HOLT, Richard (c.1635-1710), of Nursted House, Buriton, Hants.

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.1635, o.s. of John Holt, brewer, of Portsmouth, Hants by Katharine, da. and h. of Anthony Brickett of Salisbury, Wilts. educ. St. John’s, Oxf. 1652, BA 1655; M. Temple 1656. m. Margaret (d. 17 Aug. 1685), da. of Richard Whithed of Norman Court, West Tytherley, Hants, 1da. suc. fa. 1670.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Portsmouth 1658, 1667, Lymington 1677; commr. for assessment, Wilts. and Salisbury 1673-4, Hants 1679-80, 1689-90; j.p. and dep. lt. Hants ?1689-d.; commr. for wastes and spoils, New Forest 1692; lt.-col. of militia ft. Hants by 1697, col. 1699-d.2

Capt. of ft. regt. of Richard Norton 1667.


Holt’s grandfather, in his second term as mayor of Portsmouth in 1627, entered his pedigree at the College of Arms, claiming descent from the Lancashire family. Holt’s father was also prominent in the municipal life of Portsmouth, serving as mayor in 1641-2 and again under the Commonwealth. He was victualler to the parliamentary navy, but he acquired manorial property in the county and seems to have retired to the Close at Salisbury before the Restoration. Holt himself was a country gentleman who was already living at Nursted in 1667, when he was temporarily commissioned in the army. He acquired an interest at Lymington by marriage. Probably an Independent in religion, he renounced the Covenant when he took out the freedom of the borough. He gave £10 towards building the new town hall in 1684 and was returned to James II’s Parliament as a Whig. But he left no trace on its records.3

In April 1688 the royal electoral agents expected Holt and his colleague John Burrard to be reelected for Lymington, but believed that they would not comply with the King’s ecclesiastical policy. By September, however, they had fully declared themselves in the court interest. They were returned to the Convention, but on 23 Feb. 1689 Holt was given leave to go into the country for his health, and he never became an active Member. The first of his eight committees was to inquire into the fall of rents, 4 May. On 1 June he told the House:

We are beholden to Londonderry; if they had not made a good resistance, King James had been at Edinburgh before now. I never expect redress of these miscarriages, till we come to the root. If [the] Londonderry miscarriage be not redressed, it will come home to us. The old army we see is continued, and the new one laid aside. Those who were King James’s creatures are now in office and employment, and in great ones.

He was nominated to the committee to inquire into the delay in sending relief. On 18 June he spoke against excepting Sir Edward Herbert from the indemnity bill. He was among those ordered to inspect the Admiralty records on Irish affairs and to hear evidence about the trial and conviction of Titus Oates, after which he helped to manage a conference. In the second session he criticized the financial administration of the war:

The present state of the nation is a state of war; all conclude that money is the sinews of war; I fear there have been great embezzlements, and I hope you will inquire into it—how it has been issued out. I have heard the stores are empty, and I believe there is a great want of money. ... We have appropriated money for the stores and yards ... but it has been like boys scrambling for nuts, some get three or four and others none at all. If we appropriate this money, it seems by that we are jealous, and why should we not inquire? You have been told by an honourable person how little there is, and how much wanting.

He was not listed as a supporter of the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations; but after the Christmas recess he was named to the committees to reform the bankruptcy law and to regulate elections in the Cinque Ports.4

Holt transferred to Petersfield, two miles from his home, for the general election of 1690, and represented it in the next two Parliaments as a court Whig. He was buried at Buriton on 14 Apr. 1710, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament. His daughter brought Nursted to her husband, Henry Henley, MP for Lyme Regis (with two intervals) from 1690 to 1715.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Wilts. Par. Reg. v. 43; PCC 154 Essex, 76 Penn; B. Whitehead, Hist. Whitehead Fams. 23; R. Rawlinson, Antiqs. Salisbury Cathedral, 49.
  • 2. R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 355, 359; E. King, Old Times Revisited, 190; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1550; Eg. 1626, f. 45; CSP Dom. 1699-1700, p. 235.
  • 3. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 228; East, 314; CSP Dom. 1648-9, pp. 374-5; VCH Hants, iii. 94; King, 75, 78.
  • 4. Grey, ix. 280, 480; CJ, x. 217.
  • 5. Hants RO, Buriton par. reg.; Collinson, Som. ii. 171.