OKEDEN, William (c.1662-1718), of Little Critchel, Dorset

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



1689 - 1690
1690 - 1695
1715 - 26 Sept. 1718

Family and Education

b. c.1662, 1st s. of William Okeden of Little Critchel by Mary, da. of John Wyndham of Orchard Wyndham, Som., sis. of Sir William Wyndham, 1st Bt.†  educ. Trinity, Oxf. matric. 4 July 1677, aged 15.  m. Magdalen (d. 1688), da. and coh. of Bartholomew Lane of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, 1da. 2s. illegit.  suc. fa. 1694.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Dorset Jan.–Nov. 1699.


Okeden, who had sat in the Convention as a Tory for Corfe Castle where his family owned property, was returned for Wareham in 1690, probably on the interest of George Pitt*. Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) marked him as a Tory supporter of the Court. Two days after the opening of the session on 22 Mar., Okeden was assaulted in the lobby of the House by Sir Thomas Mompesson*, a Whig whose re-election for Salisbury he had tried to prevent by telling the voters that Mompesson ‘was for the corporation bill and that he was a favourer of the Presbyterians’. Mompesson was accordingly ordered by the House to apologize for the assault. In December, at the time of the projected parliamentary attack upon Carmarthen, it was forecast that Okeden would support him. In April 1691, however, Robert Harley* classed him as a possible supporter of the Country party. Somewhat lax in his attendance, Okeden was twice sent for in custody of the serjeant-at-arms for absenting himself from the service of the House (21 Nov. 1691, 8 Feb. 1694), and was once refused a fortnight’s leave (26 Nov. 1694). He failed to secure a seat in 1695, though he did canvass at Wareham. In 1715 he was elected for his former seat of Corfe Castle, being classed as a Whig in the Worsley list. This change in allegiance was no doubt partly due to opportunism, but it may also have been a reaction to his feud with a Tory neighbour, Sir Nathaniel Napier, 3rd Bt.* Okeden died on 26 Sept. 1718, leaving his estates to his illegitimate sons by his housekeeper and a £5,000 portion to his daughter.2

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 128–9.
  • 2. H. Horwitz, Parl. and Pol. Wm. III, 54; Grey, x. 8; Bodl. Ballard, 22, f. 15; PCC 94 Browning.