PALMER, Lewis (1630-1713), of Carlton Park, Northants.

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. 21 Sept. 1630, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Sir Geoffrey Palmer, 1st Bt., and bro. of Edward Palmer and Geoffrey Palmer. educ. M. Temple 1647. m. (1) 20 June 1654, Jane (d. 11 Feb. 1701), da. and coh. of Robert Palmer of Carlton Scroop, Lincs., 5s. (3 d.v.p.) 4da.; (2) Frances, s.p.; (3) 2 Jan. 1703, Mary, da. of Thomas Chapman, rector of East Carlton, Northants. s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 5 May 1670.1

Offices Held

J.p. Northants. July 1660-89; commr. for assessment, Northants. Aug. 1660-9, 1677-80, Lincs. 1661-74, Leics. 1673-80, loyal and indigent officers, Northants. 1662; dep. lt. Lincs. 1662-bef. 1680, Northants. 1662-?89, Rutland 1685-?89; capt. of militia horse, Northants. by 1663; commr. for complaints, Bedford level 1663, enclosures, Deeping fen 1665.2

Capt. of horse Nov.-Dec. 1688.3


Palmer’s ancestor, a lawyer, acquired East Carlton by marriage in the early years of the 15th century. His father, also a lawyer, was one of the first of the family to enter Parliament; he helped to manage Strafford’s impeachment, but was sent to the Tower for protesting against the Grand Remonstrance. A commissioner of array for Northamptonshire in 1642, he was in Oxford during the Civil War and compounded for his estate in 1648. Although he took no part in Cavalier plots, he was imprisoned on suspicion in 1655. At the Restoration he was appointed attorney-general.4

Returned unopposed for Higham Ferrers at the general election of 1661, Palmer was an active committeeman in the opening session of the Cavalier Parliament. He was named to the committees for the corporations and uniformity bills, and the bill of pains and penalties. He was particularly interested in drainage projects, acting as teller on 10 Apr. 1662 for the motion to hear the claims of (Sir) Charles Hussey in the Lindsey level at the bar of the House, and he was named as a commissioner in the Acts for draining the Bedford level and Deeping fen. He was noted as a court dependant in 1664, and was among those appointed to consider the conventicles bill. He was teller against an opposition motion to defer consideration of supply on 29 Dec. 1666, but after his father’s death his activity declined. Sir Thomas Osborne wrote him down in 1669 as one of those who usually voted for supply, but in 1671 he made default in attendance. He received the government whip from Secretary Williamson in 1675, and Sir Richard Wiseman included him as a court supporter. On the working lists he was marked as under the influence of Osborne (now Lord Treasurer Danby). He seems to have been unscrupulous in money matters, and in A Seasonable Argument he was described as ‘a great trader in protections, and sells cheap’. This charge may have arisen from an incident in the 1677 session, when he claimed privilege on behalf of a servant; but in his only recorded speech he was obliged to confess himself a victim of ‘fraud and circumvention’, the man having been already a prisoner before entering his service. He was marked ‘doubly vile’ by Shaftesbury, and blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’ of court supporters. A moderately active Member, he was appointed to 78 committees in this Parliament.5

Palmer was defeated on a restricted franchise at Higham Ferrers in the first general election of 1679, and his petition was never reported to the House. On the lieutenancy list of 1680 he was described as ‘very right and active’, and he was one of the grand jury which presented Ralph Montagu* and the other leading Northamptonshire Whigs as ill-affected in 1683. He regained his seat in 1685, defeating the Whig Sir Matthew Dudley, and became again moderately active in James II’s Parliament, being named to the committee of elections and privileges and to those for the suppression of pedlars and the renewal of expiring laws. Although an Anglican, he clearly took the highest view of the prerogative, consenting to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and raising a troop of horse for King James on the news of the Dutch landing in 1688. He was a non-juror after the Revolution, and was buried at East Carlton on 10 Apr. 1713. His son, the 3rd baronet, sat for Leicestershire as a Tory with one interval from 1708 to 1722.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: E. R. Edwards


  • 1. VCH Northants. Fams. 246-7.
  • 2. Add. 34222, f. 66v.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 358.
  • 4. Bridges, Northants. ii. 291-2.
  • 5. CJ, ix. 197, 388, 389; CSP Dom. 1677-8, p. 569; 1679-80, p. 104; Grey, iv. 147-8.
  • 6. CJ, ix. 569; Somers Tracts, viii. 410.