BACKWELL, John (1654-1708), of Tyringham, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Feb. 1701

Family and Education

b. 20 Apr. 1654, 1st s. of Edward Backwell by 1st w. educ. 1. Temple 1675, called 1680. m. 1678, Elizabeth, da. and h. of (Sir) William Tyringham of Tyringham, 11s. (at least 4 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1683.1

Offices Held

Jt. comptroller of customs, port of London 1671-d.; member, Hon. Artillery Co. 1675; j.p. Bucks. 1685-d., dep. lt. Feb.-Oct. 1688, commr. for assessment 1689-90.2


When only 17, Backwell was sent to his father’s Amsterdam agents to supervise financial transactions between Charles II and William of Orange. He stood unsuccessfully for Aylesbury in February 1679. The responsibility for his father’s debts, which included over £61,000 due to the Government, imposed a heavy burden upon him, and he may have regarded a parliamentary seat as a refuge from creditors. A moderate Tory, he was returned for Wendover in 1685. An inactive Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed only to the committees for the relief of London widows and orphans and for estimating the yield of a duty on French wines. He consented to all the questions on the proposed repeal of the Penal Laws and Tests, and was appointed a deputy lieutenant. But James’s electoral agents reported that his return for Wendover was unlikely, as he ‘hath lost his interest there’. Despite his recent compliance, he readily accepted the Revolution, taking the oath of allegiance to the new regime. He regained his seat in 1690, and remained a Tory under William III, although he signed the Association in 1696. He was buried at Tyringham on 15 Apr. 1708. His grandson was the next of the family to sit in Parliament.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. St. Mary Woolnoth Reg. 52; Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 376; Burke, Gentry (1952), 2575.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 926; xxii. 206; Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. Raikes, 105.
  • 3. Econ. Hist. Rev. ix. 53; BL, M636/32, Edmund to Sir Ralph Verney, 3 Feb. 1679, Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 749-50; viii. 1964-5; W. Le Hardy, Bucks. Sess. Recs. i. 289.