EYRE, Anthony (1634-71), of Rampton, Notts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. 17 Sept. 1634, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Sir Gervase Eyre of Laughton en le Morthen, Yorks. by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of John Babington of Rampton. educ. I. Temple 1654. m. (1) 9 June 1657, Lucy (d. June 1659), da. of Sir John Digby of Mansfield Woodhouse, Notts. 1da.; (2) Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Pakington, 2nd Bt., of Westwood, Worcs. 3s. (2 d.v.p.), 4da. suc. fa. 1644.1
Commr. for militia, Notts. Mar. 1660; j.p. Notts. Mar. 1660-d., liberties of Southwell and Scroby 1674; dep. lt. Notts. c. Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Notts. Aug. 1660-d., Nottingham and Newark 1663-4, sewers, Hatfield chase Aug. 1660, loyal and indigent officers, Notts. 1662, capt. of militia by 1662-d., jt. farmer of excise 1665-d.2
Cornet, indep. tp. of Sir George Savile 1666-7.
Eyre’s ancestors were landowners in the Peak District in the reign of Henry III. One of them sat for Derbyshire in 1459, but they were not a regular parliamentary family. Eyre’s father bought out the other coheiress of Rampton in 1624 and took up residence there; a royalist cavalry officer and commissioner of array, he died in the Newark garrison. The Yorkshire estate was sequestrated at the end of the war until Eyre’s guardian John Newton compounded for it in 1652 for the moderate fine of £580 in order to terminate expensive legal proceedings. Eyre himself has to be distinguished from his uncle, a Cavalier colonel, who served in the Duke of York’s household after the Restoration. He was accused of complicity in Booth’s rising in 1659. In 1661 he sensationally defeated the opposition candidate William Pierrepont; but he was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, with only 32 committees in 14 sessions, none of them of prime political importance. He took part in considering ways to relieve loyalist sufferers in 1661, and in 1663 he was appointed to the committee for the estate bill promoted by his father-in-law Pakington. From 1665 he supplemented his rent-roll with the income from the county excise, which he farmed jointly with the father of Sir William Stanhope for £3,100 p.a., a grant which he probably owed to Pakington’s brother-in-law William Coventry. His attendance at the House was so irregular that he narrowly escaped a fine for default in February 1688; but his name appears on the list drawn up by Sir Thomas Osborne of Members to be engaged for the Court by the Duke of York. Eyre’s own tastes and character were commonplace. He was much away from home, usually on the plea of seeing a man about a horse, and he made little or no profit out of the excise farm, which he left to subordinates. But his second wife was a highly competent business woman. She took over a factory in Gainsborough and began the manufacture of sailcloth for the Admiralty. Her first samples were embarrassingly well received, and Eyre had to explain: ‘what I have hitherto made has only been an essay whether our country people could be brought to understand the manufacture’. In December 1670 he was appointed to the committee for the private bill to provide portions for the daughters of (Sir) Clifford Clifton. His new industrial interests secured his addition to the committee considering petitions for the employment of the poor in the following February. But his health was breaking up, with frequent recurrences of fever; on 1 Mar. he obtained leave to go into the country, and he was buried at Rampton on 11 Nov. He was succeeded by his son Gervase, who sat for the county from 1698 to 1700 as a Tory.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: E. R. Edwards
- 1. J. Hunter, South Yorks. i. 288-9; Cal. Comm. Comp. 2744.
- 2. C181/7/21; Kingdom’s Intell. 1 Sept. 1662; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 641.
- 3. A. C. Wood, Notts. in the Civil War, 122, 134; Cal. Comm. Comp. 769; Hutchinson Mems. 96; CSP Dom. 1670, pp. 484, 527; Spencer mss, Elizabeth Eyre to Sir William Coventry, 25 Oct. 1670.