ELLISON, Robert (1614-78), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb. and Hebburn, co. Dur.

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

bap. 2 Feb. 1614, 2nd s. of Cuthbert Ellison, merchant (d.1628), of Newcastle by Jane, da. of Christopher Ile, merchant, of Newcastle. m. (1) 29 Mar. 1635, Elizabeth (d. 30 June 1665), da. of Cuthbert Grey, merchant, of Newcastle, 7s. (1 d.v.p.) 7da.; (2) 27 July 1672, Agnes, wid. of James Briggs, merchant, of Newcastle, s.p.2

Offices Held

Member, merchant adventurers of Newcastle 1634, asst. 1645-8, gov. 1676-d.; freeman, Newcastle 1635; sheriff, Newcastle 1644, co. Dur. 1658-July 1660; commr. for sequestration, Newcastle 1644, assessment, Newcastle 1645-8, co. Dur. 1657, Newcastle and co. Dur. Aug. 1660-1, Newcastle 1677-d., northern assoc., Newcastle 1645, accounts 1645; member, hostmen’s co. of Newcastle 1645; commr. for militia, co. Dur. and Newcastle 1648, co. Dur., Northumb. and Newcastle Mar. 1660; j.p. co. Dur. 1657-9; c.-in-c. militia, Newcastle Jan. 1660, member of Eastland Co. 1663.3


Ellison’s family had been established as Newcastle merchants since the middle of the 16th century, but had not served in Parliament. Ellison, a Presbyterian, was nominated sheriff when the town was captured by the Scots in 1644. He was returned for the borough as a recruiter after a hot contest, but secluded at Pride’s Purge. He appears to have profited by the upheaval in municipal government, and bought an estate in county Durham about 1650. Although very anxious to resume his seat in 1660, he was probably unable to leave his burdensome sheriffdom of the county. But he was re-elected in April, and became a moderately active Member of the Convention. He was appointed to 36 committees, of which the most important were to consider the indemnity bill, to prepare an excise bill, to inquire into unauthorized Anglican publications, and to settle ecclesiastical livings. His only recorded speech was on the indemnity bill on 7 July, when he moved to reject the charge of plunder against Sir Wilfred Lawson, ‘and no mention of his name in the papers’. On 6 Aug. he was ordered to carry to the Lords the bill for the enfranchisement of Durham. He was also on the committee to establish the names of Charles I’s judges; but he was less active after the recess, and did not stand again. He presumably remained a dissenter, holding no office between 1661 and 1677, though he was very active in the affairs of the merchant adventurers. He died on 12 Jan. 1678, and was buried at St. Nicholas, Newcastle. The next member of the family to sit was his great-grandson, an army officer, who bought a seat at Shaftesbury in 1747.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Gillian Hampson


  • 1. Did not sit after Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648.
  • 2. R. E. and C. E. Carr. Hist. Fam. Carr, iii. 118-19.
  • 3. Newcastle Merchant Adventurers (Surtees Soc. xciii), 136, 146; (ci), 253; Reg. of Freemen (Newcastle Recs. iii), 18; R. Welford, Men of Mark ’twixt Tyne and Tweed, ii. 168; R. Howell, Newcastle and the Puritan Revolution, 187; Newcastle Hostmen (Surtees Soc. cv), 269; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 526.
  • 4. Howell, 167-8, 183-4; HMC Popham, 161; Bowman diary, f. 62v; CJ, viii. 114; Merchant Adventurers (Surtees Soc. ci), 112; Surtees, Dur. ii. 76.