Family and Education

b. 4 Oct. 1585,1 1st s. of Gabriel Pulteney of Misterton, and Dorothy, da. and coh. of Thomas Spencer of Everdon, Northants., wid. of George Cope†, of Canons Ashby, Northants.2 educ. Lincoln Coll, Oxf. 1601.3 m. 1602,4 Margery (d. 9 Mar. 1613),5 da. of Sir John Fortescue*, 1s. 4da.6 suc. fa. 31 Aug. 1599.7 kntd. 11 May 1603.8 d. 3 May 1617.9 sig. Jo[hn] Pulteney

Offices Held


The Pulteneys of Leicestershire could trace their origins back to the early fourteenth century.10 Aged only 14 when his father died in 1599, Pulteney became a royal ward in the household of Sir John Fortescue*, then chancellor of the Exchequer, who paid £280 for his wardship.11 Pulteney’s inheritance was substantial, comprising lands scattered across Leicestershire, Hertfordshire, Warwickshire and Middlesex, but although he attained his majority in 1606 he did not fully gain possession of his estates until 1611.12 After briefly attending Lincoln College, Oxford, where he studied the lute but did not take a degree, Pulteney became, at the age of 16, engaged to Fortescue’s daughter, Margery. It was undoubtedly through the patronage of Fortescue, by then chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, that Pulteney obtained his seat at Wigan in the 1601 Parliament while still a minor. He was knighted in May 1603.

Pulteney was still under-age when he stood for election again in 1604. This time he approached the borough of Leicester, where the Duchy usually controlled at least one seat. Pulteney’s candidacy was supported by the 4th earl of Huntingdon (Sir George Hastings*), who advised the mayor to ‘be regardful for many respects to yield to that which [Mr. Chancellor] desireth’. However, the Leicester corporation, which was then in dispute with the Duchy over the appointment of its steward, defied the persuasions of both its patrons at its election, held on 1 March.13 By the time Fortescue learned of Pulteney’s rejection, it was too late for him to notify the borough of Wigan, which held its election on 2 Mar.,14 that he now wished to substitute Pulteney’s name for that of William Bromley, whom he had earlier nominated for one of the Wigan seats. Nevertheless, he evidently decided to alter the indenture himself when it arrived in his London office before passing it on to Chancery. This indenture is now illegible,15 but it is clear from a list of Members drawn up by Arthur Hall† in April 1604 protesting against ‘unlawful’ electoral procedures that it was Pulteney, rather than Bromley, who sat for Wigan.16 Pulteney left no trace upon the records of the first Jacobean Parliament, but he may have attended private bill committees concerning the possessions of Ferdinando, late earl of Derby (3 June 1607), Sir John Byron (21 May 1610), the Isle of Man (21 May 1610), and Richard Orrell (20 June 1610), to which all of Lancashire’s Members were appointed.17

Pulteney’s father had been suspected of adhering to Catholicism, and if Pulteney was similarly inclined this perhaps explains why he never held local office in any of the counties in which he owned lands.18 A possible sufferer from gout, he died intestate on 3 May 1617.19 Letters of administration were filed by his mother-in-law, Lady Alice Fortescue, who was awarded the wardship of Pulteney’s seven-year old son, John, and four daughters.20 Her accounts show a clear annual profit from his estates of over £1,100 between 1617-31.21 John died young and without issue in 1637, leaving the estates to be dispersed among his sisters.22

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. C142/259/37.
  • 2. Nichols, Leics. iv. 310-19.
  • 3. SP46/60, f. 118Cv.
  • 4. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, i. 153.
  • 5. C142/387/119.
  • 6. Nichols, iv. 319.
  • 7. C142/259/37.
  • 8. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 105.
  • 9. C142/363/189.
  • 10. VCH Leics. v. 71, 215.
  • 11. SP12/243/29; CSP Dom. 1601-3, pp. 307, 312; WARD 9/160, ff. 238v-9; C142/259/37; VCH Leics. iv. 422; Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc. xvi. 51.
  • 12. C66/1940/9; E44/244, 247; Add. 36906, f. 47v.
  • 13. J. Thompson, Hist. Leicester, 326-7.
  • 14. Wigan Archive Service, D/DX Ap.G.3.
  • 15. C219/35/1/58.
  • 16. SP14/7/82.II.
  • 17. CJ, i. 378a, 430a, 441a, 441b.
  • 18. CSP Dom. Addenda 1580-1625, p. 34.
  • 19. Cal. Sherborne Muns. 116; C142/363/189.
  • 20. PROB 6/9, f. 119; WARD 9/162, f. 245v; E44/248.
  • 21. Add. 36906, ff. 42-9.
  • 22. Leics. Wills and Admons. 1495-1649 (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxvii), 139.