BETTESWORTH, Peter (1676-1738), of Brockenhurst, Hants.

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



1698 - 1700

Family and Education

bap. 21 Nov. 1676, o. s. of Peter Bettesworth of Chidden, Hants by his 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Elias Roberts of Hayes, Mdx.  educ. travelled abroad (Holland) 1693.  m. 14 July 1698, Sandys, da. of Sir James Worsley of Pylewell, Hants, sis. of Sir James Worsley, 5th Bt.*, 1s.  suc. fa. 1689.1

Offices Held

Capt. William Evans’ Ft. 1706–13, half-pay, 1713; a.d.c. to ld. lt. [I] 1716–17; maj. and capt. regt. of George, Lord Forrester (later 30 Ft.), 1717, lt.-col. 1718–32; dep. gov. Jersey by 1738.2

Freeman, Lymington 1705.3


Descended from a junior branch of the Bettesworths of Fyning, Sussex, Bettesworth’s grandfather settled at Chidden about ten miles from Petersfield. Bettesworth’s uncle, Thomas Bettesworth, was a captain in Colonel Richard Norton’s* regiment in the Parliamentary army, and was appointed governor of Calshot Castle, near Southampton, in the 1650s. His father, a younger son, was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1649 and lived there until at least 1670, later returning to Chidden, and serving as a major in the Hampshire militia in the reign of Charles II. His will, dated 17 Dec. 1683 and proved 9 Jan. 1689, directed all his lands at Chidden and whatever of the personalty necessary to be sold to pay his debts, and named his good friends Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Norton and Richard Holt* as trustees of the will and guardians of his son. Although he was distantly related to the Bilson family of West Mapledurham, who possessed electoral influence in Petersfield, Bettesworth’s connexion to Holt was probably the more important influence. In the summer of 1693, no doubt as part of his education, Bettesworth made a journey to Holland in the company of Holt and Charles Mompesson*. Holt may also have arranged Bettesworth’s marriage into one of the more prominent Hampshire families in July 1698 and in the same year he retired in favour of Bettesworth at Petersfield.4

Returned unopposed, Bettesworth was classed as a member of the Country party in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments drawn up in about September 1698 but did not vote on 8 Jan. 1699 for the bill for disbanding the army. No significant parliamentary activity is recorded for Bettesworth and an analysis of the House into interests in January–May 1700 could only mark him as doubtful, or, possibly, as opposition. However, his vote in the 1705 Hampshire elections, when he plumped for one Whig candidate, Thomas Jervoise*, indicates his political sympathies. He did not stand at any subsequent election, and thereafter seems to have run into financial difficulties. In 1706 he applied for an army captaincy, describing himself in a letter to the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†) as ‘a gentleman of a good estate and family in the county of Southampton and who has served his country as MP and j.p. with good reputation’. The request was successful and he obtained a company in a regiment of foot. On 15 Dec. 1709 he successfully petitioned the Lords for a bill enabling him to sell lands in Hambledon which had been settled on his wife at their marriage, and to raise £1,600 out of the tithes of Kirdford in Sussex to discharge his debts and settle an estate at Kirdford on his family. The bill received the Royal Assent on 27 Feb. 1710. His regiment was disbanded in 1713 and he endured a spell on half pay until he was appointed in 1716 to the staff of the Irish lord justices and subsequently given the lieutenant-colonelcy of a foot regiment. He was eventually made deputy governor of Jersey, where he died on 13 Feb. 1738.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Sonya Wynne


  • 1. IGI, Hants; Berry, Hants Gen. 208; Mar. Lic. Vicar-Gen. (Harl. Soc. xxiii), 105, 174; CSP. Dom. 1693, p. 236; PCC admon. Apr. 1738; PCC 2 Ent.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. 1738, p. 109.
  • 3. E. King, Old Times Revisited, Lymington, 192.
  • 4. Berry, 208; G. N. Godwin, Civil War in Hampshire, 232–3, 311–12, 318, 368, 378; Black Bks. L. Inn, ii. 404; L. Inn Adm. 259; Mar. Lic. Vicar-Gen. 105, 174; CSP. Dom. 1678–80, p. 60; 1693, p. 236; PCC 2 Ent; Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. lxxxix), 10–11.
  • 5. Hants Poll 1705 (IHR), 56; Dalton, Army of Geo. I, ii. 156n; HMC Lords, n.s. viii. 321; LJ, xix. 19–20; Gent. Mag. 1738, p. 109.