PELHAM, Sir Nicholas (c.1650-1739), of Catsfield Place, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



23 Feb. 1671
Oct. 1679
24 Nov. 1702
27 Jan. 1726

Family and Education

b. c.1650, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Thomas Pelham, 2nd Bt., of Halland, Suss. being o.s. by 3rd w. Margaret, da. of Sir Henry Vane, sec. of state 1640-1, of Fairlawn, Kent; half-bro. of Sir John Pelham, 3rd Bt. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 13 May 1665, aged 14. m. 26 Nov. 1674, Jane, da. and coh. of James Huxley of Dornford, Oxon., 2s. 1da. Kntd. 20 Apr. 1661.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Suss. 1673-80, 1689-90, Oxon. 1677-80, Seaford and Pevensey 1689, recusants, Suss. 1675; j.p. Suss. by 1680-7, 1689-?d., dep. lt. 1685-May 1688, Oct. 1688-?d.; asst. Saltpetre Co. 1692; lt.-col. of militia ft. Suss. by 1697-?d.2


Pelham apparently took little interest in politics except as the family interest required, though, as a well-endowed younger son, he was able to pay his own election expenses. His half-brother’s seat lay some 12 miles from Seaford, where he was successful at a contested by-election in 1671. But he was not active in the Cavalier Parliament. Of the eight committees on which he sat, the most important was for preventing the growth of Popery on 27 May 1675. His name appeared on the working lists, but in 15 June 1678 he acted as teller for the motion that the Government should lay their entire financial programme before the House within the next three days. There is no evidence that he stood at the subsequent general election, but he was returned to the second Exclusion Parliament for Sussex with his half-brother, defeating the exclusionist (Sir) John Fagg I. He was moderately active, being named to three committees, including that to examine the disbandment accounts. Like his half-brother he was presented as disaffected by the grand jury in 1684. He was defeated at Seaford in 1685, and removed from the commission of the peace in 1687, but he remained a deputy lieutenant. He told the lord lieutenant bluntly that he was not for abrogating the Penal Laws and the Tests, but would ‘contribute to the choosing of such Members of Parliament as he shall think loyal and duly qualified to serve the King and their country’. He regained his seat at Seaford in 1689, but was totally inactive in the Convention, and did not vote for the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. On his subsequent brief appearances in the House, he acted with the Whigs, as did his two sons. He died on 8 Nov. 1739 in his ninetieth year.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. J. Comber, Suss. Genealogies Lewes, 208, 211; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 136; HMC Hastings, ii. 166; Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 2), ii. 236.
  • 2. Sel. Charters (Selden Soc. xxviii), 238; Eg. 1626, f. 41.
  • 3. R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 1, p. 433; Suss. Arch. Colls. vii. 109.