MARSHAM, John (1602-85), of Whorne's Place, Cuxton, Kent.

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. 23 Aug. 1602, 5th but 2nd surv. s. of Thomas Marsham, Merchant Taylor, (d.1625), of Milk Street, London by Magdalen, da. of Richard Springham, Mercer, of London. educ., London (Mr Speight) 1613; Westminster 1617; St. John’s, Oxf. 1619, BA 1623, MA 1625; travelled abroad (France, Italy and Germany) 1625-7, (Holland and France) 1629; M. Temple 1628. m. 13 Jan. 1631, Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Hammond of Nonington, Kent, 7s. (5 d.v.p.) 6da. Kntd. 1 July 1660; cr. Bt. 16 Aug. 1663.1

Offices Held

Asst. Rochester Bridge 1637-43, 1661-d.; warden 1639, 1664, 1671, 1678; freeman, Rochester 1638; j.p. Kent 1641-3, June 1660 82, commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80, sewers, Medway marshes Dec. 1660, Bedford level 1662-3.2

Six clerk in Chancery 1638-44, June 1660-80.3


The Marsham family had been settled at Marsham and Stratton Strawless in Norfolk since the 14th century. Marsham’s grandfather had been mayor of Norwich in 1518 and his great-uncle had represented the city in 1553. His father migrated to London and became a member of the Merchant Taylors’ company, of which he was elected master in 1621. Marsham bought Whorne’s Place in 1630. A Royalist in the Civil War, he was present at the sieges of Gloucester and Bristol in 1643, and joined the King at Oxford, for which he was deprived of his Chancery clerkship. After the surrender of Oxford in 1646 he returned to London and compounded for his estates, his fine, originally £600, being reduced to £356 6s.2d. According to his son he ‘was sequestered and plundered and lost to the value of £60,000 for his loyalty’, which was almost certainly an exaggeration.4

Marsham was returned for Rochester, three miles from Whorne’s Place, in 1660, probably without a contest, although he was clearly ineligible under the Long Parliament ordinance. In the Convention he was moderately active as a committeeman, being named to 26 committees, and made at least 14 speeches, many of them revealing his unapologetic Anglicanism. On 30 June he supported a proviso to the indemnity bill allowing pardons issued under the great seal. On 16 July, in the grand committee on religion, he spoke twice for the question, ‘which was for the Protestant faith according to the Scriptures and the government of the Church according to law’. He moved to set aside the ‘whole bill’ for settling ministers in their livings on 30 July. On the next day he was named to the committee to consider settling the revenue. He spoke against the bill appointing commissioners to discover frauds and concealments of accountants, ‘but was for some other way to call accountants to question’, and was named to the committee to bring in a bill for local commissioners of accounts. On the next day he opposed double taxation of recusants, being joined in opposition only by Thomas Clifford On 14 Aug., when the debate on ecclesiastical livings was resumed, Marsham urged the House to consider whether ‘the confirmation of ministers was for the peace of the kingdom, which he thought not’. Two days later he opposed the bill restraining bishops from further grants of leases. On 31 Aug. he complained that the petition of the maimed soldiers ‘was slighted because they were the King’s soldiers’, which Sir Anthony Irby interpreted as a reflection on himself. On 1 Sept, he was named to the committees for the disbandment of the army and for settling the establishment of Dunkirk.5

After the recess Marsham was named to the committees appointed to bring in the militia bill and to recommend a form of prayer to be used in the House. He helped to draft the bill for the better observance of the Lord’s day, although he thought that it was already taken care of in the Worcester House declaration, and urged its rejection as the transcript of a Protectorate measure, and because he was not ‘satisfied which day in the week was the Lord’s Day, that ought to be kept holier than the rest’, thereby greatly scandalizing the puritan Sir Ralph Assheton I. He moved the rejection of the bill for a modified episcopacy, saying that:

they had before them an excellent declaration, metamorphosed into a very ugly bill; that the King’s intention was for a settlement of religion among us, which surely this bill did thwart.6

Marsham did not stand again for Parliament and, according to his son, ‘lived in great reputation and tranquillity, conversing by letter with most of the learned men of Europe’. He was celebrated for his knowledge of languages and history, and published two books on chronology. He died on 25 May 1685, and was buried at Cuxton. His second son, who eventually succeeded as 4th Baronet, represented Maidstone on the Whig interest in four Parliaments under William III and Anne.7

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. R. M. Townshend, Chart and Peds. of Marsham, 11-20.
  • 2. Information from Mr P. F. Cooper, Bridge Clerk, Rochester Bridge Trust; Arch. Cant. xvii. 173; Kent AO, Q/JC9; Wells, Drainage of the Bedford Level, i. 360.
  • 3. T. D. Hardy, Cat. of Chancery, 109, 111.
  • 4. DNB; Blomefield, Norf. v. 332-3; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 17.
  • 5. Bowman diary, ff. 38v. 81v, 82, 107v, 114, 116, 138, 143; Old Parl. Hist. xxii. 413, 467.
  • 6. Old Parl. Hist. xxiii. 5, 8, 27, 29.
  • 7. Townshend, 19-20.