ATKYNS, Edward (c.1630-98), of Hensington, Oxon. and South Pickenham, Norf.

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. c.1630, 2nd s. of Sir Edward Atkyns, baron of the Exchequer 1645-8, June 1660-9, j.c.p. 1648-Jan. 1660, of Hensington and Albury Hall, Herts. by 1st w. Ursula, da. of Sir Thomas Dacres of Cheshunt, Herts.; bro. of Robert Atkyns. educ. Sidney Sussex, Camb. adm. Oct. 1646, aged 15; L. Inn 1647, called 1653. m. 9 Dec. 1656, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Francis Lucy of the Strand, Westminster, 2s. 7da. suc. fa. in Albury estate 1669; kntd. 26 June 1679.1

Offices Held

J.p. Woodstock 1656-?62, Herts. 1656-79; commr. for oyer and terminer, London, Oxford and Midland circuits July 1660; commr. for assessment, Oxon. Aug. 1660-1, Herts. 1661-80; recorder, Woodstock 1661-2; bencher, L. Inn 1671, reader 1675, treas. 1676.2

Baron of the Exchequer 22 June 1679-86, chief baron 1686-9.


Atkyns’s family had long been associated with Hensington, a hamlet of Woodstock; but he probably owed his election to the Convention rather to his kinship by marriage to Sir Thomas Spencer. An inactive Member, he was named only to the committee of elections and privileges and to the committee for confirming judicial proceedings, and he made no recorded speeches. His record must have satisfied the Court, for in November 1660 he was granted in reversion the monopoly of publishing law books for 40 years. Though he gave the borough ‘the first bell of the ring here, which cost, £27’ he lost his seat in 1661 to Sir William Fleetwood, who was probably also responsible for his resignation as recorder in the following year. In his legal career, Atkyns was overshadowed by his elder brother, from whose Whiggish politics he increasingly diverged. Appointed a judge in 1679, he became chief baron when the Hon. William Montagu declared against James II’s use of the dispensing power. But he was astonished at his promotion, according to his friend Lord Ailesbury (Thomas Bruce), since he had already given the lord chancellor a similar adverse opinion. He was a non-juror after the Revolution, and died in London of the stone in October 1698. His sons eventually inherited the family estates, but none of his descendants sat in Parliament.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Leonard Naylor


  • 1. Westminster City Lib. St. Martin in the Fields par. reg.; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 11-12.
  • 2. W. R. Williams, Oxon. Members , 208; Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 180.
  • 3. Woodstock bor. mss 97/1/14; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 367; Ailesbury Mems. 151.