CHESTER, Sir Anthony, 3rd Bt. (c.1633-98), of Chicheley, Bucks. and Lidlington Park, Beds.
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Family and Education
b. c.1633, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Anthony Chester, 2nd Bt., of Chicheley by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Peyton† of Doddington, Cambs. m. 21 May 1657, Mary (d. 21 May 1710), da. of Samuel Cranmer, Brewer, of London and Astwoodbury, Bucks., 7s. (2 d.v.p.) 9da. suc. fa. Feb. 1652, uncle Sir Henry Chester in Beds. estate 1666.1
J.p. Bucks. July 1660-Feb. 1688, Sept. 1688-?d., Beds. 1676-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-93, Bedford Nov. 1688; commr. for oyer and terminer, Norfolk circuit July 1660; dep. lt. Bucks. c. Aug. 1660-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-?d., Beds. 1672-Feb. 1688; commr. for assessment, Bucks. Aug. 1660-80, Beds. 1673-80, Bucks. and Beds. 1689-90, corporations, Bucks. 1662-3, sheriff 1668-9; commr. for recusants, Beds. 1675; freeman, Bedford 1677.2
Chester was descended from a London merchant family which was granted arms in 1467. Chicheley and Lidlington were acquired in Elizabethan times. Chester’s father succeeded to the baronetcy and to a reduced estate in 1635, and became a zealous Royalist in the Civil War. He distinguished himself at Naseby, after which he went into exile. The estate was made over to Chester’s uncle, who sat for the borough under the Protectorate, to save it from sequestration. Chester himself made a fortunate marriage, and reunited the family estates on his uncle’s death in 1666.3
Chester was considered as a possible candidate for Buckinghamshire in 1679, but did not stand, though he supported the Tory candidate in 1685. A henchman and neighbour of the Bruces, he was elected to James II’s Parliament for Bedford. A moderately active Member he served on four committees, of no political significance, including those to prevent the export of wool and to improve tillage. Though a strong Tory, his Anglicanism was stronger, for he refused two of the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, declaring:
He has not at present any thoughts of standing for knight or burgess in Parliament, but if his country thinks fit to choose him, that then he cannot give his consent to take away such laws as do support the Church of England.
Nor could he support any candidate willing to do so. He was removed from local office, but his reappointment as deputy lieutenant in 1689 indicates support for the Revolution. He contested Bedford unsuccessfully in 1690. Chester died on 15 Feb. 1698, aged 65, and was buried at Chicheley. His grandson, the sixth baronet, represented the county from 1741 to 1747.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 25-27; R.E.C. Waters, Chesters of Chicheley, i. 349-59.
- 2. Huntington Lib. Stowe mss, 452/2; Beds. RO, Ch. 16/6.
- 3. Waters, i. 9, 114-15, 161-5, 343-4; VCH Bucks. iv. 312-13; VCH Beds. iii. 306, 434.
- 4. Bodl. Carte 79, f. 185; Bucks. Recs. xix. 467; Waters, i. 346.