NICHOLAS, Edward (?1662-1726), of West Horsley, Surr.

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



1689 - 3 May 1715
19 May 1715 - 20 Apr. 1726

Family and Education

b. ?1662, 1st s. of Sir John Nicholas, M.P., of West Horsley, clerk of the Privy Council, by Penelope, da. of Spencer Compton, M.P., 2nd Earl of Northampton. educ. New Coll. Oxf. 15 Jan. 1679, aged 16. m. Rachel, da. of Thomas Wyndham, M.P., of Witham Friary, Som., sis. and coh. of Hopton Wyndham, M.P., s.p. suc. fa. 1705.

Offices Held

Paymaster and receiver gen. to Queen Mary 1693-1702; paymaster of Queen Anne’s private pensions and bounties 1702-7, 1713-14; treasurer to Prince George of Denmark c.1703-7; commr. of the privy seal 1711-13.


Edward Nicholas was the grandson of Sir Edward Nicholas, M.P., secretary of state to Charles I and Charles II, who came from Winterbourne Earle, Wiltshire, acquiring further estates at West Horsley and at Gillingham, near Shaftesbury. Returned for Shaftesbury in 1689, he represented the borough for 37 years in 13 successive Parliaments, holding minor offices under the Crown for 17 years. A Tory and member of the October Club, he lost his office on the Hanoverian succession. Unseated on petition after the 1715 election, but again returned a fortnight later at the ensuing by-election, he voted against the Government in all recorded divisions of that Parliament. In 1721 his name was sent to the Pretender as a probable supporter in the event of a rising.1 Nevertheless, on 25 Sept. 1722 he wrote to his Whig nephew, Spencer Compton, the Speaker, that

there might be something like an opposition when the House meets on the choice of a Speaker ... and if such a thing is suspected I should be glad you would let me know it, that I might use my little interest with some of my western acquaintance to prevail with them to do as I am sure I will.2

He did not attend the opening of the second session of this Parliament, when his friend and correspondent George Clarke wrote to him:

I had several enquiries after you in the House of Commons ... my answer was that you wrote me word there was so much water in the roads that you could not come up. The next question was how did his letter come? and to that I had not an answer ready.

He was also absent from the opening of the third session in November 1724. Suffering from ill-health, he spent much time at Bath. He died 20 Apr. 1726.3

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: R. S. Lea


  • 1. Stuart mss 65/16.
  • 2. HMC Townshend, 344.
  • 3. Egerton 2540, ff. 254, 351, et passim.