BOTELER, Sir Philip, 3rd Bt. (c.1667-1719), of Berham Court, Teston, Kent

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1690 - 1708

Family and Education

b. c.1667, 1st s. of Sir Oliver Boteler, 2nd Bt., by his 1st w.; bro. of John Boteler*.  m. lic. 17 Dec. 1690 (with £8,000), Anne (d. 1717), da. of Sir Edward des Bouverie, merchant, of London and Cheshunt, Herts., sis. of Jacob des Bouverie*, 1s.  suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 17 Nov. 1689.1

Offices Held

Recorder, Hythe, 1690–?, jurat, 1698–d. and mayor, 1698–9.2


The Botelers had been established in Kent for four generations. Sir William Boteler, Sir Philip’s grandfather, was created a baronet in 1641, raised a regiment for Charles I and was killed at the battle of Cropredy Bridge in 1644. His widow paid for this royalism in 1647 when she was fined for her late husband’s delinquency. Boteler’s father was a deputy-lieutenant for Kent from 1685 and although he answered in the affirmative to James II’s ‘three questions’ in January 1688, he appears to have supported the Williamite regime, being appointed a j.p. for Kent in March 1690.3

Sir Oliver left his son extensive property in Kent (including Saltwood Castle which he sold in 1712) and in Bedfordshire. Boteler’s inheritance was the source of dispute between himself and his stepmother, Anne. His relationship with her and other relatives was turbulent: on more than one occasion he accused them of trying to defraud him. The resulting court cases reveal an unhappy and violent family history. Boteler’s parents had separated and Sir Oliver had then lived with Anne Uphill for several years, during which time they had two children, before marrying in 1684. The court case of October 1702, Sir Philip Boteler v. Dame Anne Boteler, reveals 1667 to be the approximate date of Boteler’s birth.4

Boteler held several local offices. He was a militia colonel and a deputy-lieutenant for Kent in the 1690s. In an otherwise obscure incident in 1693 Boteler and several other gentlemen quitted their commands in the militia and consequently were required to resign their posts in the Kentish lieutenancy. However, Boteler was reappointed the next year and in fact was a deputy-lieutenant until at least 1702. He was also a justice for Kent from 1689 until his death.5

Boteler entered Parliament for Hythe in 1690, the same year he was made recorder. It seems likely that he co-operated with his fellow MP, William Brockman, in obstructing Hon. John Beaumont’s* attempts to get government candidates into Cinque Port constituencies. Beaumont’s letters to the mayor and corporation of Rye were apparently copied by Boteler and Sir John Austen, 2nd Bt.* These copies were probably taken for Brockman, who led the campaign against ministerial interference in the Cinque Ports.6

Boteler’s Austen relations had Whig sympathies and he himself was classed as a Whig by the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) in March 1690. The next year, April 1691, Robert Harley* listed him as doubtful, but possibly a Country supporter. On 17 Jan. 1693 he received leave of absence for a week. In the 1694–5 session he was listed among Henry Guy’s supporters in connexion with the Commons’ investigation of Guy for corruption, and he again received leave of absence for a week on 1 Feb. 1695. Re-elected in 1695, it was reported in the committee of the whole on the council of trade (probably on 20 or 28 Jan. 1696) that he had noted that if commissioners were unpaid and MPs passed a self-denying clause, then Members would merely exclude themselves from a task which no one else would be willing to undertake. He was forecast as likely to support the Court in the divisions on the proposed council of trade on 31 Jan. 1696, and indeed that day he spoke for an abjuration oath being applied to the proposed council’s members. He signed the Association promptly and in March he voted with the Court on the fixing of the price of guineas at 22s. The 1696–7 session saw an increase in Boteler’s activity in the Commons, although it is noteworthy that he is not recorded as having voted on 25 Nov. 1696 on the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†. He was named to three drafting committees, one of which, on 18 Jan. 1697, was to prevent the export of wool from England. This bill was partly prompted, it seems, by local interests as a petition on the clandestine trade in wool had been presented from Kent on 23 Dec. 1696. Boteler was then first-named on 18 Feb. 1697 to the second-reading committee on this bill before being granted leave of absence on 11 Mar. At the beginning of the following session he spoke on 10 Dec. 1697 in the committee of the whole on the King’s Speech, seemingly in support of a standing army. He received leave of absence for a week on 28 Jan. 1698 but was back in the Commons by 9 Feb. when he was named to an address committee.7

Returned again in 1698, Boteler was queried as a Court supporter in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments. He is not listed as voting against the bill to disband the army on 18 Jan. 1699, but was probably in London because he received leave of absence for ten days on 27 Jan. Further evidence of Boteler’s keenness in protecting local interests occurred on 10 May 1699 when he, Sir Charles Sedley, 5th Bt.*, and William Campion* put a complaint to the Treasury Board against oppressive customs officers in Kent. In the following session, local interests were again to fore in his being the first-named, along with two fellow Cinque Port Members, to a drafting committee on 13 Feb. 1700 for a bill to prevent the sale in England of fish caught in foreign vessels, and on 5 Mar. he was the first-named to the second-reading committee on the resultant bill. On 13 Feb. Boteler spoke against putting a motion to condemn the procuring of crown grants by ministers, a question obviously aimed by Tory Members at Lord Somers (Sir John*). The pro-Whig stance of this speech contrasts with his failure to vote against the disbanding bill and may explain why the compiler of a list of early 1700, analysing the House into ‘interests’, listed Boteler as doubtful, or possibly as opposition.8

Elected with his younger brother for Hythe in the first election of 1701, Boteler was listed as one of those Members thought likely to support the Court in February over the ‘Great Mortgage’. He received leave of absence on 9 May for two weeks. He was returned again in November 1701, and Robert Harley’s analysis of this Parliament queried him as a Tory. This may indicate Harley’s hope that Boteler could be accommodated within his own moderate brand of Toryism, or merely reflect changing circumstances such as the increasing influence of the Tories at Court as well as the death of Boteler’s Whig uncles in 1696 and 1699. Boteler’s speech on 16 Jan. 1702 in support of supplying the full quota of 40,000 men to the allies was contrary to the suggestions of the more extreme Tories such as Hon. Heneage Finch I and Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Bt., and may be seen as pursuing the kind of moderation espoused by Harley in an attempt to win over the King. Boteler was again active in the legislature in the 1701–2 session, but he was not listed among those voting on 26 Feb. 1702 to vindicate the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachment of the Whig ministers, one of whom, Lord Somers, he had previously defended. Again unchallenged at the 1702 election, in 1704 Boteler was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, and the name Boteler (probably indicating both Sir Philip and his brother John) is on Harley’s lobbying list as to be approached through Sir Thomas Hales, 2nd Bt., knight of the shire for Kent. Boteler did not vote for the Tack on 28 Nov. 1704. He was re-elected in 1705, and an analysis of the new Parliament classed him as a ‘Churchman’. In the division on the Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705, Boteler was listed as voting against the Court candidate. If he did, this was the first overt sign of committed Toryism. However, a list compiled in early 1708 still classed him as a Whig.9

A further indication that Boteler had changed his political standpoint occurs in the fact that there was a contest at Hythe in 1708 when, although his brother John was returned, Boteler himself lost out to Hon. John Fane. The configuration of candidates strongly suggests that the Botelers espoused the Tory side and were challenged by two Whigs, Fane and Brockman. Boteler petitioned against the return but eventually withdrew his complaint on 21 Dec. 1709, two days before a new writ was issued for Hythe, attendant on Fane accepting office. However, there is no evidence that Boteler contested the by-election, nor did he stand at the 1710 general election. Ill-health may have persuaded him to leave politics, but he voted for the Tory candidates in the 1713 Kent election. Having made his will as early as 28 Mar. 1708, he did not die until June 1719. He entrusted his property to his wife, his brother John and brothers-in-law William and Jacob des Bouverie, to convey to his only son Philip after payment of his debts. This son was included in a list of 1721 which estimated Jacobite strength in England and Wales in preparation for an uprising.10

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Sonya Wynne / Stuart Handley


  • 1. Burke, Ext. and Dorm. Baronetcies, (1838), 76; C7/39/28; PCC admon. Oct. 1717; PCC 98 Browning, 45 Box.
  • 2. G. Wilks, Barons of the Cinque Ports, 90; Hythe Town Council, Hythe Corporation mss, draft minutes of Assembly, 1213–15.
  • 3. CSP. Dom. 1685, p. 165; June 1687–Feb. 1689, pp. 141, 228; 1689–90, p. 26; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1882), 347.
  • 4. Hasted, Kent, ii. 358, 443, 447, 450–1; iv. 207, 388, 396, 459; v. 123, 130–2, 577; vii. 577; viii. 224, 237, 363, 390; C7/54/107, C7/20/17, C7/39/28, C9/314/23.
  • 5. CSP. Dom. 1689–90, p. 206; 1693, p. 212; 1694–5, p. 19; 1700–2, p. 250; 1702–3, p. 394; Arch. Cant. vi. 76–7; Wilks, 90; info. from Prof. N. Landau.
  • 6. Wilks, 89; Add. 42586, ff. 78, 85.
  • 7. BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 32, debate, [31 Jan. 1696]; HMC Hastings, ii. 253; Cam. Misc. xxix. 356; Add. 70018, ff. 94–95.
  • 8. CSP. Dom. 1698–9, p. 78; Somerset RO, Sanford mss DD/SF 4107(a), debate 13 Feb. 1699[-1700]; W. L. Sachse, Ld. Somers, 160–1.
  • 9. Add. 17677 XX, f. 176; H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 301; Bull. IHR, xxxvii. 36, 46.
  • 10. Wilks, 91; PCC 98 Browning; Hist. Jnl. xxii. 572; P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, 150.