BULLOCK, Edward (1663-1705), of Faulkbourne Hall, Faulkbourne, Essex

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
8 May - 6 Dec. 1705

Family and Education

bap. 24 Jun. 1663, 1st s. of Edward Bullock of Faulkbourne Hall by Elizabeth, da. and h. of William Bolton of Ullenhall, Warws.  educ. ?privately (John Ray) 1677–9; Newport sch. Essex; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1679; G. Inn 1682.  m. (1) Elizabeth (d. 1691), da. and coh. of Sir Mark Guyon of Coggeshall, Essex, 1da. d.v.p.; (2) 11 Feb. 1693, Mary (d. 1748), da. of Sir Josiah Child, 1st Bt.†, of Wanstead, Essex, sis. of Sir Josiah Child, 2nd Bt.†, and of Sir Richard Child, 3rd Bt.*, 5s. (?1 d.v.p.) 2da.  suc. fa. ?1671.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Maldon 1690, Colchester 1698.2


Bullock’s political influence stemmed almost entirely from his two marriages to wealthy heiresses. His first wife, who died in childbirth, was heir to the best part of Sir Mark Guyon’s extensive Essex estates, and the second was the daughter of Sir Josiah Child, the hugely wealthy governor of the East India Company. Bullock seems to have thought about exploiting his new alliance with Child to contest a by-election in Essex in 1694. He may well have hoped to win the support of Low Churchmen and Dissenters, since he had in early life probably come under the influence of John Ray, the naturalist, who refused to comply with the 1662 Act of Uniformity while remaining ‘a strict as well as pious and exemplary conformist to the established church’. Nevertheless, Sir John Marshall’s speculation that Bullock might be ‘persuaded to desist and not espouse the fanatic interest’ evidently proved correct. Marshall in fact believed that Child’s Whiggishness was curbing Bullock’s wish to support the candidates of the Church party, commenting that while he ‘durst not be active for us . . . he won’t appear against us’, and would adopt the stance of studied neutrality that he had apparently shown at the last election. Perhaps because of this half-hearted support for his father-in-law, Child’s ‘rant’, that he and Bullock could ‘carry the election for whom they please’, proved inaccurate, and the successful candidate was the High Church Tory Sir Charles Barrington, 5th Bt.*3

Bullock continued to lack the resolve to enter the fray of local or national politics, for he fined off from holding the county shrievalty when nominated in December 1694, a reluctance to accept the office that was repeated in 1695, 1701 and 1703. His hesitancy was again evident at the time of the 1695 election when, although ‘he had said if the gentlemen [of the county] set him up he would stand’, he refused to offer himself as a candidate when asked to do so, presumably because he was unwilling to offend Child. However, the fact that he was even considered as a colleague for Barrington against two Whigs suggests that he had been, and still was, involved in a delicate balancing act between the county’s factions, and that his own politics were of a very moderate nature. Nevertheless, by the 1698 election he had reconsidered his position and decided to stand with Barrington, although it was observed by Sir John Bramston† that the Church party backed him, in part to recognize his acquired wealth and status, but also to use them to ‘overbalance the interest of Sir Francis Masham, 3rd Bt.*, and Mr [Benjamin] Mildmay’. Since Bullock also had the official support of Bishop Compton of London, the plan ‘took effect’ and he was duly elected.4

Following the 1698 election Bullock was listed as a Country supporter on the comparative analysis of the old and new Houses of Commons, and was probably forecast in August 1698 as likely to oppose a standing army. It is very likely that he was the Mr Bullock who twice accompanied Hon. James Brydges* to the Tory club at the Vine in February 1699, yet he was also careful to maintain good relations with his father-in-law since it was no doubt on Child’s behalf that on 27 Feb. he was among those ordered to prepare and bring in a bill for the continuation of the Old East India Company. Bullock must therefore have felt slightly aggrieved when, having performed this service, his wife was not left a legacy on Sir Josiah’s death in June. Bullock was, however, marked as being of the East India Company’s interest in a categorization of MPs drawn up early in 1700, along with his frequent companion Brydges, who may have seen in his friendship a way into the company’s concerns. Bullock’s brother John had by this time entered Parliament, so that it is difficult to be certain that it was Edward who presented a bill to the House on 5 Feb. 1700 for suspending the bounty money granted on the exportation of corn, which received the Royal Assent only four days later.5

Bullock’s indecisiveness about his loyalties helped lose him his seat at the next election. At the beginning of December 1700 it had been reported that he would ‘leave off Sir Charles Barrington’ and join Masham, ‘so that he does unite with the Dissenting party’; but on 7 Jan. 1701 Bishop Compton officially backed the combination of Barrington and Bullock for the Church interest. The rivalry between the Old and New East India companies, which was ‘the greatest distinction in and about London’, further damaged his campaign. It was noted that in Essex the supporters of the Old Company were ‘great sufferers’, and Bullock, who was known to be ‘zealous for the cause’, failed to secure re-election. He tried to regain his seat in the second election of 1701, once more with the sanction of Bishop Compton, who emphasized that the honour and safety of the nation depended on the return of ‘good men’, but was unsuccessful, perhaps because a rumour that he intended to ‘run in harness’ with the Whig Masham had characteristically blurred his position.6

By December 1704 Bullock seems finally to have deserted the High Church Tories and joined the Whigs since he is most likely to have been the Mr Bullock who met with others in Essex to agree on the joint ticket of Masham and Lord Walden (Henry Howard*) in order to oust Barrington. No longer seeking to represent the county himself, he was returned for Colchester in May 1705. Marked as a ‘gain’ for the Whigs by the Earl of Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*), he justified the ascription by voting on 25 Oct. for the Court candidate as Speaker, and his ‘Low Church’ sympathies were also noted on another analysis of MPs. He died some six weeks later on 6 Dec. His will conveyed the estate of Dynes Hall to his brother, who had occupied it for some time, and several of his outlying properties were sold to discharge debts that may have been incurred by his own extensive building work on the east front of Faulkbourne Hall. His eldest son, Edward, dying without issue, the estate passed to the next son, Josiah, who, as befitted his name, took advantage of the family’s links with the Childs to develop mercantile interests, marrying the youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Cooke*, governor of the East India Company and himself a former MP for Colchester.7

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: M.J.K


  • 1. IGI; Vis. Essex ed. Metcalfe, ii. 646–7; Morant, Essex, ii. 118; Burke, Commoners, ii. 622; Essex Review, xxxvi. 131; L. C. Bullock, Mem. Fam. Bullock (1905), ped. A; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 214.
  • 2. Essex RO, Maldon bor. recs. sessions bk. D/B3/1/23, entry for 20 Oct. 1690; Oath Bk. of Colchester ed. Benham, 232.
  • 3. DNB (Ray, John); W. Suss. RO, Shillinglee mss Ac. 454/558–60, Sir John Marshall to Sir Edward Turnor*, 22 Jan., 15, ?21 Feb. 1694.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1702–3, p. 523; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 392, 406; Camb. Univ. Lib. Add. mss 5, f. 209.
  • 5. Huntington Lib. Stowe mss 28(1–2), James Brydges’ diary (unfol.), 13, 17 Feb. 1699; Add. 40774, ff. 70–71.
  • 6. Essex RO, Barrett-Lennard mss D/DL C48, C. Clarke to Dacre Barrett, 5 Dec. [1700]; Camb. Univ. Lib. Add. mss 5, ff. 215, 219; Bodl. Ballard 6, f. 35; Bodl. Locke c12, f. 158.
  • 7. Essex Review, xx. 173; Bullock, 34, 38.