ERNLE, Sir Walter, 1st Bt. (c.1628-82), of The Close, Salisbury and Etchilhampton, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1628, 1st s. of Edward Ernle of Etchilhampton by Gertrude, da. of John St. Loe of Knighton. educ. Leyden 1645; m. Temple 1647. m. by 1649, Martha, da. of Edward Tooker of Maddington, and h. to her bro. Sir Giles Tooker, 1st Bt., 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1656; cr. Bt. 2 Feb. 1661.1
J.p. Wilts. 1652, July 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Wilts. Jan. 1660-80, Salisbury Aug. 1660-3; capt. of militia horse, Wilts. Apr. 1660-?d.; sheriff, Wilts. 1661-2, dep.-lt. 1662-d., commr. for oyer and terminer, Western circuit 1665, recusants, Wilts. 1675.2
Ernle’s father, a younger son, served as a royalist commissioner in the Civil War and was fined £400. Ernle’s marriage presumably earned him his fleeting appearance on the commission of the peace under the Commonwealth, and perhaps encouraged him to stand for Devizes, three miles from Etchilhampton, on the corporation interest in 1661. His estate was valued at £1,500 p.a. in 1667. In the first Exclusion Parliament he was marked ‘doubtful’ by Shaftesbury. A moderately active Member, he was appointed to four committees, including that for the security bill. He was absent from the division on the exclusion bill, and on the next day was given leave to go into the country. At the general election he apparently stood in conjunction with the court supporter George Johnson, and he was not removed from local office. He was successful in 1681, but left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament. He died on 25 July 1682 and was buried at Bishop’s Cannings. His grandson, Sir Edward Ernle, was returned for Devizes as a Whig in 1695.3