NICHOLAS, Edward I (1625-96), of West Horsley, Surr. and Hitcham, Bucks.

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

bap. 6 Mar. 1625, 2nd s. of Sir Edward Nicholas of Winterbourne Earls, Wilts., sec. of state 1641-62, by Jane, da. of Henry Jay of Holverston, Norf., alderman of London 1613-20, bro. of John Nicholas. educ. Dinton (Philip Pinckney) 1633, Winchester by 1639; Leyden 1642. m. 9 Dec. 1669, Bridget, da. of (Sir) Thomas Clayton of The Vache, Chalfont St. Peter’s, Bucks., 2s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Receiver-gen. of alienations by Dec. 1660-91.2

Commr. for oyer and terminer, Western circuit 1660, assessment, Wilts. i661-80, Bucks. 1665-80, Surr., Wilts. and Bucks. 1689-90; j.p. Bucks. 1672-80, 1683-bef. 1688; commr. for recusants, Wilts. 1675.


Nicholas was a dunce at school, though ‘a good and sweet-natured child’, and his industrious father and elder brother who did not believe in the usual drastic 17th-century correctives, were still vainly trying to stimulate him into greater activity by gentle means when he was turned 40. He was abroad during the Civil War, and did not return till the Restoration, when he was given a minor government post with a salary of £160 p.a. ‘By the honourable favour of the Earl of Pembroke’ he was returned for Old Sarum at the general election of 1661. He served on only 20 committees, of which the most important were for the uniformity and regicides bills. Apart from the elections committee, hewas appointed to only three others after his father’s resignation in October 1662. He was noted as a court dependant in 1664. Joseph Williamson obtained accommodation for him at Oxford for the autumn session of 1665, but he wrote back that he preferred to stay in the country. His brother undertook that he would give his father ‘a particular account’ of the debate on supply on 9 Apr. 1668; ‘I hope you will encourage him to be present at the second part of it’. But a week later he had to write: ‘my brother Edward came hither yesterday a great while before the rising of the House’. His name appears on both lists of the court party in 1669-71, and he was described in an opposition pamphlet as ‘a small officer at Court, and thoroughly loyal for money’. In 1673 he served on the committee considering a bill of ease for Protestant dissenters. But in the same year he acquired Hitcham, and except for one committee in 1675 on customs fees (in which his brother George was concerned as surveyor-general) his name disappears from the Journals. Nevertheless, he was put down as an official in 1675 and on the working lists. Shaftesbury noted him as ‘thrice vile’ in 1677 and he again appears on both government and opposition lists of court supporters in 1678. He was twice removed from the Buckinghamshire bench before the Revolution, presumably for non-attendance. He is unlikely to have been enthusiastic about the new regime, and in 1691 he was allowed to hand over his office to his son. He died on 21 May 1696, and was buried at Hitcham. None of his male issue sat in Parliament.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Hoare, Wilts. Alderbury, 95-96; D. Nicholas, Mr Secretary Nicholas, 79, 121; Bucks. Par. Reg. iv. 85; PCC 123 Bond.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 96; ix. 1410-1.
  • 3. Bath mss Thynne pprs. 10, f. 80 Sir Edward Nicholas to Sir James Thynne, 12 Mar. 1661; CSP Dom. 1665-6, p. 5; Eg. 2539, ff. 191, 200; Harl. 7020, f. 45v; VCH Bucks. iii. 233; Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 286.