MACHELL, John (1637-1704), of Hills Place, Horsham, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1 May 1637, 1st s. of Matthew Machell of Cobham, Surr. by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Simon Caryll of Tangley, Surr. educ. I. Temple, entered 1649, called 1658. m. 11 Dec. 1666, Helen, da. and coh. of Gervase Warmestry, registrar of Worcester dioc., 2s. d.v.p. 2da. suc. fa. 1681.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Suss. 1667-80, 1689-90, j.p. Feb.-Apr. 1667, 1678-?d.

Commr. for wine licences 1689-91.2


Machell was descended from a London Clothworker of Westmorland origin who was elected alderman in 1553 and died in 1558. His grandfather settled in Surrey, and his father bought Hills Place from Thomas Middleton in 1654. It was probably Machell’s uncle, who moved to Wendover, who was included in the Sussex list of proposed knights of the Royal Oak. Machell inherited the Baldwyns and Apsley burgages in Horsham as well as an estate in Hertfordshire. Although his wife was also a newcomer to the county, she was the step-daughter of Sir John Covert and the sister-in-law of Edward Eversfield, and the marriage must have improved his interest at Horsham. He was first returned for the borough in 1681 and continued to represent it without a break for twenty years, the only member of the family to sit in Parliament. Although probably an exclusionist, he was not removed from the commission of the peace, possibly by confusion with his cousin, who was active in Wendover elections on behalf of the Court. In any case he took no known part either in the Oxford Parliament or James II’s Parliament. A Whig collaborator in 1688, he declared himself ‘very willing to consent’ to the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, ‘provided his religion and property may be secured’, and was recommended for retention on the commission of the peace.3

In the Convention Machell was appointed to three committees and made two recorded speeches. In the first session he was named to the committee to consider the bill for the relief of poor prisoners, and proposed the exception of Judge Jeffreys from the indemnity bill. Under the new regime he became a commissioner for wine licences. After the recess he resumed his attack on James II’s judges, claiming that Sir Thomas Jenner had imposed the death penalty on army deserters, and ‘would have hanged all this House if he could’. He supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, and was named to the committees for illegitimizing the children born to the wife of John Lewknor II during her elopement with William Montagu, and for inspecting the poor laws. He remained a court Whig under William III, and was buried at Horsham on 24 June 1704. His only surviving daughter brought the property and interest to her husband, the 3rd Viscount Irvine, and three of their sons sat for Horsham as Whigs from 1715 to 1748.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: B. M. Crook


  • 1. Suss. N. and Q. xvi. 114, 117, 119.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 70, 817.
  • 3. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Arch. Soc. viii. 466; Dalloway, West Suss. ii. pt. 2, p. 337; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lvii), 88; PCC 167 Ash.
  • 4. Grey, ix. 315, 396; Suss. N. and Q. xvi. 114; PCC 167 Ash.