STAPYLTON, Sir Brian, 2nd Bt. (c.1657-1727), of Myton-upon-Swale, Yorks.

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



Oct. 1679 - Jan. 1681
18 Nov. 1690 - 1695
1698 - 1705
1708 - 1715

Family and Education

b. c.1657, 1st s. of Sir Henry Stapleton, 1st Bt.†, of Myton-upon-Swale by Elizabeth, da. of Hon. Conyers Darcy, 1st Earl of Holdernesse, of Hornby Castle, Yorks.  educ. Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 3 Nov. 1674, aged 17, BA 1677.  m. 15 Apr. 1680, Anne (d. 1730), da. and coh. of Sir John Kaye, 2nd Bt.*, sis. of Sir Arthur Kaye, 3rd Bt.*, 5s. (4 d.v.p.) 2da.  suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 26 Mar. 1679.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Yorks. 1683–4; commr. Aire and Calder Navigation 16991.


Stapylton was described by Strype, the antiquarian, as ‘a very honest, worthy man’. His estate lay three miles from Aldborough and Boroughbridge, providing him with a good electoral interest at the latter, where he owned at least 16 of the 60 or so burgages. However, the strongest interest belonged to the Wilkinson family, who could, and on occasion did, thwart Stapylton’s ambitions. Defeated at Boroughbridge in 1690, Stapylton was seated on petition in November, and the following month was listed as likely to support Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) in the event of a parliamentary attack on him. Considered to be a Tory, Stapylton was not a particularly active Member, and was nominated to few committees during his long parliamentary career. In April 1691 Robert Harley* listed him as a Country supporter, and as ‘doubtful’. During the 1691–2 session he was granted leave of absence for three weeks (15 Jan. 1692), and again in the 1693–4 session (6 Feb. 1694), this time for the recovery of his health. In the following session he was absent from a call of the House on 14 Feb. 1695, and was ordered to attend within one week or else be taken into custody.2

Prior to the 1695 election it was reported to Harley that Stapylton would be ‘left out’ at Boroughbridge. It is not evident why this situation occurred, but whatever the reason, Stapylton did not stand. However, by the time of the 1698 election, he appears to have reached an accommodation with the Wilkinsons. It appears that he was expected to be successful, as 11 days before the election he was added to the West Riding commission of the peace in what seems to have been an unsuccessful attempt by the Junto to win support away from the Tories. Having topped the poll in a contested election, he was classed as a Country supporter in a comparative analysis of the old and new House of Commons. He remained inactive in Parliament, though borough affairs continued to hold his attention. In 1699–1700 he entered a form of alliance with Christopher Tancred*, who hoped to develop an interest in Boroughbridge. However, the two men fell out at the 1700 summer assizes, following a quarrel which was said to be ‘irreconcilable’. At the same time the accommodation reached with the Wilkinsons remained in place and he was returned unopposed at the next election, along with Sir Henry Goodricke, 2nd Bt.* In February 1701 he was included on a list of those MPs likely to support the Court in agreeing with the supply committee’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’.3

Around this time Stapylton offered to sell all his burgages to the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†), who represented the third significant interest in Boroughbridge. However, the deal fell through. Stapylton was returned unopposed in the November 1701 election, and was classed as a Tory by Harley in December. On 26 Feb. 1702 he voted for the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of William III’s ministers. He was returned unopposed once more in the 1702 election. The 1703–4 session appears to have been Stapylton’s most active time in Parliament. In February 1704 he took part in managing a private bill through the House. In March he was included in a list drawn up by Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†), which was probably a forecast of support over the Scotch Plot. In the same month he was a teller on three occasions: for an amendment to the bill for recruiting the forces (7th); in favour of the motion that the neglect of the late treasurer of the navy (Edward Russell*) in passing his accounts had been a great loss to the public (11th); and in favour of adjourning the debate on the bill to recompense Colonel Baker further for his services in the reduction of Ireland (14th). At the beginning of the following session he was classed by Harley as a probable supporter of the Tack, and he duly voted for it on 28 Nov. 1704.4

Stapylton did not contest the 1705 election, standing down in favour of his son, John*. However, in 1708 he stood once again, and was returned unopposed with a Newcastle nominee. At the beginning of 1709, Stapylton purchased a house in London on ‘James Street’, borrowing £200 to do so. He voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell in 1710. Returned unopposed once more in 1710, he was classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’ of the new Parliament. In 1711 he was included in the ‘white list’ of Tory ‘patriots’ who opposed the continuance of the war, and was noted as one of the ‘worthy patriots’, who helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous administration. He was also a member of the October Club. Borough concerns came to the fore again in 1711 when it became evident that the accommodation between Stapylton and the Wilkinsons had come to an end, and that the strengthening of the existing ties between the Wilkinsons and Newcastle was liable to be detrimental to Stapylton’s interest. However, Newcastle’s death in July provided Stapylton with some respite, as for the next three years local politics became taken up with the dispute between the widowed Duchess and the late Duke’s heir, his nephew Thomas Pelham (2nd Baron Pelham in 1712). The dispute allowed Stapylton to reach an agreement with the Pelham–Wilkinson interest in time for the 1713 election, and he was returned unopposed with a Pelham nominee (see BOROUGHBRIDGE, Yorks). Stapylton was classed as a Tory in the Worsley list. However, by the time of the 1715 election, the dispute over the Newcastle estate had been settled in Pelham’s favour, so that the combined Newcastle–Wilkinson interest was strong enough to return two Whigs at Boroughbridge, with Stapylton losing out in a contested election. His petition was never heard, and he did not stand for Parliament again. Both he and his son appear to have been regarded as supporters of the Pretender in 1721–2. He died on 23 Nov. 1727, and was succeeded by his son John*.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Ivar McGrath


  • 1. HMC Lords, n.s. iii. 204.
  • 2. Camb. Univ. Lib. Add. 6, f. 357; N. Yorks. RO, Lawson-Tancred mss ZUH, a list of all the Burgages in Boroughbridge, c.1690; ‘Sir Brian Stapylton’s houses [and others] that have right of voting’, [n.d.]; Boroughbridge burgages, 2 Feb. 1714[–15]; T. Lawson-Tancred, Recs. of a Yorks. Manor, 213–14.
  • 3. Add. 70018, ff. 94–95; L. K. J. Glassey, Appt. JPs, 128; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Holles) mss, Pw2 209, Boroughbridge poll, 26 July 1698; Lawson-Tancred, 223–7; Lawson-Tancred mss, ZUH, Stapylton to Andrew Wilkinson, 5 Dec. 1700, 14 Jan. 1700[–1]; N. Yorks. RO, Swinton mss, Danby pprs. ZS, Edward Morris to Sir Abstrupus Danby*, 5 May, 26 July, 4 Aug. 1700.
  • 4. W. A. Speck, Tory and Whig, 48; Quinn thesis, 93.
  • 5. Glos. RO, Newton mss D.1844/C/10, Stapylton to Sir John Newton, 31 Jan. 1708–9; Lawson-Tancred mss ZUH, William Wenman to Charles Wilkinson, 8 July 1711; Boyer, Pol. State, iii. 121; Quinn, 89, 94; Lawson-Tancred mss, 247, 256, 260, 268–71; RA, Stuart mss 60/150, 152.