STONEHOUSE, Francis (1653-1738), of Stock House, Great Bedwyn, Wilts and Hungerford Park, Berks.
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Family and Education
bap. 19 Oct. 1653, 1st s. of Duke Stonehouse*. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1671, BA (Oriel) 1674, MA 1677; M. Temple 1673. m. aft. 1699 (with £5,000), Mary, da. and coh. of George Evelyn I of Wotton, Surr., 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1663.1
Commr. for assessment, Wilts. 1677-80, 1689-90, rebels’ estates 1686, j.p. 1689-?d., dep. lt. by 1696-?d.2
Stonehouse, whose patrimony was but modest, seems originally to have envisaged an academic or clerical career. He probably entered politics only to break the dependence of his native town on the Bruce interest. In so doing he ‘disappointed’ Daniel Finch ‘not fairly’, was marked ‘honest’ by Shaftesbury and may even have been admitted to the Green Ribbon Club; but he served on no committees in the first Exclusion Parliament, and was absent from the division on the bill. Nevertheless he retained his seat in August 1679, and became a moderately active Member of the second Exclusion Parliament. He was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and to those for the bill to regulate parliamentary elections and for a local estate bill. After this, he was out of Parliament for 14 years. He served on the Wiltshire jury which acquitted Edward Nosworthy II in 1684, and was present at the brawl which ensued, but was not held to be implicated in the death of the foreman, Sir William Estcourt. His appointment to the commission for the land forfeited by Monmouth’s supporters suggests a strongly Tory attitude; but after the Revolution he was at once appointed to the commission of the peace, and signed the Association in 1696. By 1701 he was again a Tory, bringing in Charles Davenant at Great Bedwyn. After retiring from Parliament in 1705 and generally supporting the Bruce interest under Queen Anne, he opposed it at the general election of 1715. He was buried at Hungerford on 8 June 1738, aged 84, a much more prosperous man than his father had ever been, but the last of the family to sit in Parliament.3