PHILIPSON, Christopher (1646-1709), of Crook Hall, Westmld.

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



Oct. 1679

Family and Education

bap. 27 Sept. 1646, 1st s. of Hudleston Philipson of Crook Hall by Elizabeth, da. of Alan Ayscough of Skewsby, Yorks. m. (1) lic. 5 July 1670, Clara (d. 20 Nov. 1695), da. of Lionel Robinson of Cowton Grange, Yorks. coh. to her bro. Richard, and wid. of Francis Topham of Agglethorpe, Yorks., 3da.; (2) 10 Aug. 1699, Mary (d.1718), da. of Sir Thomas Duppa, gent. usher of the black rod, of Eardisley, Herefs., coh. to her bro. Thomas, and wid. of John Stables, merchant, of London, s.p.; 1s. illegit. suc. fa. 1657; kntd. 30 May 1681.1

Offices Held

J.p. Westmld. 1673-89, by 1701-?d., lt. of militia ft. by 1675-?Feb. 1688, commr. for assessment 1677-80, 1689-90, dep. lt. by 1685-Feb. 1688, Nov. 1688-9.2


Philipson’s ancestors had been minor Westmorland landholders since the 14th century, but had never sat in Parliament. The Crook estate was already encumbered before the Civil War, in which Philipson’s father served as captain in the royalist garrison at Carlisle. As a militia officer Philipson assisted Daniel Fleming in breaking up a Quaker meeting at Windermere in 1675, and he opposed exclusion. He replaced Sir John Lowther III as knight of the shire for Westmorland in the second Exclusion Parliament. He ‘attended the House very diligently’, but made no speeches and was appointed to no committees. His letters, however, reveal him to have been a shrewd observer. ‘Here’s such reflections thrown upon the King’s party’, he wrote on 29 Nov. 1680, ‘that ’tis purgatory to stand it’. On the dissolution of Parliament he stood bail for Sir Robert Peyton, who had married his wife’s sister, but at the general election ‘the stream runs the other way’, and despite his personal merit he was heavily defeated by the unscrupulous political opportunist, Alan Bellingham. A few months later he was rewarded for his efforts with a knighthood as ‘a person of known loyalty and affection’, and he was foreman of the grand jury which presented a loyal address after the Rye House Plot.

‘Sir Christopher Philipson hath great inclinations to stand’, wrote (Sir) Christopher Musgrave in 1685, ‘but I fear it would engage him ineffectively in an expense not answerable to his condition’. Nevertheless he went to the poll, and was again defeated. He strove to avoid the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, but eventually returned in writing the same negative answers as Lowther. A non-juror, he was outlawed for debt in 1689, and by the following year Lowther had most of his estate in mortgage. He was arrested as a Jacobite suspect in 1696, but took the oaths after the death of James II, and actively supported James Grahme at the county election of 1702. He obtained a private Act for the sale of his estates in 1704, and was buried at St. Martin in the Fields on 25 Jan. 1709, the last of his family.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Leonard Naylor


This biography is based on Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. and Antiq. Soc. lxxiii. 241-66.

  • 1. Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 348.
  • 2. Westmld. RO, D/Ry 3314, Musgrave to Fleming, 8 Nov. 1688; Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. and Antiq. Soc. lxiv. 150; lxxiii. 236, 238; Westmld. RO, D/Ry 2401, 2394, Fleming to Bellingham, 14 Feb. 1681, Wilson to Fleming, 23 Feb. 1681; 2405, Lowther to Fleming, 8 Mar. 1681; 2708, Westmld. grand jury, 18 Aug. 1683; Luttrell, i. 67; London Gazette, 2 June 1681.
  • 3. Westmld. RO, D/Ry 2862, Musgrave to Fleming, 24 Feb. 1685; 2896, Philipson to Fleming, 8 Apr. 1685; HMC Le Fleming , 208; Bodl. Carte 101, ff. 67-68.