MORLEY, Charles (c.1653-97), of Droxford, 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



1695 - 23 Aug. 1697

Family and Education

b. c.1653, 1st s. of Francis Morley† of Droxford by Jane, da. of Charles Tancred of Arden, Yorks.; bro. of George Morley*.  educ. Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 6 July 1669, aged 16; All Souls’, BCL 1677; M. Temple 1669.  m. settlement 26 May 1679, Magdalen, da. of Sir Henry Herbert† of Ribbesford, nr. Bewdley, Worcs., sis. of Henry Herbert*, 1st Baron Herbert of Chirbury, 1s. 2da.  suc. fa. 1690; kntd. 20 Apr. 1696.1

Offices Held

Chancellor, dioc. of Winchester by 1684–?d.; freeman, Winchester by 1695, Portsmouth 1696.2


Morley appears to have been a favourite of his great-uncle the bishop of Winchester, whose palace was his boyhood home. It was probably Bishop Morley’s intervention that prevented an unsavoury incident in Oxford in 1675 from being investigated by the college authorities, and it was certainly through the bishop’s influence that Morley made any kind of a figure in the world. He may have been the ‘Mr Morley’ who accompanied Sir Leoline Jenkins† to Nijmegen in 1677, and the ‘nephew’ on whose behalf Bishop Morley approached the Duke of York and Lord Rochester (Laurence Hyde†) in 1682–3 for a place as groom of the bedchamber. Eventually a niche was found for him as chancellor of the diocese. In gratitude he paid for a memorial to his great-uncle in Farnham church, on which his own affection was prominently declared.3

Having been defeated at Winchester in 1690, Morley was able to exploit diocesan connexions, and his own interest as lessee of the neighbouring manor of East Knoyle, to bring himself in at Hindon in 1695. Forecast as likely to oppose the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, he signed the Association and was knighted on presenting the Hindon roll in the King’s bedchamber in Kensington Palace. In March, however, he voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the attainder proceedings against Sir John Fenwick† he angered John Grobham Howe* by his readiness to dissociate himself from his uncle ‘Dick Morley’, who had been implicated in Fenwick’s conspiracy. He ‘vindicated the loyalty of himself and his father, and since his uncle was guilty of being in conspiracies, he renounced him for his part’. At this ‘Howe took him up for being so easy in deserting his relation: he would do well to stay till the matter was proved, for if the papers were false as to any others named in it, it would not be true with respect to Mr Morley’. However, Morley’s name does not appear on any of the division lists relating to Fenwick. Having made his will on 30 July 1697, Morley died on 23 Aug., aged 44, and was buried at Droxford.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 453; J. S. Davies, Hist. Southampton, 354; PCC 188 Pyne.
  • 2. Wood, Ath. Ox. (1813–20), iv(2), 361; Hants RO, Winchester bor. recs. ordnance bk. 7, f. 128; R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 372.
  • 3. Prideaux Letters (Cam. Soc. n.s. xv), 31; Clarendon Corresp. ed. Singer, i. 83–84; Wood, iv(2), 361; Manning and Bray, Surr. iii. 162.
  • 4. VCH Wilts. xi. 86–87; Frag. Gen. n.s. i. 97; Add. 28894, f. 295; Le Neve’s Knights, 453; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, i. 47; PCC 188 Pyne; Le Neve’s Knights, 453.