SPARKE, Arthur (1628-77), of Hertford and London.

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. 5 June 1628, 5th but 3rd surv. s. of Thomas Sparke, rector of Brown Candover, Hants 1615-40, by w. Mary. educ. M. Temple 1649, called 1656; utter barrister, I. Temple 1670. m. 3 Apr. 1656, Mary, da. and coh. of Hugh North of Marden, Herts., 2s. ?d.v.p.1

Offices Held

Town clerk, Hertford 1651-5, steward of the borough court 1661-75; j.p. Herts. July 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d., loyal and indigent officers 1662.2

Dep. remembrancer of the Exchequer c.1666-72.3


Sparke’s grandfather, of Lincolnshire origin, was summoned to the Hampton Court Conference as ‘a great nonconformist and a pillar of puritanism’, but James I effected a complete change in his views, and he died a prebendary of Lincoln. Sparke’s father and uncle were also clergymen, the latter being chaplain to the first Duke of Buckingham, but both died just before the Civil War. It is not clear how Sparke obtained the town clerkship of Hertford at the early age of 23, though after his marriage to the coheir of a minor Hertfordshire gentry family, Lord Fanshawe (Sir Thomas Fanshawe II) called him ‘cousin’ admittedly when he was trying to raise a loan. However remote the kinship, it was probably on the Fanshawe interest that he was returned for Hertford in 1660, as an Anglican with no Cavalier record to disqualify him under the Long Parliament ordinance. He was presumably at the time resident in the town, where his younger son was buried in 1666. He was not an active Member of the Convention, being named to only four committees, those for continuing judicial proceedings, examining a breach of privilege by a newspaper, levying arrears of assessment and considering the petition of a former serjeant at arms. He did not stand again, and was replaced by (Sir) Edward Turnor in 1661. Fanshawe, as king’s remembrancer in the Exchequer, appointed Sparke his deputy in succession to his elder brother William. As steward (recorder), he had remained influential in borough elections, and when Turnor accepted a judgeship, it was Sparke who wrote to the corporation recommending Turnor’s son. In 1672, however, he joined with Marmaduke Rawdon, who had married the other North coheir, in selling Marden to Edmund Feilde, the successful candidate. He acted as surety for James Etheredge on 28 June 1676. Sparke died intestate at Hoddesdon, presumably at Rawdon’s house; his widow renounced administration, which was granted to his brother Christopher on 27 Aug. 1677. No surviving children are mentioned in the grant, and no other member of the family entered Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / E. R. Edwards


  • 1. Hants RO, Brown Candover par. reg.; I.T. Recs. iii. 74; Westminster Abbey Reg. (Harl. Soc. x), 2; Clutterbuck, Herts. ii. 171, 224.
  • 2. Chauncy, Herts. i. 492; Herts. Sess. Rolls, i. 273.
  • 3. Northants RO, FH 3325.
  • 4. Al. Ox. 1394-5; T. F. Kirby, Winchester Scholars, 156, 174; HMC Hodgkin, 60; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 162; VCH Herts. iii. 482; Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. i. 211, PCC admon. act bk. 1677, f. 99v.