WALTER, William (c.1604-1675), of Sarsden, Oxon. and the Inner Temple, London

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



13 May 1628

Family and Education

b. c.1604, 1st s. of Sir John Walter* of Sarsden, and 1st w. Margaret, da. of William Offley, Merchant Taylor, of London.1 educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1621, aged 17, DCL 1642; I. Temple 1621, called 1630.2 m. lic. 20 Dec. 1632,3 Elizabeth (bur. 12 May 1691),4 da. of Thomas Lucas of St. John’s Abbey, Colchester, Essex, 2s., 2 da, 2 other ch.5 suc. fa. 1630;6 cr. bt. 16 Aug. 1641. d. 23 Mar. 1675. 7

Offices Held

Gent. of the privy chamber extraordinary 1633-46.8

J.p. Oxon. 1636-Apr. 1642, June 1642-5;9 sheriff, Oxon. 1636-7;10 commr. oyer and terminer, Oxf. circ. 1639-42, 1660-d.,11 subsidy, Oxon. 1641-2,12 array 1642,13 rebels’ estates 1643, contributions 1643, impressment 1643, accts. 1644;14 dep. lt. Oxon. 1660-d.;15 commr. assessment, Oxon. 1660-d., loyal and indigent officers 1662.16


Walter’s father, a successful Inner Temple barrister who became Charles I’s chief baron of the Exchequer, purchased Sarsden in Oxfordshire shortly after this Member’s birth. Although Walter followed his father to the bar, he was never appointed to higher legal office. His election to Parliament in 1628 was probably the product of an alliance between his first cousin, Edward Littleton II*, and James Tomkins*, for when the franchise was restored to Weobley in 1628, Walter shared its representation in the third Caroline Parliament with Tomkins’ son William. He left no trace on the parliamentary records.

In 1630 Walter succeeded to an estate generally estimated at £1,200 p.a. or more, but was reduced to temporarily embarrassed circumstances by his father’s charitable bequests, the generous portions left to his brother and sisters, and expenditure of £1,000 in litigation.17 He secured protection from his creditors by obtaining an honorary post at Court, and was obliged to sell off various outlying estates in Radnorshire.18 The worst of his difficulties were apparently over by 1636, when he served as sheriff. His duties included collecting Ship Money, and led him to complain of the perversity of the constables of Banbury and Burford.19

On the outbreak of civil war Walter was one of the first in Oxfordshire to take up arms for the king. Together with Richard Spencer*, Sir Gervase Clifton*, and Thomas Fanshawe II*, he advanced £27,400 to the royalist coffers.20 By May 1645, however, ‘utterly misliking His Majesty’s proceedings’, he was ready to change sides, but he remained in the Oxford garrison for another 11 months as a spy.21 By his own admission, his annual income was now not far short of £1,000, and with a fine of £1,607 he escaped comparatively lightly.22 He resumed his former residence at the Inner Temple, acting as steward of the Christmas feast in 1650.23 Having contributed substantially to the Commonwealth Exchequer by delivering a schedule of royalist leaders, who could thus be fined as delinquents, he applied for exemption from decimation in 1656.24 He was nevertheless imprisoned at Oxford in June 1658.25

After the Restoration Walter’s brother became groom of the Bedchamber and lieutenant of the Ordnance. Walter himself stood for Oxfordshire at a by-election in 1663, presumably in the hope of drawing attention to his financial claims. However, he was defeated by William Knollys†. In the following year the king, overriding the protests of Lord Treasurer Southampton, awarded Walter £6,500.26 Walter died intestate on 23 Mar. 1675 and was buried at Sarsden.27 His grandson represented Oxford in six Parliaments between 1706 and 1722.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. H.T. Weyman, ‘The Walters at Ludlow’, Trans. Salop Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. (ser. 4), iii. 265-8; The Gen. n.s. xx. 53.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; I. Temple Admiss.; CITR, ii. 186-7.
  • 3. London Mar. Lics. ed. J. Foster, 1407.
  • 4. Oxon. RO, PAR230/1, transcripts of burials, p. 6.
  • 5. Oxon. RO, Fi.I/1; PAR230/1, transcript of baptisms, p. 6; CCC, 1009.
  • 6. C142/500/46.
  • 7. CB, ii. 142.
  • 8. LC3/1, unfol.; LC5/132, p. 322.
  • 9. BRL, 603503/376; C231/5, pp. 196, 517, 528.
  • 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 110.
  • 11. C181/5, ff. 140v, 219; 181/7, pp. 11, 637.
  • 12. SR, v. 65, 87, 107, 141.
  • 13. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 14. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 53, 67, 97, 219.
  • 15. SP29/11, f. 223; SP29/42, f. 118v; SP44/35A, f. 3v.
  • 16. SR, v. 217, 383, 767.
  • 17. PROB 11/158, f. 220.
  • 18. C142/500/46; Weyman, 267-8.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1637, p. 412.
  • 20. SP29/52/121; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 127.
  • 21. SP23/183, ff. 1-3, 9, 15, 22, 29, 39.
  • 22. CCC, 1009.
  • 23. CITR, ii. 263, 294.
  • 24. CCAM, 997, 998, 1002.
  • 25. CSP Dom. 1658-9, p. 69.
  • 26. CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 600.
  • 27. Oxon. RO, PAR230/1, transcript of burials, p. 5.