OKEOVER, Rowland (1651-1730), of Okeover, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. 21 Sept. 1651, 1st s. of Sir Rowland Okeover of Okeover by Mercy, da. of Edmund Goodyere of Heythrop, Oxon. m. Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir Thomas Pettus, 2nd Bt., of Rackheath, Norf., 2s. d.v.p. 2da. suc. fa. 1692.1
J.p. Staffs. 1682-Mar. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., Derbys. ?1686-Mar. 1688, 1689-d.; commr. for assessment, Staffs. 1689-90, Derbys. 1690.
Okeover’s ancestors were holding the manor from which they took their name as early as 1113. The estate stretched into Derbyshire, which they frequently represented between 1331 and 1421; but this was the whole extent of their previous parliamentary record. During the Civil War the family may have been royalist in sympathy, and Okeover was under sequestration for a time. After the Restoration Okeover’s father was described as ‘very loyal and orthodox; an able, cunning man and active’. His income was estimated at £800 p.a., but may have been further reduced by the private Act of 1662 which enabled him to sell land in Derbyshire for payment of debts. He was knighted three years later, but despite his ability and activity he was presumably too cunning to play any part in local or national politics, for he was still living when Okeover was returned for Stafford as a Tory at the general election of 1685. He left no trace on the records of James II’s Parliament, but he later opposed the King’s ecclesiastical policy. He would not consent to the repeal of the Tests and Penal Laws until he should hear the debates in Parliament, nor would he undertake to vote for candidates pledged to repeal, promising only to ‘give his vote to such person as is perfectly loyal’. He accepted the Revolution and continued to hold local office, but never stood again. His will was proved on 2 July 1730. He was the last of the family to sit in Parliament.2