GELL, Sir John, 2nd Bt. (1612-89), of Hopton, Wirksworth, Derbys. and St. Martin's Lane, Westminster.

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



Jan. - 8 Feb. 1689

Family and Education

bap. 7 Oct. 1612, 1st s. of Sir John Gell, 1st Bt., of Hopton by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir Percival Willoughby of Wollaton, Notts. educ. Magdalen Hall, Oxf. 1632. m. by 1648 (with £4,000), Katherine (d.1668), da. of John Packer, clerk of the privy seal, of Shellingford, Berks., 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 26 Oct. 1671.2

Offices Held

J.p. Derbys. 1649-51, Mar.-July 1660, 1675-80, Mar. 1688-d., commr. for assessment 1649-52, 1659, Jan. 1660, 1666-80, scandalous ministers, Derbys. and Notts. 1654, militia, Derbys. 1659, Mar. 1660; receiver, honour of Tutbury 1671-d.; sheriff, Derbys. 1672-3, dep. lt. Feb. 1688-d.; commr. for inquiry into recusancy fines, Notts., Derbys. and Lincs. Mar. 1688.3


Gell’s ancestors had held Hopton as crown tenants since 1422, and were granted arms in 1575. His father incurred much odium as ship-money sheriff, and was created a baronet on the eve of the Civil War. To avert the consequences he took up arms for Parliament and became one of the most active commanders in the Midlands, while Gell’s uncle became the first of the family to enter Parliament, sitting as recruiter for Derby from 1645 until Pride’s Purge. Gell himself took no known part in the Civil War, but represented the county in the Protectorate Parliaments after his father had been driven out of public life for concealing a royalist plot. He signed the Derbyshire address for a free Parliament in 1660, but was unsuccessful at the general election.4

Although regarded as ‘the most rigid Presbyterian in the county’, Gell was restored to the commission of the peace after succeeding to the title. He was defeated for the borough at very moderate expense in the first general election of 1679, and removed from the county bench as an exclusionist. A Whig collaborator, he was recommended as court candidate for the county in 1688, but changed sides in December, sending his son to Nottingham with a gift of £100 for Princess Anne. He was elected to the Convention, but died in London on 8 Feb. 1689 without taking any known part in the proceedings, and was buried at Wirksworth.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: E. R. Edwards


  • 1. Excluded.
  • 2. Jnl. Derbys. Arch. Soc. xl. 103; The Reliquary, xi. 225; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 169.
  • 3. HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, p. 398; Sir Robert Somerville, Duchy of Lancaster Office Holders, 164; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1806.
  • 4. Jnl. Derbys. Arch Soc. xxxiv. 150; xxxv. 108, 110; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 2, pp. 394-5; Stowe 185, f. 145.
  • 5. D. R. Lacey, Dissent and Parl. Pols. 399; The Reliquary, n.s. vi. 112; Vernon (Sudbury) mss 13/43; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 273; HMC Hastings, ii. 187; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 370; Jnl. Derbys. Arch. Soc. xxiv. 149.