HUNT, John (c.1639-1721), of Compton Pauncefoot, Som.
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Family and Education
b. c.1639, 1st s. of Robert Hunt. educ. L. Inn 1658. m. (1) lic. 26 Oct. 1672, Elizabeth (d. 13 Jan. 1698), da. and coh. of k Charles Roscarroc of Trevenna, St. Neot, Cornw., s.p.; (2) Elizabeth (d. 9 Sept. 1758), da. of Edmund Lloyd of London, 4 s. 1da. suc. fa. 1680.1
Commr. for assessment, Som. 1665-80, 1689-90, j.p. 1680-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., dep. lt. 1680-7, 1689-?1714, capt. of militia ft. by 1683-?87, lt. col. by 1697-?1714, commr. for rebels’ estates 1686.2
Hunt was proposed for the order of the Royal Oak at the Restoration with an income of £1,500 p.a., presumably representing his father’s estate rather than his own. He controlled both seats at Milborne Port, three miles from his home, for which he was first returned at a by-election in 1677. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was marked ‘worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list and appointed to four committees of no political importance in its closing sessions. Hunt’s grandfather had helped Sir John Bankes to acquire and defend his Dorset estates, and Hunt himself sat on the committee for the bill to enable the family trustees to sell some of them. Although Shaftesbury still regarded him as ‘worthy’ in 1679, he abstained from the division on the first exclusion bill, and his choice of Henry Bull to replace William Lacy as his colleague in the second Exclusion Parliament indicates that he had gone over to the Court. He left no trace on the records of the Exclusion Parliaments, except to obtain leave to go into the country.3
Hunt was among the most active Somerset justices in the suppression of conventicles. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was named to four committees, including that to examine the disbandment accounts. He took part as a militia officer in the Sedgemoor campaign. His violent hostility to the King’s ecclesiastical policy brought him before the Privy Council after an altercation with the sheriff at the Bruton quarter sessions in 1687. To the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, Hunt, together with Edward Gorges and John Sanford, replied ‘that they know not what they shall do till they hear the debates’, but would ‘promote the elections of the fittest men they can’. He was removed from local office, and great efforts were made to oust him from his seat, but he was reelected in 1689. In the Convention he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. An inactive Member, he was appointed to ten committees, including those to consider the abolition of the hearth-tax, to prepare a bill for making the militia more effective, and to inquire into the charges against William Harbord. He remained a Tory under William III and Anne, though he signed the Association in 1696. He died on 26 Apr. 1721, aged 82, and was buried at Compton Pauncefoot, the last of the family to sit in Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Irene Cassidy
- 1. Phelps, Som. ii. 409-11; Soc. of Genealogists, Exeter Mar. Lic.
- 2. Q. Sess. Recs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xxxiv), p. xiii, Som. RO; CSP Dom. Jan.-June 1683, p. 194; T27/9/186-7; Eg. 1626, f. 39; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 545.
- 3. Bankes mss, till 39, bdle. D, Hunt to Bankes, Jan. 1649; CJ, ix. 634.
- 4. CSP Dom. Jan.-June 1683, p. 194; 1687-9, p. 135; HMC 3rd Rep. 99, 100.