GORING, Henry II (1646-85), of Wappingthorn, Steyning, Suss.

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



11 Feb. 1673
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679
12 Mar. - 10 June 1685

Family and Education

bap. 6 Apr. 1646, 2nd s. of Henry Goring I. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1662. m. (1) 17 Oct. 1667, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Anthony Morewood of Alfreton, Derbys., 2s. (1 d.v.p.); (2) 2 Feb. 1676, Mary, da. and coh. of Sir John Covert, 1st Bt., of Slaugham, Suss., 3s. (1 d.v.p.).1

Offices Held

Jt. steward, honour of Peveril 1664-72; commr. for assessment, Suss. 1673-9, j.p. 1674-d., sheriff 1681-2, dep. lt. 1685; common councilman, Chichester 1685.2

Capt. of ft. regt. of Lord Ibrackan (Henry O’Brien) 1678-9.


Goring became his father’s heir when his elder brother died of smallpox at Cambridge in 1661. The precise date of the purchase of Wappingthorn from the Leedes heirs has not been ascertained, but it is presumably connected with his father’s claim of privilege on 4 Nov. 1670 against Barnaby Bowtell, one of the parties to a fine of the property in Trinity Term 1671. Goring was elected at the first subsequent vacancy for a West Sussex borough, but in view of the comments on his youth and inexperience in 1678, he was probably inactive, though in committee work he cannot be distinguished from his father. Marked ‘thrice vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list, he achieved prominence in the last sessions of the Cavalier Parliament as an officer in the newly raised forces by his outspoken and provocative support for the Government. On 20 Feb. 1678 he reflected on Sir Charles Harbord for his grants of crown lands. On 29 Apr. he spoke of the ‘committee of Popery’, who, he said, had not done their duty ‘in putting in the clause of not granting money till their minds be satisfied that all care and diligence is used to secure the Kingdom; and those that defend it should be called to the bar’. He was excused by Sir Thomas Littleton, 2nd Bt. as ‘a young gentleman not used to speak’, but his next indiscretion was not so lightly passed over. Following Henry Powle on 3 May he said:

I desire a test from those gentlemen on that side of the House that they have no design of creeping into ministers’ places when they are out; and if they will give me good security that they will act better, I will then be on their side. Till then, I think the ministers have done well.

Sir George Downing pointed out that ‘the gentleman is well descended, and but young in years and experience’, but Littleton complained that he ‘sat a great while in his place, smiling and laughing’ before apologizing and denying any personal allusion. ‘The young gentleman is forward and zealous, but I would have no more said to him but an admonition in his place to forbear the like in the future’; and he was reprimanded by the Speaker (Robert Sawyer) in the mildest terms. He continued to be treated with a tolerance which can only be explained by a total lack of support for his threatening propositions. On 1 June he said: ‘Yesterday there was a grand committee for disbanding the army, but I see there is need of keeping it up, if these things are said here’. A fortnight later he openly wished for liberty ‘to demand satisfaction out of doors’. In the final session he scoffed at Oates’s charge that his cousin Sir William Goring (who was still under age) had received a commission as captain of horse at the time of the Popish Plot.3

Goring transferred to Bramber at the general election, and, although included in the ‘unanimous club’ of court voters, was returned to all three Exclusion Parliaments. According to Oates, ‘Mr Goring was very lavish of his tongue in the country, that he had the King’s ear and favour’. He was marked ‘vile’ on Shaftesbury’s list. Meeting Oates in the lobby when the first Exclusion Parliament met, he denied that Sir John Gage, who had been arrested on Oates’s information, was a traitor, and called the informer a rascal, a lying rogue and a base, impudent fellow. He defended the King’s right to veto the re-election of Edward Seymour with an appeal to precedent: ‘I would know whether any person but a Privy Councillor usually proposes a Speaker’. On 24 Mar. 1679, Oates complained to the House of his conduct, but John Fagg I, whom he called as a witness, had absented himself, and the matter was not pursued, the House no doubt accepting Goring’s assertion that ‘if I gave Oates ill language, he was even with me’. When Thomas Bennett seemed to refer to his religion, he interrupted: ‘I am as good a Protestant as Bennett, and I demand satisfaction’, a fairly safe demand in view of Bennett’s avoidance of the challenge from Edward Osborne in the last Parliament. He voted against the exclusion bill, as he did again in 1680 when his was the only vote against it. He was given leave to go into the country on 23 Dec., made no further speeches, and served on no committees in any of the Exclusion Parliaments.4

Goring’s loyalty was surely above suspicion, even though he was reluctant to ‘meddle’ in the attempt to intercept the Duke of Monmouth and his closest associates immediately after the discovery of the Rye House Plot. ‘A most intimate friend of Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys’, he was returned to James II’s Parliament for Steyning, and became an active committeeman, serving on four committees, including those to hear the petition from hackney coachmen and to consider the bill to regulate them. With (Sir) Joseph Tredenham he acted as teller against hearing the Buckinghamshire election case at the bar of the House, and was listed among the Opposition. But on 10 June 1685 he met the fate which he had so long been courting. After a quarrel in a theatre, he was mortally wounded by a younger son of Sir Edward Dering. Danby can hardly have forgotten so spectacular and appropriate a demise, and must therefore have included him in his list of the Opposition before that date.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: B. M. Crook


  • 1. Suss. Arch. Colls. v. 67; Add. 5698, f. 258; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1650-79, p. 82; J. Comber, Suss. Genealogies Ardingly, 186.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1663-4, pp. 160, 513; 1671-2, p. 101; A. Hay, Hist. Chichester, 589.
  • 3. Suss. Arch. Colls. liv. 52; Fines of Manors (Suss. Rec. Soc. xx), 464; Grey, v. 196, 282-4, 314-19; vi. 59, 91, 116.
  • 4. Grey, vi. 419-20; vii. 9-10, 47, 55-56, 239; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 475; PRO 31/3, bdle. 142, f. 16.
  • 5. CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 37; HMC Egmont, ii. 153; CJ, ix. 717; Luttrell, i. 346; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 1, p. 467.