MACHELL, John (1637-1704), of Hills Place, Horsham, Suss.

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



Mar. 1681
1685 - 1687
1689 - 1700

Family and Education

b. 1 May 1637, 1st s. of Mathew Machell of Cobham, Surr. by his 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Simon Caryll.  educ. I. Temple 1655.  m. 11 Dec. 1666, Helen, da. and coh. of Gervase Warmestry, registrar of Worcester dioc., 2s.  d.v.p. 2da.  suc. fa. 1681.1

Offices Held

Burgess, Horsham ?1681.

Commr. wine licences 1690–1.2


Machell owned a number of properties at Horsham, including at least one burgage, which gave him a strong electoral interest in the borough. Returned again in 1690, he was classed as a Whig and Court supporter by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). Supporting an increase in the duty on wine on 18 Jan. 1692, he said:

Because there are arts used to bring in French wines, I desire we may lay £4 a tun above all other duties upon red wine. This will raise a good sum. Your French wines after the beginning of your prohibition Act were sold at 2d. a quart there. They are now rose to 6d. a quart by reason they have found ways to bring them in here under other names. But by laying this duty on all manner of red wines you will come at them.

On 19 Jan. he spoke in favour of a quarterly levy of 10s. on all tradesmen with an estate of £300 or more, and on 26 Jan. opposed the bill for the repair of highways. The next day he was allowed leave of absence for the recovery of his health, but he had returned by 18 Feb. when he tried unsuccessfully to secure a requirement for all tradesmen to take the oaths. He both spoke and acted as teller on 22 Feb. in favour of the bill enabling Quakers to make solemn affirmation instead of taking the oaths. In the 1692–3 session, he spoke on 1 Mar. 1693 against the Lords’ bill to indemnify Privy Councillors for the arrests and other extraordinary measures ordered in the spring of 1692, when a French invasion had been feared. He was classed as a Court supporter in Grascome’s list of 1693. In the following session, despite his consistent support for the Whigs, Machell seems to have been disturbed by the partisan nature of the evidence against the Tory admirals, Henry Killigrew* and Sir Ralph Delaval*, for their part in the loss of the Smyrna convoy, and on 29 Nov. 1693 he questioned the honesty of one of the chief prosecution witnesses, John Rutter, who claimed to have brought word to the admirals that the Brest fleet had put to sea. The following session, having been granted leave of absence on 27 Jan. 1694 for health reasons, he was by February back in attendance and in the remainder of the session served five times as teller: for the Arundel franchise to be vested in the inhabitants paying scot and lot, a vote favourable to the Whig candidate (22 Feb.); for a motion that the land tax should be no more than 4s. in the pound (28 Feb.); for a clause to be added to the London orphans bill (8 Mar.); to send for Hugh Fortescue in custody for unauthorized absence (14 Mar.); and on the Court side against a proviso in the poll tax bill allowing owners of estates of over £600 p.a. to avoid taking the oaths (5 Apr.).3

After 1695, Machell’s activity declined sharply. He was forecast in January 1696 as a probable supporter of the government on the proposed council of trade, signed the Association in February, and, although given leave of absence for 21 days on 7 Mar., voted in that month with the Court on fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He voted for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† on 25 Nov. After the next election he was again classed as a Court supporter, in a list compiled in around September 1698, and voted on 18 Jan. 1699 against the disbanding bill. He was granted leave of absence on 23 Mar. He seems to have been away from the House for much of the next session since he was ordered on 11 Dec. 1699 to be sent for into the custody of the serjeant-at-arms for absenting himself, though several months later, on 19 Mar. 1700, he was granted leave to go into the country for the recovery of his health. An analysis of the House in terms of ‘interests’ in early 1700 listed him with the Junto. It may well have been continuing illness that prevented him standing for re-election. He died in June 1704, his burial at Horsham taking place on the 24th, and left most of his property to his grandson, Richard Ingram†, the second son of his only surviving daughter who had married 3rd Viscount Irwin [S] (Arthur Ingram*).4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Suss. N. and Q. xvi. 114, 117, 119.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 817.
  • 3. W. Albery, Parl. Hist. Horsham, 49; Luttrell Diary, 138, 143, 156, 193, 198, 456; Cobbett, Parlty. Hist. v. 791.
  • 4. Suss. N. and Q. 114; Albery, 49.