GLASCOCK, William (1617-88), of Kings Langley, Herts.

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. 30 May 1617, o.s. of William Glascock of Hoo Place, Aldham, Essex by Elizabeth, da. of John Burton of Eastbourne, Suss. educ. St. Catherine’s, Camb. 1633, LL.B (Trinity Hall) 1640; Leyden 1639. m. 17 June 1656, Sarah, da. and coh. of James Mayne of Bovingdon, Herts., 1da. suc. fa. 1635; kntd. by 22 Nov. 1676.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Mdx. Aug. 1660-79, Westminster 1661-79, Herts. 1664-80, highways and sewers, London and Westminster 1662; j.p. Herts. 1685-?d.2

Commr. for plantations Dec. 1660-70, gent. of the privy chamber 1670-85; judge of Admiralty [I] 1670-5; commr. for excise appeals [I] 1671-5; master of requests 1675-85.3


Glascock came from a cadet branch of an extensive family which had acquired much property in Essex in Tudor times, received a grant of arms in 1571, and provided an MP for Sudbury in 1601. He must be distinguished from two of his cousins, Sir William Glascock of Wormley, a master in Chancery who was knighted in 1661, and Sir William Glascock of Farnham, who received the same honour as sheriff of Essex in 1682 but died in office. Glascock was described by (Sir) John Bramston as ‘a person of great integrity, quick of apprehension, sagacious, and of a clear and deep judgment’. From his father he inherited ‘a pretty seat’ in Essex and an income of under £200 p.a. He apparently passed the Civil War studying the civil law at Leyden. He had returned to England by 1656 when he abducted and married a 12-year-old heiress who brought him a Hertfordshire estate worth £125 p.a. He took her to France, where, according to his friend Bramston

she was perverted from the religion she had been bred in and turned Papist, and never returned to our church, though her husband lived and died in the communion of the Church of England.4

At the Restoration Glascock was made a commissioner for foreign plantations, subsequently holding a number of other posts, none of which was particularly important or well paid. He owed his election to the Cavalier Parliament to his friend and kinsman, the 2nd Earl of Portland, who as governor of the Isle of Wight brought him in for Newport. Although quite active in the opening session, serving on the committees for the corporation, uniformity and regicides bills, he was appointed to only 52 committees in all. In 1663 he was named to the committees on the bills to settle an annuity on the 3rd Earl of Portland, and to prevent abuses in the sale of offices and titles, and added to that to provide remedies against meetings of dissenters. In the Oxford session he was added to the committee for attainting English officers in the Dutch service. In 1669 Sir Thomas Osborne included him among the Members to be engaged for the Court by the Duke of York and his friends, and in 1671 he was appointed to the Irish board of excise appeals with a salary of £200 p.a. ‘His employment in the Parliament not suffering him to attend there’, he was dismissed in 1675, but compensated with one of the masterships of request. He was noted as an official Member, included on the working lists, and knighted. But his new salary was only £100 p.a. and he petitioned for a supplementary pension of £66 on the Irish establishment. Osborne, now Lord Treasurer Danby, disliked the continuance of unnecessary salaries, but admitted to the King that ‘your bounty cannot be better placed than on the petitioner’. (Sir) Stephen Fox later confessed that Glascock received several sums from the secret service accounts, though some of this, like his excise pension, may have been for the benefit of Thomas Prise. In 1676 Sir Richard Wiseman (with whom he had studied at Cambridge) recommended that he should ‘watch’ (Sir) Richard Powle, whose continued support for the Government was doubtful. Shaftesbury marked him ‘doubly vile’ in 1677, and he was included in the government list of court supporters in the following year. The management of the Isle of Wight boroughs was now in different hands, and although Glascock was not stigmatized by the Opposition as one of the ‘unanimous club’, he is unlikely to have stood again.5

On the accession of James II Glascock and the other masters of requests were dismissed from office, though his salary was continued. But ‘he could never keep his lady in his life to any rules or bounds of expense’, and was compelled to sell much of her property. He died on 14 July 1688 and was buried under a marble slab at Kings Langley, his widow spending ‘in or about his funeral much beyond what she ought to have done, his estate considered’. Bramston, one of his trustees, found that ‘his debts proved very much greater than he did know or think of, I believe, so that the trust could not possibly be performed as he appointed’.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Wards 7/87/243; Vis. Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 406; Chauncy, Herts. ii. 470; St. Dionis Backchurch (Harl. Soc. Reg. iii), 32; PCC 106 Exton; CSP Dom. 1675-7, p. 429.
  • 2. Tudor and Stuart Proclamations ed. Steele, i. 405.
  • 3. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 187; CSP Dom. 1671, p. 231; 1673-5, p. 593; Ind. 24557; Chauncy, ii. 470; Essex Letters (1770), 119-20.
  • 4. Vis. Essex. (Harl. Soc. xiv), 576; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 101; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 313-14; CSP Dom. 1655-6, p. 152; HMC Verulam, 103; Herts. Recs. i. 296.
  • 5. Bramston, 313; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 683; v. 383; CSP Ire. 1669-70, p. 84; HMC Ormonde, n.s. iv. 518.
  • 6. Bramston, 313-14; Secret Service Moneys (Cam. Soc. lii), 145, 199; VCH Herts. ii. 184, 243; Chauncy, ii. 470.