KYNASTON, John (1664-1733), of Hordley and Hardwick, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. 21 Aug. 1664, 1st surv. s. of Edward Kynaston† of Hordley by Amy, da. and h. of Thomas Barker of Albrightlee, Salop. educ. Eton c.1679–83; St. John’s, Camb. 1683. m. (1) 22 Sept. 1686 (with £4,000), Beatrice (d. 1703), da. of Sir Vincent Corbet, 2nd Bt., of Moreton Corbet, Salop, sis. and h. of Sir Vincent Corbet, 3rd Bt. (d. 1688), 2s. 1da.; (2) 27 Oct. 1708, Anne, da. of Thomas Harwood of Tern, Salop, sis. of Thomas Hill† of Tern, 2s. 3da. suc. fa. 1693.1
Freeman, Much Wenlock 1684, Shrewsbury 1688, Ludlow 1690, mayor, Shrewsbury, 1695–6, 1700–1; sheriff, Salop 1689–90.2
Kynaston, or ‘John of the trousers’, as he was nicknamed by political enemies on account of a peculiarity in his dress, was for most of this period accounted the leader of the Shropshire Tories. His father had owned considerable property in and around Shrewsbury, and had sat for the borough as a Tory. Kynaston’s own first marriage produced an augmentation of these estates, his wife inheriting on the death of her brother the unentailed lands of the Corbets of Moreton Corbet, and he subsequently extended his holdings by a series of purchases. At his death the entailed part alone of his estate was estimated as being worth £8,000. In about 1712 he was able to build himself a new mansion at Hardwick, which became his principal seat.3
Kynaston first stood for Parliament in 1695, when he was returned unopposed with another Tory at Shrewsbury, in the place of his cousin Richard Mytton*. He and Mytton were thereafter returned at Shrewsbury without a contest in every general election until the end of William’s reign. Kynaston acted in Parliament with the Tories. He was forecast as a probable opponent of the government in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, and, after refusing at first to subscribe to the Association, he twice voted against the Court later in the year: in March over fixing the price of guineas at 22s., and on 25 Nov. on Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder. But he was in no way prominent in the Commons, either then or at any other time. On 4 Mar. 1697 he was given leave of absence. Re-elected in 1698, he was forecast as likely to oppose a standing army and was listed in about September as a member of the Country party. He was among those listed in February 1701 as likely to support the Court in agreeing with the committee of supply’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’. In February 1702 he presented a private bill to the House.
In the 1702 election Kynaston and Mytton were challenged at Shrewsbury by two Whigs, whom they defeated comfortably, Kynaston himself being returned at the top of the poll. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted against agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration, and in March 1704 he was forecast as likely to support the government’s actions in the Scotch Plot. Included in Harley’s lobbying list on the Tack, he voted against it or was absent on 28 Nov. 1704, and was given the description ‘Low Church’ in a parliamentary list of 1705. Returned unopposed at the next general election, he voted on 25 Oct. 1705 against the Court candidate for Speaker; and in early 1708 was listed as a Tory. Meanwhile he had introduced another private bill in November 1705 which he managed through all its stages in the Commons. In 1708 he and Mytton were once more faced with opposition at Shrewsbury, and again triumphed over their Whig opponents, Kynaston being again classed as a Tory in a list of the new Parliament. On this occasion, however, one of the defeated candidates petitioned, and eventually, on 20 Dec. 1709, the two Tories were unseated, the Commons endorsing a decision which had been taken in a spirit of blatant partisanship by the committee of elections. Even as strong a Whig as Arthur Maynwaring* considered the committee’s verdict to have been prejudiced. ‘Mr Kynaston’, he wrote, ‘was voted not duly elected without having one affirmative for him, though in truth there was not much to be said against him’.4
In 1710 Kynaston persuaded a young Tory squire, Robert Lloyd II*, the son of a former county Member, to stand with him for knight of the shire at the general election. They won both the county seats from the Whigs, and Kynaston topped the poll. He was reckoned as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’ of the new Parliament, and was included among the ‘worthy patriots’ who in the session of 1710–11 brought to light the mismanagements of the previous ministry. He was given leave of absence for a month on 29 Jan. 1711, and the next year was again given leave on 31 Jan. 1712 for his health and then on 3 May when his family had smallpox. By December 1712 he had decided not to stand for the county at the next election, but very soon afterwards one of the two prospective Tory candidates suddenly announced that he would not stand after all, and Kynaston agreed to take his place. In the following April a visitor to Hordley reported that Kynaston was ‘very well as was also his lady and children . . . Mr Kynaston was very glad to receive the news of the peace being signed’. In May 1713 he and Lloyd presented to the Queen an address from the gentlemen and freeholders of Shropshire thanking her for the peace and denouncing ‘factious’ critics of her ministry. At the election Kynaston was returned, but pushed into second place in the poll by the Whig candidate. He was classed as a Tory in the Worsley list.5
It was said that Kynaston’s second wife carried over to the Pretender in France contributions of money from Shropshire Jacobites, but unlike his eldest son, Corbet Kynaston*, he was not considered by the Jacobites in 1721 as likely to support a rising. Kynaston died on 10 Sept. 1733 and was buried at Hordley. In his will, dated 18 Feb. 1730, he disinherited his son Corbet of all except his entailed estates, in favour of Edward Kynaston†, the first son of his second marriage.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Salop Par. Reg. Soc. Lichfield dioc. vii. Hordley, pp. i, 12, 14, 15, 16, 25; PCC 113 Ockham.
- 2. Salop RO, Forester mss, copy of Much Wenlock corp. bk.; Shrewsbury Burgess Roll ed. Forrest, 178; Salop RO, Ludlow bor. recs. adm. of freemen; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc, ser. 1, xi. 197–8; CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 436.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. lii. 73; Mont. Colls. xv. 6; PCC 113 Ockham; Gent. Mag. (1733), p. 495.
- 4. Luttrell, Brief Relation, vi. 523; Parlty. Lists Early 18th Cent. ed. Newman, 82.
- 5. Staffs. RO, Bradford mss, Roger Owen to [–], 4 July 1710, Hon. Henry Newport* to Sir John Bridgeman, 3 Dec. 1712; Add. 70209, Sir John Astley to Ld. Oxford (Robert Harley), 15 Dec. 1712; Bradford mss at Weston Park, Sir John to Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 2nd Bt.*, 3 Jan. 1713; Salop RO, Attingham mss, John Dicken to Richard Hill, 8 Apr. 1713; London Gazette, 19–23 May 1713.
- 6. Owen and Blakeway, Hist. Shrewsbury, i. 508; Salop Par. Reg. Soc. 25; PCC 113 Ockham; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. ser. 2, vi. 217.