GEE, Orlando (1619-1705), of Petworth, Suss. and Syon Hill, Isleworth, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. 1619, 4th s. of John Gee (d.1631), vicar of Dunsford, Devon by Sarah Mogridge of Littleham, Devon. m. (1) lic. 17 May 1662, Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Maxey of Bradwell-next-Coggeshall, Essex, wid. of Thomas Barker of Sibton, Suff., s.p.; (2) Anne, da. and h. of Robert Chilcot of Isleworth, s.p. Kntd. 18 Aug. 1682.1
Registrar of Admiralty (jt.) Sept. 1660, (sole) 1662-d.
Commr. for assessment, Cumb., Essex, Mdx. and Suss. 1679-80.
Gee came from a clerical family of Lancastrian origin that had produced several notable anti-Catholic polemicists in Elizabethan and early Stuart times. He took no known part in the Civil War, but obtained a pass for Holland in 1652, and by 1659 he had entered the service of the 4th Earl of Northumberland. Doubtless he had, like John Clarke II, been recruited by his fellow-Devonian, Hugh Potter. He was joined with Potter as registrar of the Admiralty at the Restoration, and when Clarke’s death left a vacancy at Cockermouth in 1675, he stood for the borough on the Percy interest, which had been weakened by the death of the 5th Earl without male heirs, and was defeated by an ambitious local squire, Sir Richard Grahme.2
Gee was returned for Cockermouth to the Exclusion Parliaments, and classed ‘doubtful’ by Shaftesbury. He was named to no committees in 1679, but voted against the bill. In the second Exclusion Parliament he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges and probably to four others, including those for the bills to prohibit cattle imports, to prevent the imposition of arbitrary fines, and to unite Protestants. There is no evidence that he attended the Oxford Parliament. His knighthood was probably obtained on the recommendation of the 6th Duke of Somerset, who had married the Percy heiress and was materially indebted to Gee for his work in exposing the bogus pedigree of a rival claimant to the estate.3
Gee was re-elected for Cockermouth in 1685, when he defeated a brother of the Hon. Thomas Wharton, sharing expenses with the Tory, Sir Daniel Fleming. A very active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to 17 committees, including the committee to examine the disbandment accounts in 1679. On 16 June he acted as teller for the Lindsey level bill introduced on behalf of Sir William Killigrew, which was rejected by a large majority. Other bills with which he was concerned included those for the suppression of simony, the establishment of a land registry, and the general naturalization of Huguenot refugees. He was recommended for re-election as court candidate in September 1688, and stood on his own interest. But after succeeding in the abortive election he stood down in favour of (Sir) Henry Capel. He regained his seat as a Tory in 1690. He died childless in 1705, aged 86, and was buried at Isleworth, leaving legacies amounting to £10,000. His epitaph commemorates his long service to the Percy family and his charities, including a gift of £500 for rebuilding the church, but makes no mention of his parliamentary activities, and no other member of the family sat in the Commons.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. DNB; Eg. 2758, f. 107; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster 535; Morant, Essex, i. 157; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1700-15, p. 96.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1651-2, p. 562; 1675-6, p. 115; HMC 3rd Rep. 88.
- 3. G. Brenan, House of Percy, ii. 326.
- 4. HMC Le Fleming, 197, 403; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 273; Yale Univ. Osborn mss, Lowther to Lowther, 29 Dec. 1688; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), x. 29; Le Neve, 96.