ADDERLEY, William (d.1693), of Lincoln’s Inn, and East Burnham, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



17 May 1690 - June 1693

Family and Education

3rd s. of William Adderley of Colney Hatch, Mdx. by Margaret, da. and h. of Edmund Eyre of East Burnham.  educ. L. Inn 1658, called 1670.  m. bef. 1666, Sarah, 4s. 2da.  suc. fa. 1664.1

Offices Held

Collector sixpenny writs in Chancery 1668–9; cursitor, Beds. and Bucks. by 1671–?83; examiner in Chancery May 1685–Aug. 1691.2

Clerk of the peace, Mdx. 1673–83; commr. recusants, Bucks. 1675.3


Although only the third son, Adderley was heir to his father’s property in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, including lands at Burnham and New Windsor, because his elder brothers had taken the name Eyre in order to inherit the estates of their maternal grandfather, Edmund Eyre (d. 1650). Having trained as a lawyer, Adderley seems to have preferred a career in legal administration. In September 1668 he received a commission to collect the profits of sixpenny writs in Chancery at an annual rent of £1,400. This position only lasted for a year, but it was probably a mere adjunct to his Chancery office as cursitor for Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire which he was recorded by Chamberlayne as holding in 1671, the first year such details were noticed. As these officials were responsible for making out the writs of course which kept the ordinary law courts functioning there was an obvious link with his role in 1668–9. In 1673 he was probably the William Adderley who was appointed clerk of the peace for Middlesex. Other activities included appointment to the commission of 1675 for seizing two-thirds of recusants’ lands in Buckinghamshire, an activity entirely compatible with his willingness in 1679 to act as a surety for Richard Deerham, the receiver of recusant estates north of the Trent. Rather surprisingly, he is recorded as resigning from the clerkship of the peace in 1683, and it is possible that he relinquished his place as cursitor (worth as much as £1,300) at the same date because although Chamberlayne records him as in situ in 1682, he was out by 1687. In the early months of James II’s reign he was named as an examiner in Chancery, a place he retained until 1691. His response to the events of James II’s reign is unknown: indeed when the ‘three questions’ were asked in Buckinghamshire it was noted that, although a deputy-lieutenant, he had never been sworn into office.4

No evidence survives concerning Adderley’s attitude to the Revolution of 1688, although he contested the elections for the Convention at New Windsor. He was probably a Tory, for when he petitioned Parliament his target was Henry Powle*, the Whig Speaker, rather than the other successful candidate, Sir Christopher Wren*. Some contemporary observers saw his challenge as inspired by Tory manoeuvres to remove Powle from the Chair, but Adderley chose to fight on the principle of a wide franchise for the borough. Although the House upheld Powle’s election, Adderley was eventually to prove his point. On 17 Dec. 1689 he provided the Lords with information on the fees taken by the examiners in Chancery. Defeated again at New Windsor at the general election of 1690, he petitioned successfully on the issue of the franchise, being seated on 17 May 1690. His name appears on Lord Carmarthen’s (Sir Thomas Osborne†) list of December 1690, probably indicating his support for the embattled chief minister in case of an opposition attack in the Commons. In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed Adderley as a Court supporter. However, Adderley’s impact on the House was minimal and he made no recorded speeches. He was buried at East Burnham on 28 June 1693.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 221; VCH Bucks. iii. 175; IGI, London; Coll. Top. et Gen. iv. 287.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1667–8, p. 588; 1668–9, p. 607; HMC Lords, ii. 327.
  • 3. Stephens, Clerks of Counties 13601960, p. 127; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 788.
  • 4. PCC 65 Grey, 110 Mico; Coll. Top. et Gen. 278; CSP Dom. 1667–8, p. 588; 1668–9, p. 607; Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 439, 619; iii. 285; iv. 788; vi. 72; G. E. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 223; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1883), 145.
  • 5. HMC Lords, ii. 327; Coll. Top. et Gen. 287.