GLEANE, Sir Peter, 1st Bt. (1619-96), of Hardwick, Norf.

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



Oct. 1679

Family and Education

bap. 1619, 1st s. of Thomas Gleane of Hardwick by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Thomas Brewse of Topcroft. m. c.1650, Penelope (d. 17 Feb. 1690), da. and coh. of Sir Edward Rodney of Rodney Stoke, Som., 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1661; cr. Bt. 6 Mar. 1666.1

Offices Held

Lt. of ft. (royalist) c.1643, capt. ?by 1645, lt.-col. of ft. regt. of Lord Townshend (Sir Horatio Townshend) 1667.2

Commr. for assessment, Norf. Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90, maj. of militia ft. c. Oct. 1660, col. 1667-?76, lt. vol. horse c. Oct. 1660, j.p. 1661-76, commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants 1675.3


Gleane’s ancestors were eminent merchants in Tudor Norwich. His great-grandfather acquired Hardwick and his grandfather sat for Norwich in 1628-9. His father avoided involvement in the Civil War, but Gleane himself, by his own account, ‘raised and armed two foot companies at his own charge’. In fact he served in the regiment of the Somerset Royalist Sir Thomas Bridges, and he did not compound, presumably because in his father’s lifetime he had no estates worth sequestrating. He remained a royalist suspect under the Protectorate. During the second Dutch war he was created a baronet and as second-in-command to Lord Townshend took the leading part in organizing the defence of Yarmouth. Lord Yarmouth (Robert Paston), the leader of the rival faction in Norfolk politics, admitted Gleane’s record of loyalty, but described him as ‘a melancholy man’, perhaps owing to financial troubles. He was removed from local office with Townshend in 1676.4

An active exclusionist, Gleane helped to bring witnesses to Westminster on behalf of the country candidate, Sir John Hobart, after the county election of February 1679, and he stood jointly with Hobart in the autumn, defeating the court candidates with the support of the dissenters. Yarmouth was told of a speech to the freeholders after the result had been declared in which Gleane promised

that he would faithfully discharge his trust, by truly serving the King, and his mother the Church of England as it is now established, and his country, which speech did so far displease a great many of that party who did choose him, that if he had declared this as freely before the election, I believe he never had been elected by them, for they stick not to say already they fear he will turn pensioner.

A moderately active Member of the second Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed to five committees, including those to inquire into the responsibility for the proclamation against tumultuous petitioning (19 Nov. 1680) and into abuses during the Eye election (8 Dec.), no doubt because Hardwick was in the honour of Eye. Again successful with Hobart in 1681, he was appointed to no committees at Oxford, and he was never recorded as speaking.5

Two contested elections brought Gleane’s fortune to the point of no return. He claimed £200 expenses from Townshend, who instructed his agent to ‘let Peter know that I would not for £500 be beholden to him for one pennyworth of service, or anything else’, and to pay anything Gleane might have been promised before that date, but refused to countenance him any further. Gleane’s melancholy now took a morbid and extravagant turn. In the following year he erected a tomb for himself and his wife in the chancel of Hardwick church. The memorial inscription, slightly tinged with his native dialect either by the mason or the transcriber, proclaims:

He served the crown faithfully above 40 years in military offices. ... In his civil status he bore the character of a justice of the peace within this county above 20 years, and had the honour twice to be chosen one of the representatives of the same to serve in Parliament, in which several services for his King and country he spent his strength and fortunes, and the wounds which that [sic] received were not healed in the year 1683.

Process was begun in 1686 to exact the fee of £1,095 for his baronetcy, but stayed by Lord Treasurer Rochester. He was forced to sell Hardwick to Sir John Holland, and when he died on 7 Feb. 1696 he was apparently not buried in his tomb. His eldest son subsisted for a time on a pension of £20 a year from the county rates, and when this was withdrawn he was flung naked and starving into the Fleet prison. No later member of the family entered Parliament.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. E. Anglian Peds. (Harl. Soc. xcvii), 55.
  • 2. Blomefield, Norf. v. 219; List of Officers Claiming (1663), 16; CSP Dom. 1667, p. 180.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 73; Blomefield, iii. 411.
  • 4. N. and Q. (ser. 2), viii. 187; Blomefield, v. 218-20; Add. 34014, f. 80; CSP Dom. 1667, pp. 224, 226; Eg. 3229, f. 111.
  • 5. Add. 36988, f. 149; Norf. RO, Windham mss, Hobart to Windham, 27 Mar. 1679, 14 Jan. 1682.
  • 6. Add. 41654, ff. 31-32; CSP Dom. 1682, p. 55; Blomefield, v. 219-20; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 795; E. Anglian, iii. 24-25; (n.s.) v. 18-19.