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Sir John Reresby, 2nd Baronet

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Sir Reresby,


May 12, 1689

Memoirs and Travels of Sir John Reresby

Sir John Reresby, 2nd Baronet (14 April 1634 – 12 May 1689) was a 17th-century English politician and diarist. On returning from exile in 1667, he became a member of Parliament in 1673.


Early life

Reresby was born at Thrybergh, Yorkshire in 1634, the eldest son of Sir John Reresby. His mother, Frances, was daughter of Edmund Yarburgh of Snaith Hall, Yorkshire. Reresby, in his Memoir and Travels, says that in 1652 he was admitted of Trinity College in Cambridge, but, as the college refused to allow him the rank and privilege of a nobleman, he did not go into residence, and no entry of his admission exists. In 1646 he had succeeded to the Baronetage upon the death of his father Sir John Reresby, 1st Baronet

Travels abroad

After the English Civil War, in 1654 Reresby went abroad, where he became a great friend of Henrietta Maria, the widow of Charles I, whom he visited in France. The account he wrote of his travels during this period was published in his Memoirs, published forty years after his death; they are invaluable to historians as sidelights on the dramatic times through which he lived. After his return to England, Reresby married Frances, elder daughter of William Browne of York, barrister-at-law, on 9 March 1665. They had five sons and four daughters.

Election to Parliament

Soon after the Restoration, Reresby returned to England with a letter of recommendation from the queen-mother, and was presented to the king at Whitehall. He served the office of Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1667. At a by-election in November 1673 he was returned to parliament for Aldborough in Yorkshire, together with Robert Benson. He took his seat in the House of Commons on 14 April 1675, his 41st birthday. Legal differences with the family of the Duke of Norfolk may have lain behind a false accusation made against Reresby: that he had caused his black servant to be gelded "and that the operation had killed him" on 20 October 1676. According to Reresby he had not been gelded and the cause of death was an "imposthume" (abscess) in the head (p. 149). In 1678, he spoke in favour of giving an aid to the king, and the following month obtained a commission for raising an independent company of foot, and was appointed governor of Bridlington. In December following Reresby opposed Danby's impeachment.

At the general election in February 1679 he was again returned for Aldborough, but was unseated on petition in the following May. In 1680 he drew up the Yorkshire petition of abhorrence, but took care to write it carefully so that no great exceptions could be taken at it. At the general election in February 1681 he was once more elected for Aldborough. In November following he was made a justice of the peace for Middlesex and Westminster, and in that capacity superintended the proceedings against Thynne's murderers in February 1682.

The king's man in York

On Halifax's recommendation, Reresby was appointed governor of York in April 1682. He assisted in the plot to obtain the forfeiture of the city's charter. At the general election after the death of Charles II, Reresby was elected for the city of York. Reresby took a prominent part in the House of Commons as a supporter of the court.

In November 1685 he voted in favour of obtaining the concurrence of the House of Lords with the address passed by the commons for the dismissal of the Roman Catholic officers and he refused to sign an address of thanks to the king for ‘his late indulgence for liberty of conscience’. Though he promised the king to stand for York at the next general election, Reresby had for some time past been growing lukewarm in the royal cause. On 22 November 1688, York Castle was seized by Danby and his adherents, who declared for the Prince of Orange in what would become known as the Glorious Revolution. Reresby was taken prisoner, but his parole was subsequently accepted, and he was thereupon allowed to retire to Thrybergh. Early in the following year he went up to London, and was presented to William by his old friend Halifax. He died suddenly in 1689, aged 55, and was buried in St. Leonard's Church, Thrybergh, where a monument was erected to his memory.


Reresby's eldest son, William, born in 1668, succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his father. After leading a life of extravagance, gambling away his fortune, he sold the family estate to John Savile of Methley in 1705, and died in the Fleet prison. Tamworth, the second son, born in 1670. John, the third son, died in 1683; George in 1689. Leonard, the youngest son, born in 1679, succeeded his brother William as the fourth baronet, and died unmarried in 1748, when the baronetcy became extinct.


Sir John Reresby, 2nd Baronet Wikipedia

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