WALKER, James (c.1635-92), of Exeter, Devon.

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

b. c.1635, 4th s. of Robert Walker by 2nd w. and bro. of Thomas Walker. m. lic. 15 Aug. 1676, Dorothy (d. 27 Aug. 1677), da. of Thomas Southcote of Dowlish Hayes. Kilmington, 1da.1

Offices Held

Capt. Barbados Dgns. 1672-4; col. Jamaica 1686-90; gov. of Port Royal ?1686-90.2

Collector of customs, Exeter 1676-9, freeman 1676, commr. for assessment 1677-9, 1689, alderman 1684-7, mayor 1684-5.3

Member of assembly, Nevis 1681-3, council 1684, Jamaica 1686-Nov. 1688, 1689-90.4


It is not clear whether Walker’s association with the Caribbean preceded his service in the Barbados Dragoons, a regiment which during its brief existence was based entirely in England, despite its name. As a captain, he commanded an expedition which subdued the Indians in St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Dominica. His brother obtained a post for him in the Exeter custom-house, but he was dismissed in 1679 for ‘having kept the King’s money in his hands so long’ A payment of £1,500 from his brother on his behalf was accepted by the Treasury in 1680, and Walker went abroad. In Nevis he acted as Speaker of the assembly, but he returned to England in 1684 and was nominated mayor of Exeter in the new charter. Though a sound Churchman like all his family, he quarrelled with Bishop Lamplugh about his seat in the cathedral. But this did not prevent the dean and four of the chapter from signing his indenture when he was returned for the city as a Tory in 1685. An inactive Member of James II’s Parliament, he was named only to the committee on the bill for establishing a land registry. Although the King expressed confidence in his ‘care and zeal’ during Monmouth’s rebellion, he probably went into Opposition in the second session, and was removed from the corporation in 1687. He had already returned to the West Indies, where his kinsman the 2nd Duke of Albemarle (Christopher Monck) made him governor of Port Royal and a member of the Jamaica council. After Albemarle’s death he was suspended for using ‘the most disrespectful language’ to the chief justice, which was considered as an affront to the King, and he left the island in 1690. He died on 16 Jan. 1692 and was buried at St. Mary Arches. Although the family remained prominent residents of Exeter throughout the 18th century, and produced the author of The Sufferings of the Clergy in 1714, none of them entered Parliament.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: J. S. Crossette


  • 1. Trans. Devon Assoc. xlviii. 291; lxi. 213; PCC 153 Pye.
  • 2. CSP Col. 1669-74, p. 344; 1685-8, p. 259; B. F. Cresswell, Churches of Exeter, 106.
  • 3. Cal. Treas, Bks. v. 1247-8, vi. 118; Exeter Freemen (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. extra ser. i), 168; A. Jenkins, Hist. Exeter, 177, 181.
  • 4. CSP Col. 1681-5, p. 30; 1685-8 pp. 259, 617; 1689-92, pp. 59, 316; V. L. Oliver, Caribbeana, iv. 41.
  • 5. CSP Col. 1681-5, pp. 671, 771; 1685-8, pp. 604, 618; 1689-92, p. 316; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 1247-8; vi. 118, 440-1; Trans. Devon Assoc. lxxvii. 34; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 200; Cresswell, 106; Exeter corp. act bk. 13, f. 11.