MILWARD, Robert (c.1612-74), of the Middle Temple and Stafford.

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



1661 - 12 Jan. 1674

Family and Education

b. c.1612, 2nd s. of Sir Thomas Milward (d.1658) of Eaton Dovedale, Derbys., c.j. Chester circuit 1638-47, by Thomasina, da and coh. of Henry Beresford of Alsop-in-the-Dale, Derbys. educ. M. Temple 1631, called 1638. m. (1) Isabel, da. and coh. of Sir John Zouche of Codnor, Derbys., s.p.; (2) 4s. 4da.1

Offices Held

J.p. Derbys. and Staffs. July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Stafford Aug. 1660-1, Staffs. 1661-d.; second justice, Chester circuit Aug. 1660-d.; recorder, Stafford 1661-d.; member, council in the marches of Wales 1662-d.; commr. for corporations, Staffs. 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662; bencher, M. Temple 1666.2

Chairman, committee of ways and means 22-23 July 1661, supply and ways and means 12 Oct.-17 Nov. 1666; KC 1668; commr. for privy seal 1669-70.3


Milward’s ancestors had resided at Eaton Dovedale for many generations, according to the Derbyshire visitation of 1611, but they did not acquire the manor till the middle of the 16th century, and had no previous parliamentary experience. His father, a royalist lawyer, compounded at £360 on the Ludlow articles. Milward also followed the legal profession, but took no ascertainable part in the Civil Wars. His sympathies were royalist, however, and after the battle of Worcester he helped to conceal and later with the help of his friend Izaac Walton to dispatch to the Continent, part of Charles II’s garter insignia. At the Restoration he was given a Welsh judgeship. He became recorder of Stafford in 1661, like his father before him, and was elected to the Cavalier Parliament. Lord Wharton listed him as a moderate, and a local informant described him as ‘very loyal and orthodox, ... a very prudent and wise man’, akin to most of the local gentry, and possessing an estate of £300 p.a. besides his professional income. A very active Member, he probably served on 281 committees, and made 16 recorded speeches. He acted as chairman of 15 committees, seven of which were for private bills. In the opening session he was appointed to the committees for the corporations and uniformity bills, and took the chair in grand committee for the militia bill and for ways and means, in which capacity he advised against a salt tax, but recommended increasing the excise to bring in £400,000 p.a. and imposing a duty on sealed paper and parchment. He helped to manage conferences on the Marquess of Winchester’s bill and the corporation bill. He was added to the committee for the execution of the remaining regicides on 10 Jan. 1662, and helped to draw up reasons for a conference on the confirmatory bill for settling ministers on 18 Feb. His report from the grand committee on the same day for advancing the excise was criticized by Edward Seymour, and apparently failed to satisfy the House. On 11 Apr. he carried a private estate bill to the Lords, and a week later he reported on the Gloucester election. At the end of the first session he was appointed one of the managers of a conference on the poor law amendment bill.4

Milward was again active in the succeeding sessions. He took part in considering the defects of the Uniformity and Corporations Acts, and again acted as chairman in grand committee for a militia bill. He was among those appointed to bring in the bill restricting office to loyal Anglicans on 5 May 1663, and he reported an additional time clause and proviso to the loyal and indigent officers bill on 10 July. Although not listed as a court dependant in 1664, he was recommended by Clarendon for an Irish judgeship as ‘a man of great learning and more than ordinary prudence’. He took the chair for the estate bill of his cousin Cotton, helped to manage the conference on the conventicles bill on 13 May, and on 7 Dec. acted as teller unsuccessfully for the second reading of the bill to regulate the Painter Stainers’ Company. After taking the chair for the estate bill promoted by Sir Robert Carr, he carried it to the Lords on 16 Feb. 1665, and was given permission to attend the Upper House as counsel. He was chairman of the committees for the relief of poor prisoners and the Medway navigation bill. He was appointed to the conference with the Lords at the beginning of the Oxford session, and acted as chairman for the five-mile bill and the bill to prevent the spreading of the plague.5

Milward was heavily engaged in the sixth session as chairman of the committees of supply and ways and means. Nevertheless he introduced Kendall’s private bill on 6 Oct. and took the chair in the committee. He helped to manage a conference on the prohibition of French imports on 17 Oct., to prepare reasons for a second conference, and to present the King with a resolution of both Houses. After introducing the poll bill on 17 Nov. he was given leave to go into the country, and Kendall’s bill was reported in his absence by Richard Kirkby. He returned after the Christmas recess, when he was appointed to the committee on the bill for the illegitimation of Lady Roos’s children, and reported another bill on behalf of those imprisoned for debt.6

Milward took no part in the proceedings against Clarendon, of which he doubtless disapproved. On 18 Feb. 1668 he spoke against the triennial bill:

This bill assures the calling of future Parliaments, and an oath to the lord keeper to issue out the writs. Let us trust the King with this, as we have done his predecessors. This bill does not; so the trust is here transferred, which is upon oath. That makes a difference.

He was one of the Members who spoke in favour of renewing the Conventicles Act on 13 Mar., and was appointed with Job Charlton and John Vaughan to bring in a bill. On 3 Apr. he was instructed to expedite the bill for taking the accounts of the indigent officers fund. He reported on the lords’ amendments to the conventicles bill on 30 Mar. 1670. He was among those ordered to bring in a bill against the assailants of Sir John Coventry on 10 Jan. 1671. On the third reading of the bill to prevent the growth of Popery on 11 Mar. he introduced an amendment to exempt Papists ‘whose lands had been sold by the late usurped powers’, which was rejected without a division. He helped to manage a conference on the intestacy bill and to draw up reasons for a conference on additional customs duties. He was noted in both lists of the court party as an official and a supporter of Ormonde.7

Milward was present at the meeting of the court caucus in Arlington’s lodgings on 21 Dec. 1672 to prepare for the next session, though his strong Anglicanism must have undermined his support for the Cabal. When Parliament met, he helped to draw up the address against the Declaration of Indulgence. He favoured

debating this business in a grand committee, that persons may reply one upon another. They may be seemingly Protestants, yet not truly so. He has a great tenderness for such as have been brought up in their religion. Would have a difference between monarchical dissenters and anti-monarchical.

He was appointed to the committees that produced the test bill and considered a bill of ease for Protestant dissenters, to whom he was willing to give liberty ‘to enjoy their consciences’; but he reminded the House that there was ‘a great difference betwixt ease and preferment’. He was among those who drew up reasons for the conference of 29 Mar. 1673. Shortly before his death he was named on the Paston list. On 7 Jan. 1674 he moved unsuccessfully for a bill to disfranchise all dissenters, but died five days later, the last of his family to sit in Parliament.8

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. Staffs. Peds. (Harl Soc. lxiii), 167.
  • 2. W. R. Williams, Great Sessions in Wales, 61; Parl. Staffs. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), ii. 122; CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 436; T. Pape, Restoration Govt. and Newcastle-under-Lyme, 17.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 436; 1668-9, p. 487.
  • 4. The Gen. n.s. viii. 21; J. C. Cox, Derbys Churches, iii. 123; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1464; A. Fea,. After Worcester Fight, 82; Staffs. Gentry (Staffs. Rec. Soc. ser. 4, ii), 23; CJ, viii. 303, 308, 309, 314, 335, 433.
  • 5. Bodl. Carte 47, f. 87; CJ, viii. 601, 604, 606, 613, 619, 620.
  • 6. Milward, 16, 31, 47; CJ, viii. 639, 644, 651, 689.
  • 7. Grey, i. 83; Milward, 225, 243; Dering, 94; CJ, ix. 233, 235.
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1672-3, p. 630; CJ, ix. 251, 280; Grey, ii. 31-32, 95; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 484; Blake mss, Dering, Personal Diary 1673-5.