ELSON, William I (1673-1705), of Oving, nr. Chichester, Suss.

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



1695 - 1698
Feb. 1701 - Oct. 1705

Family and Education

bap. 27 Nov. 1673, 1st s. of William Elson of Oving by Jane Austen of Wivelsfield, Suss.  m. 9 Oct. 1694, Bridget, da. of Daniel German (or Jarman) of Steeple Morden, Cambs., 1s. 2da.  suc. fa. 1679, gdfa. 1684.1

Offices Held

Common councilman, Chichester by 1695–d.


Elson’s family had been settled in Sussex since the late 16th century, acquiring the manor of Oving, just over two miles from Chichester, in 1670. Elson himself had been elected a common councilman for Chichester by 1695, when he successfully contested the borough as a Tory. Forecast as a probable opponent of the Court in the division on the proposed council of trade on 31 Jan. 1696, he voted against the ministry in March on fixing the price of guineas at 22s., although in the meantime he had signed the Association. In the next session he voted on 25 Nov. 1696 against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, but otherwise was inactive, being sent for in custody twice for absenting himself without leave (7 Jan. 1696, 25 Jan. 1697): indeed in each session he was granted leave of absence, usually for the recovery of his health (21 Feb., 29 Dec. 1696, 26 Feb. 1697, 27 Jan. 1698). Classed as a supporter of the Country party in a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments in 1698, he did not in fact stand in the general election of that year. In June 1700 he purchased the manor of Selsey and other lands in Sussex for £8,940 from Sir William Morley*. He returned to Parliament in February 1701 and remained one of the Members for Chichester for the rest of his days. He was classed as a Tory in Robert Harley’s* list of the second 1701 Parliament, was blacklisted as having opposed preparations for war in 1701, and on 26 Feb. 1702 supported the motion vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachments.2

So delighted was Elson with the accession of Anne that the Chichester corporation only budgeted £25 for the celebrations attending her proclamation as Elson had ‘promised the corporation to make the conduit run with wine at his own charge’. In Parliament he was forecast on 30 Oct. 1704 as a probable supporter of the Tack and duly voted for it on 28 Nov., thus earning the description ‘True Church’ in a list compiled in June 1705. Re-elected in 1705, he was marked as absent in the division on the Speaker on 25 Oct. but in fact had died some days previously, before 23 Oct. His son William II* inherited the estate.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. HMC Lords, n.s. vii. 68–69; Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. lxxxix), 41; PCC 97 Cann, 170 Gee; IGI, Cambs.
  • 2. Suss. Arch. Colls. xxxiv. 188–90; HMC Lords, 68–69.
  • 3. Suss. Arch. Colls. 188–90; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 604.