Alexander Popham, MP

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Alexander Popham, MP

Death: Died in Chilton, Wiltshire
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Francis Popham, MP and Anne Popham
Husband of Dorothy Popham and Laetitia Popham
Father of Anne Ashe; Sir Francis Popham, KB, MP; Laetitia Popham; George Popham and Alexander Popham
Brother of Frances Conway; John Popham, MP; Edward Popham, General at Sea; Amy Hippersley; Laetitia Seymour and 3 others

Managed by: Will Holmes à Court
Last Updated:

About Alexander Popham, MP

Alexander Popham

Alexander Popham, of Littlecote, Wiltshire (1605 – 1669) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1640 and 1669. He was patron of the philosopher John Locke.

Popham was born at Littlecote House in Wiltshire, the son of Sir Francis Popham and Anne Gardiner Dudley, and grandson of Sir John Popham and wife Amy Games. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and admitted to the Middle Temple in 1622.[1]

Popham was a prominent figure and Justice of the Peace in Somerset. In April 1640 he was elected Member of Parliament for Bath in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Bath for Long Parliament in November 1640.[1]

Popham came from a Presbyterian family and was himself an elder in the church. He supported the Parliamentary cause and fought in the Parliamentary army with the rank of colonel and had a garrison stationed at Littlecote House. Despite his Presbyterianism, his sympathies lay with the Army during the Second Civil War, so he survived Pride's Purge in late 1648 and — after the execution of King Charles I and the founding of the Commonwealth — he served on the Council of State.[1]

In 1654 he was elected MP for Bath again in the First Protectorate Parliament. He was elected MP for Wiltshire in the Second Protectorate Parliament and for Minehead in the Third Protectorate Parliament. He did not support the Protectorate and although he sat in the Protectorate parliaments he refused to take his seat in Cromwell's Other House (1657–1658).[1]

In April 1660 he was elected MP for Bath again in the Convention Parliament. After the restoration of the monarchy, he made his peace with Charles II and entertained him to a "costlie dinner" at Littlecote. He was re-elected MP for Bath in 1661 to the Cavalier Parliament.[1]

Popham married Letitia Carre, daughter of William Carre of Ferniehurst, Scotland, half brother to Robert Carre, favourite of King James I. By his wife he had eight children, including:

  • Sir Francis Popham (d. 28 August 1674), of Littlecote, Wiltshire, who married Helena Rogers and had progeny:
    • Alexander Popham, married Anne Montagu, daughter of Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu, by whom he had progeny:
      • Elizabeth Popham (d. 20 March 1761), married firstly Edward Montagu, Viscount Hinchingbrooke, and secondly Francis Seymour, of Sherborne, Dorset.
    • Letitia Popham (d. 1738), who married Sir Edward Seymour, 5th Baronet (d.1741), her aunt's step-son, the son of the 4th Baronet by his first wife Margaret Wale. Her son was Edward Seymour, 8th Duke of Somerset (1695-1757), who inherited the dukedom from his father's 6th cousin Algernon Seymour, 7th Duke of Somerset (d.1750) who died without male progeny.
  • Essex Popham, eldest daughter, who married on 17 August 1663 John Poulett, 3rd Baron Poulett and had issue;
  • Letitia Popham (d. 16 March 1714), who married (as his second wife) Sir Edward Seymour, 4th Baronet (d.1708), of Berry Pomeroy in Devon, who served as Speaker of the British House of Commons. Her two sons successively inherited the estates, but not the titles, of her childless cousin Edward Conway, 1st Earl of Conway (c.1623-1683) (whose mother was Frances Popham, daughter of Sir Francis Popham (1573–1644) MP, of Wellington in Somerset and Littlecote) and under the terms of the bequest adopted the arms and additional surname of Conway. Her second son and heir to his brother Popham Seymour-Conway (1675-1699) was Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Baron Conway (1679-1732) father of Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford (1718–1794).

This Alexander Popham is not to be confused with his nephew Alexander Popham, son of Alexander's brother Edward Popham, who was born deaf and was taught to speak by two scientists, John Wallis and William Holder.[2] He is considered to be one of the earliest cases of a born deaf person learning to talk.[2]



POPHAM, Alexander (c.1605-69), of Houndstreet, Som. and Littlecote, Wilts.

Family and Education

b. c.1605, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Francis Popham† of Houndstreet and Wellington, Som. by Anne, da. and h. of John Dudley of Stoke Newington, Mdx.; bro. of John Popham† and Edward Popham. educ. Balliol, Oxf. matric. 16 July 1621, aged 16; M. Temple 1622; travelled abroad (Spain) 1630-1. m. (1) 29 Oct. 1635, Dorothy (d. 2 Apr. 1643), da. and h. of Richard Cole of Nailsea, Som., 1s. d.v.p.; (2) c.1644, Letitia, da. of William Kerr of Linton, Roxburgh, groom of the bedchamber to James I, 5s. (2 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. fa. 1644.3

Offices Held

Col. (parliamentary) 1642-5.

Commr. for maintenance of forces. Som. 1643-4, assessing malignants 1643, assessment, Som. 1643-52, Wilts. 1644-52, Lincs. (Kesteven) 1647-8, Som. and Wilts. 1657, Jan. 1660-d., Westminster Aug. 1660-3, sequestration, Som. 1643, accounts 1643, levying of money, Som. and Bristol 1643, defence, Wilts, 1644, courts martial, London 1644, security, Bristol 1645; j.p. Lincs. (Kesteven) 1646-?9, Som. 1649-d., Wilts. 1652-d., Westminster July 1660-d.; commr. for militia, Som. and Wilts. 1648, 1659, Som., Wilts., Bristol and Westminster Mar. 1660; elder, Bath classis 1648; custos rot. Som. 1650-July 1660, col. of militia horse 1650-at least Apr. 1660; commr. for oyer and terminer, Western circuit 1655, 1665; dep. lt. Wilts. c. Aug. 1660-d., Som. 1666-d.; commr. for sewers, Westminster Aug. 1660, Som. Aug., Dec. 1660.

Commr. for regulating excise 1645, exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648; councillor of state 1649-Feb. 1651, Dec. 1651-2, 25 Feb.-31 May 1660; dep. gov. Society of Mines Royal 1654-7, asst. 1658-61, gov. 1661-3.4


Popham’s ancestors had been seated in Somerset since the late 13th century, and first represented the county in 1300. In the Civil War the family was strongly parliamentarian. Popham, though a Presbyterian elder, continued to sit after Pride’s Purge and served on the council of state. But he opposed the Protectorate and refused to take his seat in the other House in 1657-8. He was in touch with royalist agents in 1659, declaring himself ‘ready to expiate his former actions’, but proved ‘a broken reed’ during Booth’s rising. In Jan. 1660 he offered his life, fortune and interest to the King, but the Cavaliers looked upon him with suspicion as one of the Presbyterian junto.5

Popham was returned unopposed to the Convention for Bath, ten miles from his residence at Houndstreet. Though marked by Lord Wharton as a friend, and regarded as aiming at a conditional Restoration, he was reported to be delighted with the unanimity and cheerfulness of proceedings in the first week of Parliament. He was not an active Member, making no recorded speeches and serving on only four committees, of which the most important was to draw up instructions for the messengers to the King. Popham and his colleague William Prynne were opposed at Bath by two Cavaliers in the general election of 1661, but allowed to take their seats after a double return. He was again inactive, being appointed to only six committees. He gave the King ‘a costly dinner’ at Littlecote in 1663, and further demonstrated his loyalty by his activity as deputy lieutenant when a rising was threatened a few weeks later. He must have conformed, but is unlikely to have favoured the Clarendon Code. He was among the Members chosen to thank the King and the City for defending the nation against the Dutch in 1664. He was buried at Chilton Foliat on 8 Dec. 1669, leaving an estate estimated at £4,000 p.a.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Irene Cassidy


  • 1. Excluded.
  • 2. New writ.
  • 3. Harbin, Som. Members, 167-9; Collinson, Som. iii. 162-3; Lysons, Environs, iii. 298; SP16/502/72.
  • 4. Som. RO, DD/Pot 162; Merc. Pub. 26 Apr. 1660; C181/7/38.
  • 5. Collinson, iii. 71; Keeler, Long Parl. 310; Carte, Ormond, iii. 663-4; Underdown, Royalist Conspiracy, 261; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 255, 520, 614.
  • 6.Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 614; v. 5; CSP Dom. 1663-4, pp. 264, 301; HMC Hastings, ii. 193; Top. and Gen. iii. 585.



  • Alexander Popham1
  • M, #548565
  • Last Edited=18 Feb 2013
  • Alexander Popham is the son of Sir Francis Popham and Anne Dudley.1
  • Citations
  • [S18] Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995). Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of National Biography.
  • From:


  • General Alexander Popham
  • M, #24402, b. 1605, d. 1669
  • Last Edited=1 Apr 2013
  • General Alexander Popham was born in 1605.1 He married Letitia Carre, daughter of William Carre.1 He died in 1669.1
  • He held the office of Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Bath in 1640.1 He lived at Littlecote, Wiltshire, England.2
  • Children of General Alexander Popham and Letitia Carre
    • Letitia Popham+ d. 16 Mar 1714
    • Anne Popham+2
    • Essex Popham+1
    • Francis Popham1 b. 1636, d. 1674
  • Citations
  • [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
  • [S37] BP2003 volume 2, page 1899. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • From:


  • Anne DUDLEY
  • Born: 12 Feb 1574/5, Cumberland, England
  • Father: John DUDLEY
  • Mother: Elizabeth GARDINER
  • Married: Francis POPHAM (Sir Knight) (son of Sir John Popham and Amy Games) 1590
  • Children:
    • 1. John POPHAM
    • 2. Alexander POPHAM (Sir Knight) (m. Lettice Carr)
    • 3. Thomas POPHAM
    • 4. Frances POPHAM (m. Edward Conway, V. Conway)
    • 5. Hugh POPHAM
    • 6. Edward Gwyn POPHAM (m. Anne Carr)
    • 7. Mary POPHAM
    • 8. Amy POPHAM
    • 9. Elizabeth POPHAM
    • 10. Alexander POPHAM (Sir)
    • 11. Jane POPHAM (m. Thomas Luttrell, Esq.)
    • 12. Eleanor POPHAM
    • 13. Catherine POPHAM
    • 14. Anne POPHAM
  • From: DUDLEY1


  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 46
  • Popham, Francis by John Knox Laughton
  • POPHAM, Sir FRANCIS (1573–1644), soldier and politician, born in 1573, only son of Sir John Popham (1531?–1607) [q. v.] of Littlecote, matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 17 May 1588, being then fifteen (Foster, Alumni Oxonienses), but does not seem to have taken a degree (Clark, Oxford Registers). In 1589 he was entered as a student of the Middle Temple. He was knighted by the Earl of Essex at Cadiz in 1596. Between 1597 and his death in 1644 he successively represented in parliament Somerset, Wiltshire, Marlborough, Great Bedwin in Wiltshire, Chippenham, and Minehead, sitting in every parliament except the Short parliament. He would appear to have inherited his father's grasping disposition, without his legal ability or training, and to have been constantly involved in lawsuits, which he was charged with conducting in a vexatious manner. Like his father, he took an active interest in the settlement of Virginia and New England, and was a member of council of both countries. He was buried at Stoke Newington on 15 Aug. 1644, but in March 1647 was moved to Bristol. He married Ann (b. 1575), daughter of John Dudley of Stoke Newington, and by her had five sons and eight daughters.
  • His eldest son, John, married, in 1621, Mary, daughter of Sir St. Sebastian Harvey, was a member for Bath in the parliament of 1627–8, and died (without issue) in or about January 1638 at Littlecote, where he was buried with much pomp (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 20 Jan. 1638).
  • Popham's second son, Alexander, born in 1605, matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 16 July 1621, being then sixteen (Foster, Alumni Oxon.) In 1627 an Alexander Popham was outlawed as a debtor and his property assigned to his creditors (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 23 March, 15 Aug.), but the identification seems doubtful. From 1640 he sat continuously in parliament as member for Bath. On the death of his father in 1644 he succeeded to the estates of Littlecote. He took an active part on the side of the parliament in the civil war; on the death of Charles I he was at once appointed a member of the council of state, and was one of Cromwell's lords in 1657, which did not interfere with his sitting in the Cavalier parliament of 1661, entertaining Charles II at Littlecote on his way to Bath in 1663, or, as a deputy-lieutenant of Wiltshire, taking energetic measures ‘to secure dangerous persons’ (ib. 2 Sept., 14 Oct. 1663). He died in November 1669. Popham's youngest son, Edward, is separately noticed.
  • [Brown's Genesis of the United States; Cal. State Papers, Dom.; Burke's Landed Gentry.]
  • From:,_Francis_(DNB00)


  • The Journal of the British Archaeological Association, Volume 32
  • Pg.379
  • Richard Cole, his eldest son, succeeded to the estate, and lived at Nailsea Court. Born 1588, he was a county magistrate and High Sheriff of Somerset, 1646. He died 7th, 1650, aged sixty-two. He married Ann, daughter of Sir Arthur Hopton of Witham Friary, near Frome, in Somerset. She died June 9th, 1650, only two days after her husband. Both were buried in Nailsea Church.1
  • .... etc.
  • Pg.380
  • Mrs. Cole of Nailsea Court was thus the aunt of the celebrated royalist General, Lord Hopton. We know not which cause her husband espoused during the civil wars. They died within two days of each other, in 1650.1 They had two children: 1. Samuel, who died young, 1626, aged twelve.
  • 2. Dorothy, who married at Nailsea, Oct. 29, 1635, Alexander Popham. In the Mayor's Chapel, Bristol, there is an inscription to the virtuous Dorothy Popham, late wife of the Honourable Colonel Alexander Popham. She was the daughter of R. Cole of Nailsea. She died 1643. "Also Alexander, son and heir of Alexander and Dorothy Popham, buried 1642." ....
  • Apparently, as Richard Cole left no children, the Nailsea Court estate devolved on his brother, William Cole,2 born 1600, died 1657. I cannot find any mention of his wife, so perhaps he never married. .... etc.
  • Probably at William Cole's death, in 1657, the estate of
    • .... etc.


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Alexander Popham, MP's Timeline

Age 29
Age 31
Age 33
Age 35
Age 41
Age 64
Chilton, Wiltshire