COLCHESTER, Sir Duncombe (1630-94), of Westbury-on-Severn and the Wilderness, Abbinghall, Glos.

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



Family and Education

b. 26 Sept. 1630, 1st s. of Richard Colchester of Westbury by 1st w. Jane, da. of John Duncombe of Deddington, Oxon. educ. Northampton (Mr Denton) 1638-40; Charterhouse 1640-1; Camberwell (Mr Caradine) 1641. m. 19 July 1655 (with £2,500), Elizabeth, da. of John Maynard I of Gunnersbury, Mdx., 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1643; kntd. 9 Nov. 1674.1

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Glos. and Gloucester Mar. 1660, capt. of militia horse, Glos. Apr. 1660; commr. for assessment, Glos. 1661-80, Gloucester 1677-80, Glos. and Gloucester 1689-90; j.p. Glos. Sept. 1660-82, 1689-d., dep. lt. 1670-81, 1689-d; verderer, Forest of Dean 1668-d., commr. for inquiry 1673, 1679, 1683, 1692; alderman, Gloucester 1672-d., mayor 1674-5; commr. for recusants, Glos. 1675.2

Capt. of ft. regt. of Marquess of Worcester (Henry Somerset) 1667.


Colchester came of a minor gentry family of Worcestershire origin. His grandfather acquired lands in Gloucestershire, and his father, a cursitor and later a six clerk in Chancery, who had his arms confirmed in 1636, added to the estate, buying the manor of Westbury in 1641 with the profits derived from his offices and judicious money-lending. He was apparently in arms for the King at the siege of Gloucester and a payment of £600 to the county committee failed to save the estate from sequestration. Colchester himself was accused of fighting for the King in the second Civil War but the charge may have been merely due to the malice of a litigious relative, and no composition was exacted. At the Restoration Colchester signed the address of welcome to the King and was nominated a knight of the Royal Oak, his estate being valued at £800 p.a. He was one of the four signatories to the proposals for redefining the rights of the crown and the commoners in the Forest of Dean, which were largely embodied in the Act of 1668. Appointed alderman of Gloucester under the new charter of 1672, he was knighted during his mayoralty two years later.3

In 1681 Colchester was returned for Bere Alston, his father-in-law’s borough, but left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. Nevertheless in June ‘an immediate order’ was received from the King for the dismissal of Colchester from the lieutenancy. There is no evidence that he stood in 1685, but in 1688 he put himself forward for the county. As early as February the Duke of Beaufort reported ‘that the general vogue was for Sir John Guise and Sir Duncombe Colchester’, and at the county court in September Colchester was ‘amongst the freeholders in person’. The results of his efforts are not known, but in 1689 he was returned for Gloucester unopposed. He was a moderately active member of the Convention, being named to 12 committees, of which the most important was to report on the state of the revenue. On 21 Nov. he acted as teller for the motion adjourning all committees in order to expedite supply. When (Sir) William Leveson Gower declared that he was ‘for taking out all the deer in this King’s park that were in King James’s park’, such as Commissary Shales, Colchester added: ‘If you turn out the deer, it will do you no good unless you turn out the keeper too’, whereupon some Members asked, ‘Does he mean the King?’. He was named to the committee on the bill to restore corporations, and supported the disabling clause.4

Colchester probably did not stand again. He died on 25 May 1694 and was buried at Westbury. His eldest son represented Gloucestershire in the Whig interest in 1701 and 1702.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. Glos. RO, D36/A1, Colchester jnl. 1, ff. 9, 14, 34, 41, 45; D36/F/A3-4; Kensington Par. Reg. 75; Vis. Glos. ed. Fenwick and Metcalfe, 45.
  • 2. Parl. Intell. 9 Apr. 1660; Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 196, 470; vii. 962; ix. 1156; C.E. Hart, Royal Forest, 169, 173, 180, 181, 187; Gloucester Guildhall, common council bks. 1656-86, ff. 498, 621; 1690-1700, f. 99.
  • 3. G. E. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 295-300; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 648, 727, 837-840; Glos. N. and Q. i. 165-6; Hart, 166.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 319; Bath mss, Thynne pprs. 15, f. 110; 24, f. 41; Grey, ix. 464.
  • 5. Rudder, Glos, 794.