WINTERTON, Francis (-d.c.1631), of Claybrook, Leics. and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster.

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

s. of Francis Winterton of Lutterworth, Leics. unm. d. c.1631.1

Offices Held

Servant to Susan Feilding, countess of Denbigh by 1627-at least 1628;2 groom of the privy chamber to Queen Henrietta Maria by 1630.3

Freeman, Dunwich, Suff. 1628.4

Vol. Silesia 1631.5


No election indenture survives for Dunwich in 1628, and the fragmentary record of the admission to the freedom of the successful candidate in the corporation records gives only the surname Winterton. However, the Crown Office list records that the Member was Francis Winterton, while Sir John Rous I*, who unsuccessfully contested the election, described him as ‘a servant to the Lady Denbigh’.6 Consequently, this Member can be confidently identified as the Francis Winterton of Claybrook in Leicestershire to whom Abraham Darcie dedicated the third book of his translation of The Key of Historie in 1627. Darcie stated that Winterton was then ‘attending’ Susan, countess of Denbigh, the wife of William Feilding, 1st earl of Denbigh and sister of the duke of Buckingham. He also described Winterton as ‘thrice worthily accomplished and excellently endowed with all them [sic] rare perfections that may ennoble a gentleman’.7

Winterton came from a minor Leicestershire family resident at Wibtoft, a township in the parish of Claybrook, by the Elizabethan period.8 The Feildings originated in the same part of Leicestershire, close to Warwickshire, and, although by the early seventeenth century they had moved across the border, they still owned property in the area.9

Winterton had no known connections with Suffolk and probably owed his election to the borough’s desire to ingratiate itself with Buckingham, the lord admiral, who they were soon to petition to exempt their seamen from service in the Navy. He only appears once in the surviving records of third Caroline Parliament. This was on 2 Mar. 1629, the tumultuous last day of the Parliament, when he was the only Member known to have made any serious attempt to release the Speaker, who was held down in his chair by the allies of Sir John Eliot. According to the interrogatories subsequently drawn up the attorney-general, (Sir) Robert Heath*, William Coryton had to use ‘some violence’ to restrain him,10 while in Heath’s Star Chamber bill against Eliot and his confederates, Coryton was accused of having ‘violently, forcibly and unlawfully assaulted and struck’ Winterton.11

On 20 May 1629 the king let it be known that he intended to confer £9,800 on Winterton and Ralph Boteler, a kinsman of the countess of Denbigh, ‘for special service best known to His Majesty’, and as a result the two men were granted the arrears of the wine licences since 1616.12 Lady Denbigh held high office in the queen’s Household, and no doubt was responsible for obtaining for Winterton a post in the queen’s privy chamber. However, when Winterton drew up his will on 12 July 1631 he was ‘determined ... to travel beyond the seas’ as a volunteer in the army raised by Lady Denbigh’s son-in-law, the 3rd marquess of Hamilton, to assist the king of Sweden and the Protestant cause. His brother Ralph, a Cambridge don, saw him off from Gravesend, and heard no more of him for several months, when he learned of his death in the Custrin garrison in Silesia. He was assured that Hamilton had ‘made much of him in health as a faithful servant; took care for him before his death, as for a friend; lamented for him at his death, as for a brother; [and] saw him honourably buried as a soldier’. Winterton’s will, with its few simple legacies, was proved by his father on 10 Mar. 1632. He left a diamond ring to Mrs. Katharine Dillon, £5 to his servants, £50 to a brother-in-law, £80 to his parents, and the residue to his brother Ralph. On Archbishop Laud’s insistence, Ralph was granted an MD in the following year, and became regius professor of Physic. However, Ralph did not long enjoy his chair, dying at the age of 36 three years later. Neither Ralph nor any other member of the family entered Parliament.13

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Oxford DNB sub Winterton, Ralph; R. Winterton, ‘Epistle dedicatory’, unpag. in G. Gerhard, Golden Chaine of Divine Aphorismes (1632), trans. R. Winterton.
  • 2. Darcie, unpag.; Procs. 1628, vi. 145.
  • 3. E101/438/7.
  • 4. Suff. RO (Ipswich), EE6:1144/11, f. 7.
  • 5. Winterton, unpag.
  • 6. Procs. 1628, vi. 145.
  • 7. Darcie, unpag.
  • 8. Nichols, Leics. iv. 115.
  • 9. C142/302/112; C2/Chas.I/W120/61.
  • 10. I.H.C. Fraser, ‘Agitation in the Commons, 2 Mar. 1629’, BIHR, xxx. 91.
  • 11. Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, i. 667.
  • 12. K. Britland, Drama at the Court of Queen Henrietta Maria, 62; CSP Dom. 1628-9, pp. 553, 558.
  • 13. PROB 11/161, f. 274; HMC Hamilton, ii. 187; Winterton, unpag.; Oxford DNB sub Winterton, Ralph.