OGLANDER, Sir John (1585-1655), of Nunwell, Brading, I.o.W.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press

Family and Education

b. 12 May 1585,1 1st s. of Sir William Oglander of Nunwell and 1st w. Anne, da. of Anthony Dillington of Niton, I.o.W.; stepbro. of Christopher* and Richard Lewknor*.2 educ. Winchester Coll., Shalfleet, Ringwood and Andover schs., Hants;3 Balliol, Oxf, 1603; M. Temple 1604.4 m. 4 Aug. 1606,5 Frances (d. 12 June 1644),6 da. of Sir George More* of Loseley, Surr., 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 4da. (1 d.v.p.).7 suc. fa. 1609;8 kntd. 22 Dec. 1615.9 d. 28 Nov. 1655.10

Offices Held

J.p. Hants c.1607-43;11 bow-bearer, New Forest, Hants 1609-31;12 dep. gov. of Portsmouth, Hants 1620-3;13 freeman, Newport I.o.W. 1623,14 Yarmouth I.o.W. 1625,15 Lymington, Hants 1634;16 dep. lt. Hants, 1624-43;17 capt. militia ft. I.o.W. 1625-43;18 commr. Benevolence I.o.W. and Hants 1620,19 Forced Loan 1626-7,20 survey of defences, I.o.W. 1626,21 martial law 1628,22 oyer and terminer, Hants and I.o.W. 1628, 1635;23 alderman, Yarmouth 1631, mayor 1633-4, 1647-8;24 commr. piracy, Hants and I.o.W. 1635-6,25 maltsters, Hants 1636,26 sewers, Hants and Suss. 1638;27 sheriff, Hants 1637-8;28 commr. array, Hants 1642,29 assessment 1643, levying money 1643.30


Oglander’s family, of Norman origin, had been seated at Nunwell since the reign of Henry I. Though it had other property on the mainland, none of its members had previously entered Parliament. In his youth Oglander occasionally resided at Chichester in Sussex, but after his father’s death he rebuilt the family home at Nunwell.31 He made an exceptionally happy marriage to ‘a most careful wife, who was no spender’. A county magistrate at the age of 22, he was initially ‘ashamed to sit on the bench, as not having then any hair on my face, and less wit’, but he was soon noted for his ‘painstaking to administer justice uprightly to everyone, and for the appeasing and ending of differences between neighbour and neighbour’.32 Described as ‘of a middling stature, big but not very fat’, he complained that in his youth he was ‘infinitely troubled with sickness’. Gardening was his principal hobby; and he also devoted considerable energy to compiling notebooks containing useful antiquarian material, brilliant thumb-nail sketches of his neighbours, and shrewd social commentary from the standpoint of the gentry. He became deputy governor of Portsmouth under the 3rd earl of Pembroke, but ill health forced him to sell the office after three years to Sir Richard Moryson* for £900.33 His careful accounts enabled him to calculate his annual expenditure as a private gentleman at just under £1,000 p.a., and although he declared that ‘I scorn base getting and unworthy, penurious saving’, and regretted that a lifestyle suitable to his quality prevented him from ‘laying up much’, he had over £2,600 in gold concealed in his house.34 He claimed he would like to have seen all attorneys hunted out of the Isle, ‘like foxes and papists’; nevertheless in 1624 he himself was plaintiff in no less than 30 lawsuits.35 The reason for this litigiousness is perhaps explained by the observation that he ‘could endure anything save where his reputation and credit were touched, and nothing more troubled him than the unkindness of his friends; although he could master all other passions, this would infinitely work upon him’.36

Appointed deputy lieutenants in 1624 by the absentee captain of the Isle of Wight, Lord Conway (Sir Edward Conway I*), Oglander and Sir Edward Dennys* virtually ran the Isle from the accession of Charles I to the eve of the Civil War. Conway, the king’s principal secretary of state, entrusted Oglander with his electoral patronage in 1625, not a congenial task for one who disdained the common people as ingrates and advised his grandson ‘never to court them or think to tie them to thee’. However he secured the return of all the government nominees, including himself at Yarmouth. His resolute opposition to the grant of a new charter to Newport probably helped to weaken Conway’s interest there.37 His only committee appointment in the first Caroline Parliament was for a bill to regulate wool exports (27 June 1625).38 At the following election Oglander yielded the senior seat at Yarmouth to Conway’s heir, Sir Edward Conway II, leaving him with the junior place. In the Commons he was ordered to attend the defence conference on 7 Mar. 1626, and to consider a jointure bill for Lord Bergavenny, nephew of his erstwhile Chichester neighbour Francis Neville I* (17 March).39 Granted leave of absence on 22 Mar. to attend to his duties as deputy lieutenant, he makes no further appearance in the records, and may not have returned to Westminster.40

Oglander’s assessment of the Isle for the Forced Loan, undertaken in the belief that he would be fairer than an outsider, earned him much ill-will. ‘Be warned by my example’, he recorded in his notebook, ‘not to meddle with ungrateful persons’.41 In June 1627 Charles paid a flying visit to the Isle, and promised Oglander that its defences would be strengthened.42 Shortly afterwards soldiers were billeted on the island. Oglander and Dennys took the lead in trying to reduce the financial burden the soldiers imposed on the residents, but their frequent attendance on the Privy Council proved fruitless. Apparently oblivious to the strength of local feeling, on 2 Feb. 1628 Conway, now a Viscount, informed Oglander that he had nominated two of his cousins for Yarmouth, and his son for Newport.43 Oglander, naturally, was grieved that ‘I should be made an instrument of outing myself at Yarmouth for whom I had so long served’. As for Conway’s son he warned that ‘(do what I can) he will, I fear, miss’ at Newport, a prediction that proved to be correct. On receiving Conway’s nominations, an astonished mayor of Yarmouth told Oglander that he ‘had not deserved so ill ... as to be put out’. The borough consequently resolved to ignore Conway and to return Oglander for the second seat.44 The senior place was given to Dennys, perhaps on Oglander’s recommendation. Oglander was named to three committees in the third Caroline Parliament, the first being for the revived Bergavenny bill (17 May 1628).45 He was among those ordered to consider the petition of the puritan publisher Michael Sparkes (20 May), and to inquire into Dennys’ claim of privilege for a servant (26 May).46 On 8 Apr. he intervened in the debate on billeting, but the substance of his contribution has been lost.47 During the summer recess he attended the king at Southwick with a petition against billeting, and on 1 Sept. Charles, on a visit to the Isle to review the Scottish regiment, ‘took me by the hand and held me a long time riding together, saying he was much bound to us for all our patience and well-usage of the Scotchmen’.48 Their removal shortly afterwards was compared by Oglander to the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.49 He took no recorded part in the 1629 session.

Grief-stricken at the death of his eldest son George in 1632, Oglander found solace in his horticultural and antiquarian interests.50 He remained active in local affairs, proving a conscientious Ship Money sheriff.51 During the Civil War Oglander was repeatedly imprisoned for his royalist views, but was never charged with any political activity. He was under house arrest in 1647, when Yarmouth loyally elected him mayor,52 and visited the king weekly during the latter’s sojourn at Carisbrooke in 1647-8.53 He drafted his will, to which he appended a drawing of himself aged 64, in Nov. 1649.54 Shortly after entertaining the duke of Gloucester at Nunwell in 1650 he was summoned before the Rump, but discharged. He died on 28 Nov. 1655, and was buried in Brading church under a handsome monument depicting him in full armour.55 His portrait by Cornelius Johnson is preserved at Nunwell.56 His son William, who succeeded him, was returned for Newport to the Restoration Convention and the Cavalier Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Oglander Mems. ed. W.H. Long, 172.
  • 2. Ibid. 168-70.
  • 3. Ibid. 172.
  • 4. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 5. Add. 6167, f. 231v.
  • 6. Oglander Mems. xxvii.
  • 7. C.F.A. Oglander, Nunwell Symphony, 71, 116.
  • 8. Oglander Mems. 171.
  • 9. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 157.
  • 10. Oglander Mems. xxvii.
  • 11. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/31, 465, 466.
  • 12. Royalist’s Notebk. ed. F. Bamford, 68.
  • 13. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/34, 62.
  • 14. I.o.W. RO, NBC 45/2, f. 196v.
  • 15. Add. 5669, f. 67v.
  • 16. C. St. Barbe, Lymington Recs. 7.
  • 17. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/64, 466.
  • 18. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/90, 396; R. Worsley, Hist. I.o.W. app. pp. xxxi, xxxii.
  • 19. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/33.
  • 20. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/114; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 145.
  • 21. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/100, 102, 111,112; APC, 1625-6, p. 379.
  • 22. APC, 1627-8, p. 318.
  • 23. C181/3, f. 240v; CSP Dom. 1635, p. 319.
  • 24. Add. 5669, ff. 88, 93v, 100.
  • 25. C181/5, ff. 24, 58v.
  • 26. PC2/46, f. 273.
  • 27. C181/5, f. 115v.
  • 28. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 56.
  • 29. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 30. A. and O. i. 91, 230.
  • 31. VCH Hants, v. 161, 165; Oglander Mems. 174-5.
  • 32. Oglander Mems. 176.
  • 33. Ibid. 175; Nunwell Symphony, 59, 62.
  • 34. Royalist’s Notebk. 229-41.
  • 35. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/TT17.
  • 36. Oglander Mems. 176.
  • 37. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/73, 74.
  • 38. Procs. 1625, p. 252.
  • 39. Procs. 1626, ii. 216, 305.
  • 40. Ibid. 340.
  • 41. Royalist’s Notebk. 12-13.
  • 42. Ibid. 19, 21.
  • 43. Procs. 1628, vi. 156-7.
  • 44. Ibid. 172-3.
  • 45. CD 1628, iii. 446.
  • 46. Ibid. 492, 610.
  • 47. Procs. 1628, vi. 64.
  • 48. Royalist’s Notebk. 30-1, 43.
  • 49. Ibid. 45.
  • 50. Ibid. 82, 84, 94-5.
  • 51. I.o.W. RO, OG/BB/355-8, 360-1, 466, 373-6, 379, 380, 384, 385, 388, 391-2, 401.
  • 52. CCAM, 444; Nunwell Symphony, 105, 115; Royalist’s Notebk. 106-7; Add. 5669, f. 100.
  • 53. Royalist’s Notebk. 116-7.
  • 54. I.o.W. RO, OG/Z/20, 21; PROB 11/252, f. 91.
  • 55. I.o.W. RO, OG/TT/74.
  • 56. Royalist’s Notebk. frontispiece, 86.