WARWICK, Sir Philip (1609-83), of Westminster and Frognal, Chislehurst, Kent.

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



Nov. 1640 - 5 Feb. 1644

Family and Education

b. 24 Dec. 1609, o.s. of Thomas Warrock, organist of Westminster Abbey, by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of John Somerville of Aston Somerville, Warws. educ. Eton c.1623; travelled abroad (France and Switzerland). m. (1) settlement 2 Apr. 1634, Dorothy (d. 6 Aug. 1644), da. of Matthew Hutton of Marske, Yorks., 1s.; (2) 1647, Joan, da. of Sir Henry Fanshawe of Ware Park, Herts., wid. of Sir William Boteler, 1st Bt., of Teston, Kent, s.p. suc fa. 1651; kntd. June/July 1660.1

Offices Held

Sec. to Ld. Treas. Juxon 1636-41, Ld. Treas. Southampton June 1660-7; clerk of the signet 1638-46, May 1660-d.2

Commr. for sewers, Lincs. 1639, Kent 1640, Sept. 1660, Westminster Aug. 1660; j.p. Kent July 1660-d., commr. for corporations 1662-3; asst. Rochester Bridge 1665-77, warden 1665, 1672; commr. for assessment, Mdx. and Kent 1673-80, recusants 1675.3


Warwick’s father, of Herefordshire origin, combined his post at Westminster Abbey with that of organist of the Chapel Royal. Warwick passed from the service of the courtier Lord Goring to that of Bishop Juxon when he became lord treasurer in 1636. In the Long Parliament he voted against Strafford’s attainder. He fought as a volunteer at Edgehill, and carried out two missions to the northern Royalists; but he was disabled only when he took his seat in the Oxford Parliament. After helping to negotiate the capitulation of the city in 1646, he acted as Charles I’s secretary at Hampton Court and Carisbrooke. After the King’s execution he compounded at £241 on the Oxford articles for property in Westminster, Kent and Gloucestershire. He held aloof from conspiracy, although he was imprisoned on suspicion in 1655. However, he was a moderate, who advocated just before the Restoration that the King should meet the Presbyterians half-way, and even that ‘the King ought to give away the crown, church and sequestrated lands’, much to Mordaunt’s indignation. In December 1659 he was employed by the King’s party to negotiate with Lambert, and acted as treasurer of a large sum of money collected in England for the royalist cause. Hyde commended his loyalty, writing that ‘the King knows very well Mr Warwick’s affection and zeal for his service and his abilities to promote it’.4

After the Restoration, Warwick resumed his post as clerk of the signet, and acted as secretary to the Treasury some months before Southampton’s appointment as lord treasurer. Burnet wrote that Southampton

left the business of the Treasury wholly in the hands of his secretary, Sir Philip Warwick, who was an honest, but a weak man. He understood the common road of the Treasury, but, though he pretended to wit and politics, he was not cut out for that.

He failed to regain his Welsh seat at the general election of 1661, but he was successful after a contest at Westminster, where the abbey interest was entirely at his disposal through his friend, Dean Earle. Listed as a friend by Lord Wharton, he was an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, with 49 recorded speeches and 258 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges in every session. He was among those ordered to make a list of the Members receiving the sacrament at the corporate commission on 26 May, to attend the conferences on the King’s marriage and the letter from the Scottish Parliament, and to recommend expunctions from the Journal of the Long Parliament. He was named to all the committees for the Clarendon Code, and took the chair for two important bills in the first session, those for the security of the King’s person and against tumultuous petitioning. On 18 June he reported to the House a serious shortfall in the revenue, amounting to more than £265,000 out of the £1,200,000 budget, and he was the first Member appointed to the committee to recommend means by which it might be best and most effectually supplied. During July he carried to the Lords the tumultuous petitioning bill, the ecclesiastical commission bill, and two bills for recovering public moneys levied under the Commonwealth. On 25 July he was ordered to bring in a bill confirming several statutes made in the Convention, including the Navigation Act. After the autumn recess he was among those sent to ask the King when he would receive a petition for a proclamation requiring the disbanded soldiers to leave London. In 1662 he helped to manage conferences on the bill for executing those under attainder, on regulating the customs, and on public accounts not covered by the Act of Indemnity. He was chairman for the bill to encourage the cultivation of flax and hemp, and, together with William Prynne and Sir Thomas Meres, amended a Lords’ proviso to the bill for relief of loyal and indigent officers.5

In 1663 Warwick obtained leave to build a house for himself on the emplacement of the old road from Charing Cross to St. James’s Palace, as he had ‘daily occasion to attend the Court, and is much inconvenienced by having no lodgings near’, and his son was granted two reversions to office. When Parliament met he was sent to ask the lord treasurer to stay process against John George. He had again to acknowledge a deficiency in the revenue, which, even with the hearth-tax, amounted to only £978,000. In an attempt to forestall complaints of extravagance he went on to announce that the Government intended to reduce ordinary expenditure to £1,086,000, and asked for a further supply to bridge the gap. But the Commons were now in a ‘peevish’ mood; they convinced themselves that the existing revenue could be improved by increased efficiency to within a few thousands of Warwick’s revised budget, and refused to vote any permanent increase in taxation. He was sent to ask the King for the strict enforcement of the Navigation Act, and helped to manage the conference of 23 July on the bill to prevent abuses in the collection of excise. Listed as a court dependant in 1664, he took the trouble before the session to explain the Government’s financial problem to Samuel Pepys, who found him after over two hours’ conversation on the subject ‘a most exact and methodical man, and of great industry’, and on further acquaintance praised his goodness and piety. He was appointed to the committee for the conventicles bill and helped to manage a conference, and was again sent to Southampton, this time to ask him to take steps for preserving the timber in the Forest of Dean. Holding that the subsidies were a most ridiculous and most unequal tax, he hoped to persuade Parliament in the autumn to vote an assessment of £70,000 a month for the duration of the war with the Dutch, despite the undertaking in the Act of 1661 to abandon this form of taxation. He served on the joint delegation from both Houses to thank the King for his defence of English interests, and as chairman of the committee to revise county tax assessments for the royal aid (as the new tax was to be described) he presented four reports. On 26 Sept. 1666 he gave the House a full statement of public accounts. He was again among those ordered to take note of those who received the sacrament, and he was appointed to the delegation to present the address against French imports. He also carried two further messages to Southampton asking for the transfer of some £3,000 from the Exchequer to the loyal and indigent officers fund.6

In May 1667, with the death of Southampton, whom he attended devotedly to the last, Warwick’s official connexion with the Treasury ceased. Burnet described him as an incorrupt man, who made ‘but an ordinary fortune’ during the seven years in which he had managed it unsupervised. He appears to have gained over £2,000 a year from the post; but the charge in A Seasonable Argument that ‘he got artificially from Treasurer Southampton and the King £40,000’ must be grossly exaggerated. He retained his clerkship of the signet, and his activity in the House was little reduced, though he was of course less prominent. In the next session he was appointed to the committees to inquire into restraints on juries, to prevent the growth of Popery, and to legalize the transfer of Exchequer bills. He was chairman for a bill to amend the Navigation Act by naturalizing prize ships. At the instance of Southampton’s nephew Robert Spencer he vigorously denied that Clarendon had usurped the functions of the lord treasurer, nor could the customs farm have been obtained by bribery, ‘because the bargain did not deserve it’; but he was named to the committee to banish and disable the fallen minister. Under examination by the public accounts committee, according to William Garway, he ‘brought in £60,000 pensions, and in a little book "for secret service" in one folio there wer fifty items for secret services for Members of this House'. On 11 Feb. 1668 he was sent to ask the lord chief baron to expedite a trial in Exchequer concerning the Forest of Dean. He opposed the concessions proposed for nonconformists:

If we could so relax the law as not to loose the law he would willingly condescend to some indulgence. ... If I prove that a man need not scruple anything in the Church, why should he be further indulged? Would have care taken, that after indulgence they got not a footing to destroy the whole. 'Tis an unreasonable thing to pass a vote that some condescensions may be before we know what.

Although he had been no friend to Sir George Carteret* while in office, he defended him in the debate of 20 Nov. 1669 on the report from the public accounts commission, largely out of concern for the prerogative, and helped (Sir) Robert Long* to prepare an answer to the commission's charges that money had been diverted from the war. In March 1670 he was among those appointed to consider the renewal of the Conventicles Act and to manage a conference on a naturalization bill. He took the chair for a private bill on behalf of Southampton's widow. In April 1671 he helped to manage a conference on the Barbados sugar duty and to prepare reasons why the Lords should not be allowed to alter the rates of taxes. He was listed as a court supporter by both the Government and Opposition at this time.7

On 24 Feb. 1673 Warwick expressed his satisfaction with the King's answer to the address on the Declaration of Indulgence, even though it defended the suspending power. 'It answers all your ends', he said, 'and he would have it recorded, and the King thanked'. On the proposal for relief for Protestant dissenters, he displayed his staunch Anglicanism declaring that he 'would not have ecclesia in ecclesia, imperium in imperio', and moving that 'there may be a test upon persons to sit in this House, that the Church may not be destroyed'. Nevertheless he was prepared to modify the abjuration of the Covenant, and was named to the committee for the bill of ease; but when it was reported he declared himself 'perfectly' opposed to it. He also helped to prepare an address in the state of Ireland; but the measure which probably interested him most in this session was the bill for better observation of the martyrdom of 'his master' Charles I. On 29 Jan. 1674 he was added to the committee for the general test bill. In April 1675 he brought a bill for restraint of buildings, inmates and enclosures near London and Westminster, which was 'long debated', but the House ordered its withdrawal, and appointed a committee, to which he was named, to bring in a new billor bills. 'What offended them', wrote Sir Edward Dering*, 'was the power licensing reserved to the King.' In the same month Warwick was named to the committees to draw up a bill for the suppression of Popery and to consider the bill disabling Papists from sitting in either House of Parliament. He now resided chiefly in Chislehurst, having sold his Westminster house, and in September he received the government whip. He was also one of the 'country gentlemen' consulted by Danby before the autumn session. On 21 Oct. he was given leave to bring in a bill to establish a suburban 'court of conscience' for small claims. He was named to the committees for the bills to appropriate the customs to the use of the navy and to prevent the growth of Popery. His name was on the working lists and the list of government speakers, but Sir Richard Wiseman* wrote to Danby: 'I wish your lordship would think of some way to make this gentleman industrious and hearty in the service'. A pension of £100 to his son was no doubt intended to achieve this. Warwick devoted the long recess to writing his Memoirs up to the Restoration 'from a frail memory and some ill-digested notes'. Published posthumously, they aroused Burnet's scorn, and cannot compete with Clarendon in philosophical profundity or Burnet himself in psychological insight; but his account of the King's captivity and execution is of value.8

When Parliament met again in 1677 Shaftesbury marked Warwick 'thrice vile' and the author of A Seasonable Argument alleged that he 'never lies more than when he profeses to speak the sincerity of his heart'. He was appointed to the committees on the bills to recall British subjects from the French service, to prevent illegal exactions, and to provide the Protestant education of the royal children. His bill for a suburban 'court of conscience', with its jurisdiction now confined to the city and liberties of Westminster, received its second reading in 2 Apr., and he was the first Member named to the committee. Outraged by 'the trumpet of sedition' sounded by (Sir) Edward Bayntun* in the debate on foreign policy of 23 May he asked: 'What will the world think of us, to fall so particularly into a diffident [i.e. mistrustful] answer to the King's speech? Though we are his great council, we are not his directors.' Nevertheless he was named to the committee to draw up an address for an alliance against France. During the summer Danby considered appointing Warwick as auditor of the Exchequer in place of the mutinous Sir Robert Howard*, ostensibly to assist him in the Treasury but probably only as a stop-gap until Peregrine Osborne* came of age. In any event Howard retained the office. On the 29th anniversary of Chalres I's execution Warwick took the chair in the grand committee set up to consider the solemn reburial of the King's remains, and it continued to meet at invervals up to 22 Mar. 1678, but no legislation resulted. On the following day he acted as teller for the only time, in favour of a motion to hear counsel for the Hon. William Russell*, who had inherited Southampton's Bloomsbury estate, against the proposed tax on new buildings. Ironically enough, his lifelong loyalty to the Stuarts was now subjested by the French advance on the Continent to its severest strain. 'I have feared the greatest of the French King these forty years', he told the House; 'and in my last master's time they had great correspondence in Court, and found casements to look in at.' He was appointed to the committee to summarize the alliances on 30 May, but he does not seem to have attended, for when Henry Powle* reported four days later Warwick said:

Being unacquainted with anything of this till this morning, I am not able to say much to it. It falls short, I confess, of what I expected. As I have ever had Mr [Henry] Coventry* in great esteem, so now, most especially for hsi frankness in this matter. I beleive that if ever the nation was in danger, it is now. ... I speak with no relation but to my prince and country equally in my eye; and I would addrss the King to resume the treaty, and I beleive all the powers in Christendom will stand by us if we enter into a war with the King of France [sic].

Warwick must have been deeply moved to forget to style Louis XIV 'the French King', as English claims required, but his sentiments were acceptabke to the House that he was not called to order. Warwick's maternal grandfather had been sentenced to death in 1583 for undertaking the assissination of Queen Elizabeth, and it is hardly surprising that Warwick gave credence to the revelations of Titus Oates. 'I believe Popery is a confedaracy against God and against the kingdom', he said, and he was among those appointed to search the cellars after information had been received that the Papists would make another attempt to blow up Parliament. He carried up Lord Petre's impeachment, and voted for the impeachment of Danby, though he was on both lists of court supporters. He did not stand again and died on 15 Jan. 1683. He was buried at Chislehurst, the only member of the family to sit in Parliament. besides the Memoirs, his Discourses of Government, written in 1678 in defence of the royal prerogative and the 'peaceable, sober, truly Christian Church of England doctrine', were published after the Revolution.9

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. DNB; Mems. St. Margaret’s Westminster, 79, 629; Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. lxi), 174; Fanshawe Mems. 65.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 301; 1638-9, p. 103.
  • 3. SP16/437/13; C181/5/336, 7/46; Eg. 2895, f. 66; information from Mr P. F. Cooper, Bridge Clerk, Rochester Bridge Trust.
  • 4. DNB; Keeler, Long Parl. 380; D. Underdown, Royalist Conspiracy, 307-8; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 567, 510, 561.
  • 5. Burnet, i. 171; BL Loan 29/90, Thomas to Sir Edward Harley, 18 Mar. 1661; CJ, viii. 248, 252, 255, 257, 355, 418, 428, 433; D. R. Chandaman, Eng. Pub. Revenue, 203.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 358; 1670, p. 678; Survey of London, xxix. 323, 427; CJ, viii. 530, 562, 577, 628; Chandaman, 204-5; Pepys Diary, 29 Feb., 22 Nov. 1664, 28 May 1665.
  • 7. Pepys Diary, 3 May 1665, 13 May 1667; Burnet, i. 171; S. Baxter, Development of the Treasury, 177; CJ, ix. 35, 150, 154, 253; C. Wise, Rockingham Castle, 90; Milward, 101, 123; Grey, i. 111; 178-9; ii. 316-17; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 154, 341.
  • 8. Grey, ii. 55, 89; Dering, 125; CJ, ix. 264; Dering Pprs. 65; Survey of London, xxix, 427; CSP Dom, 1676-7, p. 480; Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 629; 540, 543, 1457; DNB.
  • 9. Grey, iv. 363; v. 230, 300; vi. 147, 325; CJ, ix. 424, 461; Browning, Danby, i. 246; ii. 69; Gent. Mag. lx. 782.