KETELBY, Abel (?1676-1744), of Bitterley, nr. Ludlow, Salop.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1722 - 1727

Family and Education

b. ?1676, 1st surv. s. of Edward Ketelby of Bitterley, Salop and Wolverley, Worcs. by Anne, da. of Abel Gower of Boughton St. John, Worcs. and Napton-on-the-Hill, Warws. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1 July 1691, aged 15; M. Temple 1693, called 1699, bencher 1724. m. Mary Williams of London, 1da. suc. fa. 1725.

Offices Held

Landgrave of S. Carolina 1709; agent and attorney-gen. for S. Carolina 1712-16; recorder, Ludlow 1719-43.


Abel Ketelby, a successful Tory lawyer, came of an ancient Shropshire family, seated near Ludlow, of which he became recorder. After the 1715 rebellion he was one of the principal counsel engaged to defend the Jacobites imprisoned at Carlisle, later defending the Jacobite agent John Matthews.1 In 1720 he appeared for the Crown against Lord Coningsby, who afterwards wrote in a pamphlet that Lord Chancellor Macclesfield had irregularly confirmed Ketelby as recorder.2 Returned for Ludlow on his own and the Tory interest, he defended Layer at his trial for complicity in the Atterbury plot, spoke against the bill of pains and penalties on John Plunket, and moved an amendment to an Act relating to the registration of Papists.3 As a former agent for South Carolina he served on a committee of the House set up to consider a petition from that colony asking for the removal of rice from the list of ‘enumerated’ commodities, i.e. goods which could not be exported to foreign countries without first being sent to England.4 In 1727 he stood unsuccessfully for Great Bedwyn, drawing a disapproving comment from an old Tory:

The lawyer, although each must plead for their fee, had shewed himself too partial besides; for his name hath been so often in print in relation to trials on the Crown side.5

He did not stand again, and died 5 Dec. 1744.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: J. B. Lawson


  • 1. HMC Stuart, iii. 377; Howell's State Trials, xv. 1364.
  • 2. LJ, xxi. 417, 450.
  • 3. State Trials, xvi. 94-114; Knatchbull Diary, 7 Mar. 1724.
  • 4. CJ, xx. 62.
  • 5. Earl of Ailesbury to Jas. Bruce, 6 Sept. 1727, Savernake mss.