HICKMAN, Sir Willoughby, 3rd Bt. (1659-1720), of Gainsborough, Lincs.

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
15 Apr. - 11 Nov. 1701
28 Nov. 1702 - 17 Jan. 1706
1713 - 28 Oct. 1720

Family and Education

b. 20 Aug. 1659, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Hickman, 2nd Bt.†, of Gainsborough by Elizabeth, da. and h. of John Nevile of Mattersey Priory, Notts.  m. 11 Sept. 1683, Anne (d. 1701), da. and h. of Sir Stephen Anderson, 1st Bt., of Eyworth, Beds., 5s. (4 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.)  suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. Feb. 1682.1

Offices Held

Steward and keeper of manor and soke of Kirton in Lindsey, Lincs. 1682–9; freeman, Hull 1685.2


A Tory who had not supported the religious policies of James II, Hickman managed to retain the stewardship of Kirton after the Revolution, and on King William’s orders was appointed to the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire commissions of the peace. Although he resigned his office to Hon. Nicholas Saunderson* in 1689, only three years later he petitioned to be reinstated, but to no avail. Having relied on his family connexions to gain his only previous electoral victory at Kingston-upon-Hull, he secured a seat at East Retford in 1698 on his own interest, the estate of Mattersey, which he inherited from his mother, being only five miles from the borough. Soon afterwards he was classed as a Country supporter by a parliamentary observer, and appeared on a probable list of opponents of the standing army. He failed to be returned for East Retford in the first election of 1701, but was seated on petition, and was later blacklisted for opposing preparations for war with France. Again largely inconspicuous, he acted as a teller on 12 May to consider the report on the Lichfield election. He contested East Retford unsuccessfully in the second 1701 election, and this time his petition was rejected by the House.3

Hickman was seated on petition in 1702 and twice acted as a teller for the Tories: on 19 Jan. 1703, on the right of election at Tavistock, and on 28 Jan., that the Whig Thomas Jervoise* had not been duly elected for Plympton. On 13 Feb. he was a teller against agreeing to the Lords’ amendments to the bill for extending the time for taking the Abjuration. Four days later he told in favour of adding a clause to the bill to revive the Act for appointing commissioners of military debts and prizes. Forecast as a probable supporter of the Tack, he voted for it on 28 Nov. 1704. In the last session of this Parliament he was the principal manager of a bill for the augmentation of the vicarage at Gainsborough, the manor of which his family had held since 1596. Successful for East Retford in 1705, he was listed as ‘True Church’ and voted on 25 Oct. against the Court candidate for Speaker. He also told on 6 Dec. against the return of the Whig Thomas Clarke* at Hertford. However, in January 1706 he was himself unseated on petition.4

At the general election of 1710 Hickman promoted his son’s candidacy at East Retford, and actively sought to advance the Tory cause in his native county, heading a 150-strong crowd of clergymen to vote for the party’s candidates at the Lincolnshire contest. He did not put up at the East Retford by-election of April 1713, necessitated by the death of his son, but at the ensuing general election was returned for Lincolnshire. In that Parliament he was the principal manager of the militia bill, and told on 1 Apr. 1714 against adjourning all committees. Not surprisingly, three parliamentary lists classed him as a Tory. After securing his seat at the general election in 1715, he continued to support the Tories until his death on 28 Oct. 1720, in the wake of which his estate, part of which was held in trust by his ‘very good friends’ William Levinz* and John Stapylton*, passed to his only surviving son, Neville. Shortly before his death Sir Willoughby had sold his Mattersey lands, thereby breaking his interest at East Retford, but his heir still harboured parliamentary ambitions, unsuccessfully contesting Lincolnshire in 1724.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Perry Gauci


  • 1. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. li), 495.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 415; ix. 20, 93; W. J. Davies, ‘Trade and Shipping of Hull during the 17th Cent.’ (Wales Univ. M.A. thesis, 1937), App. D.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1689–90, pp. 69–70; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1957.
  • 4. Allen, Lincs. ii. 12.
  • 5. Add. 70421, newsletter 19 Oct. 1710; PCC 235 Buckingham.