PALMES, William (b.c.1638), of Lindley, Yorks. and Ashwell, Rutland.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



6 Oct. 1668
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679
Feb. 1701
Dec. 1701
14 Dec. 1708

Family and Education

b. c.1638, 6th but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Brian Palmes of Ashwell by Mary, da. and coh. of Gervase Tevery of Stapleford, Notts. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1655-9. m. 15 July 1663, Mary da. and coh. of William Eure of Malton, Yorks., 4s. 4da. suc. bro. 1657.1

Offices Held

Commr. for corporations, Notts. 1662-3; sheriff, Rutland May-Nov. 1662, receiver-gen. by 1664-?66; commr. for assessment, Notts. 1664-80, Rutland 1664-9, 1677-80, Yorks. (N. Riding) 1667-80, (W. Riding) 1677-80, Rutland and N. and W. Ridings 1689-90, enclosures, Deeping fen 1665; j.p. (N. Riding) 1668-bef. 1683, 1689-d., (W. Riding) 1672-bef. 1683, 1689-?1713, (E. Riding) 1689-91; commr. for recusants, (N. and W. Ridings) 1675.2


Palmes came from a Yorkshire family seated at Naburn since early in the 15th century which had first produced a Member of Parliament in 1586. His grandfather represented Rutland in the Long Parliament until disabled as a Royalist and compounded for his delinquency with a fine of £3,905. His father, who had been commander of the royalist garrison at Belvoir during the Civil War, was fined £681. Palmes himself became receiver-general of Rutland after the Restoration, and was in trouble with the Commons in 1664 for his failure to deliver his accounts of the loyal and indigent officers fund. He was discharged on 22 Dec. 1666 when it was reported that his accounts had been passed.3

Palmes had acquired by marriage a considerable portion of the Eure interest at Malton, and in October 1668 was returned for the borough. A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 61 committees and acted as a teller on six occasions. During the third Dutch war he identified himself with the country party, sharing their impatience at the delay in the King’s reply to the address claiming that penal statutes in ecclesiastical matters were unalterable except by an Act of Parliament, and on 29 Jan. 1674 he was co-opted to the committee preparing a general test against Papists. On 22 Apr. 1675 he was among those appointed to consider the bill to prevent illegal imprisonment. In the days that followed he was at one with his party in heightening the existing discord between the two Houses of Parliament, arguing in the debate of 31 May that Thomas Dalmahoy had had no counsel when involved in an appeal to the Lords, and later informing the House, through the Speaker, of the Lords’ intention to seize the serjeant-at-arms. In the autumn session he was appointed to the committees for appropriating the customs for the use of the navy, for preventing the illegal exaction of money, for the recall of British subjects from the French service, and for preventing the growth of Popery. Shaftesbury classed him as ‘doubly worthy’ in 1677. On 22 Feb. 1678 he reported from the committee for regulating abuses in the collection of hearth-tax. He spoke in the debate of 14 Mar. on the state of the nation, calling to order Sir Robert Carr for having attempted to divert the decision to go into a grand committee, and the same day was appointed to the committee to draw up the address in favour of war with France. In the debate of 6 Nov. he insisted that Coleman’s letters should be printed to the further discredit of the Papists, and on 27 Dec. was sharply critical of the recorder of London for delaying execution of those convicted of the murder of Godfrey.4

Palmes was re-elected to the Exclusion Parliaments in the country interest. He was moderately active in 1679, being appointed to nine committees. He was chairman of the committee on expiring laws and on 2 Apr. he was nominated to the committee for amending habeas corpus. He was absent from the vote on the exclusion bill and made no recorded speeches. But he spoke twice in the second Exclusion Parliament, opposing Lauderdale in the debate of 22 Nov. 1680 and later arguing against publishing the evidence against Seymour until the impeachment had been drawn. An active Member, he was nominated to ten committees, including that for the religious comprehension bill. Although he took his place in the Oxford Parliament he was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges.5

Palmes stood for Malton in 1685 but was defeated by two Tory candidates. Although listed as an opponent of James II, he may be the ‘Esquire Pawlins’ whom the King’s agents expected to be returned for Malton in 1688 and whom they considered ‘right’. He regained his seat in 1689, and proved an active Member of the Convention, serving on 44 committees and speaking five times in debate. He was appointed to the committee on 2 Feb. to draft reasons for insisting that James had abdicated and that the throne was vacant and to those for suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, and inquiring into the authors and advisers of grievances. He was a member of the committees on the first mutiny bill (19 Mar.) and the toleration bill (15 May). He spoke in the debate of 16 May on the indemnity bill, urging the House to determine what crimes should be capital, and subsequently intervened in the debate of 24 June on exceptions to be made to the bill, advocating stringent measures against the judges. After the recess he was named to the committees of 1 Nov. on the miscarriages and expenses of the war and was listed as a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. On 20 Jan. 1690 he acted as a teller in favour of expelling (Sir) Robert Sawyer from the House. Palmes signed the Association in 1696 and in his later parliamentary career voted consistently as a court Whig; but he was forced to sell off his property to pay debts. Stapleford, his mother’s inheritance, had been sold in 1670, Ashwell went in 1699, and finally Malton in 1713. The date of his death is unknown.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: P. A. Bolton / Paula Watson


  • 1. Vis. Notts. (Thoroton Rec. Ser. xiii), 81; Verney Mems. ii. 86; Foster, Yorks. Peds. i.
  • 2. SP29/62/13; PC2/55/634; Luttrell, ii. 230; A. C. Wood, Notts. in the Civil War, 220; CJ, viii. 541. 668; Add. 29674, ff. 160-1.
  • 3. Cal. Comm. Comp. 1042-3; VCH Rutland, ii. 109; Keeler, Long Parl. 214-15.
  • 4. Grey, ii. 48; iii. 208, 254, 255; v. 227; vi. 152, 396-7.
  • 5. Grey, viii. 48, 211.
  • 6. Grey, ix. 255, 360; VCH Rutland, ii. 109; Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. iii. 50; EHR, lxxx. 53.