SEARLE, Gilbert (c.1687-1720), of Testwood, 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



30 Mar. 1714 - 1715

Family and Education

b. c.1687, s. of Robert Searle, merchant, of Leghorn, Italy by his w. Anne, da. of Robert Stocker of Ellisfield, Hants.  educ. Exeter, Oxf. matric. 7 July 1705, aged 18; L. Inn 1703.  m. 23 July 1713, Anne, da. and coh. of Peter Vansittart, merchant, of London. 3s. ?1da.  suc. fa. ?; gt.-uncle Gilbert Searle, 1712.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Southampton 1713.2


Searle’s father was Robert Searle, a merchant living at Leghorn in the 1680s. Having made a trip to England in 1685, Robert was apparently disappointed with his reception at court. His cousin, James Brydges, 8th Lord Chandos, English ambassador to Constantinople 1681–7, did not find this surprising, as ‘much better I fear’d was not expected for him, as he was said to have turned his bias of late in his familiar discourse of government’. Robert returned to Leghorn in 1686 with a wife, and Chandos’ congratulations in May 1687 on the expected birth of a child to them would appear to confirm Gilbert Searle’s year of birth. Another Gilbert Searle, also a merchant living at Leghorn from the 1660s until his death in 1712, was probably Robert’s uncle, described by Chandos as ‘wise and fortunate’. In the late 1690s and early 1700s this Gilbert Searle purchased at least two manors in Hampshire, including that of Testwood. Although he has been identified as the Gilbert Searle of Hampshire who had a son Thomas and grandsons Thomas and Richard, this seems unlikely as the Gilbert Searle who was MP succeeded to his estates in 1712. By this time Searle may also have succeeded to the moiety of another estate in Hampshire, held by his father from the time of his marriage. These inheritances probably enabled Searle to marry one of the heiresses of a wealthy London merchant, who at his death in 1705 was estimated to be worth £120,000. The timing of this marriage would suggest that the Gilbert Searle who purchased several other manors in Hampshire ‘before 1714’ was probably the man who became Member for Andover, rather than his great-uncle, although they have not previously been distinguished. It is unclear which of the two was the Gilbert Searle who owned between £500 and £2,000 of stock in the Bank of England in 1710.3

At the time of his marriage Searle was settled at Testwood, and, having voted for the Tory candidates in the 1713 Hampshire election, was himself returned for Andover the next year at a by-election. In Parliament for less than a year, he features on no parliamentary lists. His aunt married Henry Vincent I*, and Searle’s will, written in 1715, named Vincent and his sons Henry II* and Nicholas† as his principal heirs if he died without issue. By the time of his death in 1720 Searle’s will was out of date and he was succeeded by his infant son, Peter.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Paula Watson / Sonya Wynne


  • 1. Mar. Lic. Fac. Off. (Brit. Rec. Soc. xxxiii), 93; VCH Hants, iii. 361; F. J. Baigent and J. E. Millard, Hist. of Basingstoke, 462–3; Soc. of Geneal. St. Bartholomew’s Exchange mar. reg. p. 20; info. from Dr P. L. Gauci; IGI, London; PCC admon. Mar. 1712.
  • 2. Southampton RO, Southampton bor. recs. SC3/2, f. 44.
  • 3. Stowe 219, ff. 210v, 255–6; 220, ff. 48, 80; CSP. Dom. 1664–5, p. 435; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 3, p. 398; HMC Buccleuch, ii. 627, 692, 696, 782; G. Milner-Gibson-Cullum and F. C. Macaulay, British Cemetery of Leghorn, 34; PCC admon. Mar. 1712; VCH Hants, iii. 361, 387, 468; iv. 92, 148–9, 457–9, 549, 554; D. W. Jones, War and Econ. 267; Soc. of Geneal. sp. documents coll. ‘Searle’; Egerton 3359 (unfol.).
  • 4. Hants Poll 1713 (IHR), 70; PCC 240 Shaller; IGI, London.