L'ESTRANGE, Sir Nicholas, 4th Bt. (1661-1724), of Hunstanton, Norf.
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Family and Education
b. 2 Dec. 1661, 1st s. of Sir Nicholas L’Estrange, 3rd Bt., of Hunstanton, being o.s. by 1st w. Mary, da. of John Coke of Mileham. educ. Norwich g.s. 1669-72, Scarning 1672-7; Christ Church, Oxf. 1677-9. m. 2 Dec. 1686 (with £4,000), Anne, da. of Sir Thomas Wodehouse of Kimberley, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 13 Dec. 1669.
J.p. Norf. 1680-Feb. 1688, dep. lt. 1681-Feb. 1688, Nov. 1688-9; freeman, King’s Lynn 1682, col. of militia ft. Norf. 1683-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-9.1
L’Estrange’s ancestors had been seated at Hunstanton, 11 miles from Castle Rising, since the reign of Henry I, and first represented the county in the Parliament of 1547. The whole family, including his great-uncle Roger L’Estrange, was strongly royalist in the Civil War and had to pay heavy compensation to their parliamentarian neighbours. Orphaned at the age of eight, L’Estrange became the ward of John Coke I, who handled the Hunstanton estate as carelessly as his own. But his second guardian, Sir Christopher Calthorpe, was more conscientious, and imbued L’Estrange with his high Tory views. He signed the loyal address abhorring the ‘Association’ in 1682. Returned to James II’s Parliament for Castle Rising, his only committee was on the bill for relieving imprisoned debtors. But Danby apparently included him among the Opposition. He gave negative replies on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was removed from the lieutenancy. He refused, like Sir John Holland, to sit with magistrates incapacitated under the Test Act; but he was on duty with his militia regiment at Lynn when the Prince of Orange landed in the west. He would not stand again after the Revolution, and resigned all his employments, much to the annoyance of the Duke of Norfolk, the lord lieutenant, by whom he was much harassed during the next few years. He was tried as a non-juror in 1696, but acquitted on a technicality, and Dean Prideaux hoped to persuade him to take the oaths, describing him as:
a man of parts, virtue, and prudence. ... He is one of the worthiest gentlemen of the country and a very fit person to serve in Parliament, and, would he qualify himself for it, would certainly be chosen for the county.
L’Estrange was able to clear off the encumbrances on the estate, and, with an income of £1,900 in 1701, to relieve the hardships suffered by his great-uncle in his old age. He remained a non-juror, his name being sent to the Pretender as a Jacobite supporter in 1721. He died on 18 Dec. 1724. His heir had become a Roman Catholic, and no later member of the family entered Parliament.2
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Paula Watson
This biography is based on Norf. Arch. xxxiv. 314-29.