MONCKTON (MOUNTAINE), Sir Philip (c.1622-79), of South Newbald, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1622, 1st s. of Sir Francis Monckton of Cavil, Eastrington by Margaret, da. and coh. of Thomas Savile of Northgate Head, Wakefield. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. matric. 8 June 1638, aged 16. m. Anne, da. of Robert Eyre of Highlow, Derbys., 2s. 1da. Kntd. Feb. 1644; suc. fa. aft. 1655.1
J.p. Yorks. (E. Riding) July 1661-d.; commr. for oyer and terminer, Northern circuit July 1660, assessment (E. Riding) Aug. 1660-d., (N. Riding) 1673-d., sewers (E. Riding) Sept. 1660, col. of militia ft. 1661-?68; commr. for corporations, Yorks. 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, sheriff 1669-70; commr. for recusants (N. and W. Ridings) 1675.3
Comptroller of customs and excise, Dunkirk 1661-2.4
Monckton’s ancestors acquired the Cavil estate by marriage about the middle of the 15th century. The whole family was royalist in the Civil War, Monckton’s grandfather and father compounding for £825 in 1646. Monckton himself was in arms for the King in both wars; he believed that he owed his life in 1648 to the intervention of Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax. He was fined £220 and banished, but allowed to return in 1651. A royalist conspirator in 1655, he was imprisoned at York and at Hull, ‘where I had been sent a slave to Jamaica, but that God preserved me by reaching out his hand in taking away Oliver’. He claimed to have mustered a party of horse in 1659 in support of Sir George Booth and assisted Fairfax and George Monck in the capture of York in January 1660. At the Restoration he was given a foot company at Hull and a customs post at Dunkirk, but both these offices were abolished in 1662. Monck recommended him for some recompense, but Lord Chancellor Clarendon replied that he was mad and unfit for any employment. His wife’s portion of under £3,000 had been spent in ‘contriving the Restoration’, and he was involved in a tedious lawsuit over his mother’s inheritance. He took a lease of South Newbald from the chapter of York in 1664, but was soon obliged to mortgage it and to apply for a loan of £1,000 from his cousin Sir George Savile, whom he regarded not merely as patron, but ‘prince and sovereign’.5
After the fall of Clarendon Monckton was given a captaincy in the Guards, authorized by Sir Robert Howard to collect overdue greenwax fines in Yorkshire on 50 per cent commission, and chosen for the lucrative office of sheriff, in which capacity he was accused of undue leniency to dissenters and ‘disaffected persons’. He was returned for Scarborough at a by-election in 1670, probably with the help of the governor, Sir Thomas Slingsby. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 19 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges in three sessions, and made seven recorded speeches. He was almost immediately added to the committee set up to inspect the Conventicles and Militia Acts, and in his maiden speech after the short Christmas recess he aligned himself with the Opposition in favouring the suspension of all other business until the bill to banish the assailants of Sir John Coventry had been passed. On 11 Mar. 1671 he reported a bill on behalf of the loyal and indigent officers. His name appeared on the opposition list of government supporters. In a hostile comment it was alleged that his ‘livelihood depends wholly on the comforts of the Court’, and he was described as ‘beggarly, but outrageously insolent’.6
In the debate on Ireland on 17 Mar. 1673 Monckton compared the situation with 1641 and urged the immediate arrest of Richard Talbot, whom the Roman Catholics regarded as their general. He sold his guards commission in 1674 for £650 when his company was moved from Yorkshire to Portsmouth, and was further compensated with an excise pension of £300. His name appeared on the Paston list and the list of court dependants in 1675. By his own account he was ridiculed when he told the House that the French were not to be feared, and that pressing the King to recall his forces was designed to straiten his power. He received the government whip for the autumn session from (Sir) Joseph Williamson, offering in return much unsought advice but promising to attend. It was necessary, he wrote, ‘to preserve the Catholics from ruin’, but he was named to the committee for the bill to prevent them from sitting in Parliament.7
During the long recess Monckton’s attitude changed, perhaps under the influence of his ‘particular friend’ (Sir) Hugh Bethel. Outrage at the report that Lord Belasyse was to receive £4,000 compensation for losing the governorship of Hull under the Test Act produced an increasing hostility towards Roman Catholics in general, which, coupled with a ludicrously exaggerated assessment of his own part in the Restoration, came near to justifying Clarendon’s diagnosis of his condition. He encouraged demands in Lincolnshire for a dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections, claiming that the King was in danger of being ‘snatched away’ by the French and that some 20 gentlemen of quality in London were needed to enforce the recusancy laws. Under examination by the Privy Council he alleged that Sir Robert Carr had promised to persuade the common council of London to petition for a new Parliament. On 5 July 1676 he was committed to the Tower ‘for writing a seditious and scandalous letter to defame the Government and Privy Council, and to raise groundless jealousies and fears among the people tending to the public disturbance’. He was released on bail after seven weeks, and classed as ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury in the next session, though he was cautious in supporting the Opposition motion that the long prorogation had automatically dissolved Parliament. He was appointed to the committee on the bill to prevent the growth of Popery. It is not clear whether he actually delivered the speech on foreign affairs in his papers, in which he declared that the English Protestants wanted an alliance against France and only the Papists opposed it. But on 14 Mar. 1678 he told the House:
The Papists undoubtedly suggested to his royal highness that, unless the French King be buoyed up and preserved to be able to assist him, the Parliament will hinder his succession.
He did not commit himself to exclusion, and through Danby he offered to ‘give all the assurances that any man could of my fidelity to his royal highness if I should live to see him succeed your Majesty’. On 29 Apr. he recommended that supply should be deferred until measures against Popery had been agreed. He helped to prepare the summary of England’s international commitments, and seconded the motion of John Birch that they were not in accordance with the addresses of the Commons. He was named to further committees to bring in a bill to prevent the growth of Popery in May and to consider a bill to hinder Papists from sitting in Parliament in June; but he was included in the government list of supporters at this time, and took no known part in the last session of the Cavalier Parliament, except to secure privilege for a servant. He was buried at South Newbald on 21 Feb. 1679. His son sat for Pontefract and Aldborough from 1695 to 1713.8
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. J. Hunter, S. Yorks. ii. 414.
- 2. Lansd. 988, f. 316; Monckton Pprs. ed. Peacock, 77-81.
- 3. C181/7/45; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), 275.
- 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 263.
- 5. DNB; Royalist Comp. Pprs. (Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. xviii), 67-70; Monckton Pprs. 23-31, 43, 46, 87, 103, 113-17; CSP Dom. 1676-7, pp. 174-8; Cal. Cl. SP, v. 210-11; VCH E. Riding, iv. 135; Notts. RO, DDSR221/94 (Monckton to Savile, 6 Oct. 1664).
- 6. Monckton Pprs. 91-93; CSP Dom. 1667-8, p. 308; 1670, pp. 215, 455; 1673-5, p. 181; Dering, 45; CJ, ix. 217; Harl. 7020, f. 46v.
- 7. Grey, ii. 121; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 415, 425; Dorset RO, D124, box 238, bdle. 4; Monckton Pprs. 107; CSP Dom. 1675-6, pp. 315-16.
- 8. Lansd. 988, ff. 326, 355, 362; Monckton Pprs. 100-2; CSP Dom. 1676-7, pp. 145-6, 194-5, 207, 293; PC2/65/281, 285, 286; Grey, iv. 65; v. 226, 284, 322.