SPECCOT, John (1665-1705), of Penheale, Cornw.

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



1685 - 1687
1689 - 1695
1695 - Nov. 1701

Family and Education

bap. 19 Apr. 1665, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Speccot† by Honour, da. of John Eliot† of Port Eliot, Cornw.  educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1680.  m. 9 Apr. 1689, Lady Essex (d. 1689), da. of John Robartes, 1st Earl of Radnor, s.psuc. fa. 1678.1

Offices Held

Stannator Foymore 1686.2


Speccot’s support for the Tory line in the Convention led to a ringing endorsement from Bishop Trelawny in an attempt to bolster his interest for knight of the shire in the 1690 election. However, unable to mount a sustained campaign, Speccot fell back again on Newport, a borough near his seat at Penheale. Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) classed him as a Tory and probable Court supporter, and in December 1690 was listed among those thought likely to defind Carmarthen from parliamentary attack. In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed him as a Country supporter. On 28 Nov. 1691 he was added to the drafting committee on a bill to encourage the manufacture of saltpetre. His absence from a call of the House on 14 Feb. 1695 resulted in his being summoned into custody, a motion to excuse him being defeated. He was put up as a candidate for knight of the shire in 1695, originally with the intention of challenging Hugh Boscawen I, but in the event was returned with Boscawen unopposed. He was forecast as likely to oppose the government in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade, refused the Association, and in March voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He was apparently absent from the division on Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder on 25 Nov. He was returned for both the county and Saltash at the 1698 election, following which he was classed as a member of the Country party. On 4 Jan. 1699 the Speaker received a letter from Speccot, who was indisposed in the country, stating that he intended to sit for the county. He was still absent, ill, on 7 Mar. when a list was compiled of those Members who had not attended during the current session. Despite ‘extreme illness’ at Christmas 1700, he was returned for the county in January 1701, and also for St. Germans on the interest of his uncle Daniel Eliot*. He again chose to sit for the county. In February he was listed as likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. Probably on account of declining health, he withdrew from parliamentary politics.3

Speccot seems to have retired to London as in July 1704 Harley mentioned having a conversation with him apropos an appointment for William Cary*. He died of apoplexy in London on 16 June 1705 and was buried at St. Anne’s, Soho. His will merely stipulated his burial according to the usage of the Church of England, but on 5 July it was reported that Speccot’s body, which was lying in state at his house in St. James’s, was to be taken to Cornwall on the 9th ‘with great pains and magnificence’ to be buried at Egloskerry with his ancestors. According to contemporaries Speccot was worth some £6,000 p.a., and considerable speculation followed concerning his will. In the event, he left the bulk of his estates to his cousin, John Spark*, rather than to his sister and her children. He also left £1,000 to trustees including Sir Jonathan Trelawny, bishop of Winchester, and to Charles Trelawny* to apply to the use of the public. Eventually, this bequest bore fruit in the mathematical school at East Looe to instruct poor children in the science of navigation.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. G. C. Boase and W. P. Courtnay, Bibliotheca Cornubiensis 573, 676; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 707; Westminster Abbey Reg. (Harl. Soc. x), 28.
  • 2. J. Tregoning, Stannary Laws, 57.
  • 3. ‘Collectanea Trelawniana’, 268 (Speck trans.); H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 338; The Case of John Prideaux [1701].
  • 4. Add. 70276, Harley to Cary, 28 July 1704; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 564; Folger Shakespeare Lib. Newdigate newsletter 16 June, 5 July 1705; PCC 158 Gee; Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. Cornw. i. 322, 327.