John Conduitt

John Conduitt (/ˈkɒnd(j)uɪt/; c. 8 March 1688 – 23 May 1737) was a British Member of Parliament and Master of the Mint who married Sir Isaac Newton's niece.

Early life

Conduitt was the son of Leonard and Sarah Conduitt, and was baptised at St Paul's, Covent Garden, London, on 8 March 1688. He was admitted to St Peter's College, Westminster School, as a King's scholar in June 1701. In 1705, while at Westminster, he was elected a Queen's scholar to Trinity College, Cambridge, with three others He was admitted there in June of that year and matriculated to the University, but did not graduate, staying only two years.[1]


By 1707, based on his own account he was "travelling" in Holland and Germany. In September 1710, he became judge advocate with the British forces in Portugal. He was a "very pretty gentleman" according to James Brydges.[2] From October 1710, he acted as the Earl of Portmore's secretary when the latter arrived in Portugal (N&Q). During this time, he kept the Earl of Dartmouth informed as to the Portuguese court. He returned to London by October 1711 with Lord Portmore. During the following year, he was made a captain in a regiment of the dragoons serving in Portugal, but by September 1713 he had been appointed Deputy Paymaster General to the British forces in Gibraltar. The posts appear to have been remunerative, and in May 1717 he returned home to England a richer man.

Parliament and Mint

In June 1721, Conduitt was elected, on petition, a Whig member for Whitchurch, Hampshire, which he represented during the 1720s as a loyal supporter of Walpole's government. He took an active interest in the running of Isaac Newton's office of Master of the Mint in the latter years of Newton's life, and he was appointed in his stead in March 1727 after Newton's death. He attempted to collect materials for a life of Newton, but after starting, he quickly stopped. In 1728, he was somewhat unhelpful to John Newton, the heir to Isaac Newton's real estate, and Newton had to resort to the Chancery courts to get satisfaction.[3]

By the early 1730s, Conduitt had become a relatively prominent parliamentary speaker, defending the government on a number of issues, including Walpole's maintenance of the Septennial Act. In 1734, he was re-elected to his seat, but chose to represent Southampton. On 12 January 1736, he introduced a successful bill repealing an early 17th-century act against conjuration and witchcraft.

Personal life

Shortly after his arrival back in England, he became acquainted with Sir Isaac Newton and his niece Catherine Barton. After what must have been a whirlwind romance, they applied to the Faculty Office for a licence, which was granted on 23 August 1717, to marry at St Paul's, Covent Garden. Catherine, then aged 38 years, described herself as 32 years old, Conduitt more correctly as about 30. Despite the licence, they instead married three days later on 26 August in her uncle's parish in the Russell Court Chapel in the church of St Martin in the Fields. Perhaps in an effort to dignify himself for his impending marriage to one of London's famous daughters, Conduitt obtained for himself a grant of arms from the College of Heralds on 16 August.

The couple had one daughter, named after her mother, born 23 May 1721 and baptised in the same parish of St Martin's on 8 June. Partly as a result of his antiquarian interests, Conduitt was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society on 1 December 1718, proposed by the president, and his uncle by marriage, Sir Isaac Newton.

In 1720, Conduitt acquired the estate and house at Cranbury Park, near Winchester; towards the end of his life, Sir Isaac Newton took up residence at Cranbury with his niece and her husband until his death in 1727.[4]

Death and descendants

Conduitt died on 23 May 1737 and was buried in Westminster Abbey on 29 May to the right of Sir Isaac Newton. His wife Catherine died in 1739 and was buried with him. In his will dated 1732, he left his estate to his wife and made her guardian of their underage daughter Catherine. On his death, the trustees sold the estate at Cranbury Park[4][5] as well as estates at Weston and Netley, near Southampton to Thomas Lee Dummer, who succeeded him as MP for Southampton

His daughter Catherine later married John Wallop, Viscount Lymington (died 1749) in 1740. He was the eldest son of John Wallop, 1st Earl of Portsmouth, and their son, John Wallop, succeeded as the second earl of Portsmouth.


  1. ^ "Conduitt, John (CNDT705J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Letter to Capt Leigh 3 October 1710, Huntingdon Library, California, ms 57, vol 4, folder 169
  3. ^ PRO, Chancery depositions
  4. ^ a b Yonge, Charlotte M. (1898). "Cranbury and Brambridge". John Keble's Parishes – Chapter 6. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  5. ^ Page, William (1908). "Parishes – Hursley: Cranbury". A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3. Retrieved 27 September 2009.

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Isaac Newton
Master of the Mint
Succeeded by
Richard Arundell
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
George Carpenter
Frederick Tylney
Member of Parliament for Whitchurch
With: George Carpenter 1721–1722
Thomas Vernon 1722–1727
Thomas Farrington 172
John Selwyn 1727–1734
John Selwyn, Jr 1734–1735
Succeeded by
John Selwyn, Jr
John Mordaunt
Preceded by
Anthony Henley
Member of Parliament for Southampton
With: Sir William Heathcote
Succeeded by
Thomas Lee Dummer
Anthony Henley (died 1748)

Anthony Henley (c. 1704–1748), of the Grange, near Alresford, Hampshire, was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1727 to 1734.

Henley was the eldest son of Anthony Henley, MP of the Grange, Northington, Hampshire and his wife Mary Bertie, daughter of Hon. Peregrine Bertie of Waldershare, Kent. In 1711 he succeeded his father to the manors of Northington and Swarraton, known as the Grange. He also inherited his father’s waggish humour. He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford on 21 March 1720, aged 15. .

Soon after coming of age, Henley was returned as Member of Parliament for Southampton at the 1727 British general election. There were no recorded votes by him before1733. That year, the Southampton corporation asked their representatives to oppose the excise bill. He did vote against the bill, although a version of a reply to the corporation berating them for their impudence and refusing to follow their instructions was published, probably as a joke of his own making. Later, he voted against the Administration on the repeal of the Septennial Act. At the 1734 British general election, general election there was a double return for Southampton, on which the House of Commons awarded the seat to John Conduitt. Henley did not stand again.On 11 February 1728, Henley married Lady Elizabeth Berkeley, daughter of James Berkeley, 3rd Earl of Berkeley. The letter-writer Mary Delaney reported of the occasion that Lady Betty Berkeley …… being almost 15 has thought it time to be married and ran away last week with Mr. Henley, a man noted for his impudence and immorality but a good estate and a beau. Henley died without issue on 24 December 1748.

Catherine Barton

Catherine Barton (1679–1739) was Isaac Newton's half-niece, probable mistress of Charles Montagu and later, the wife of John Conduitt.

Charles Wallop

Charles Wallop (12 December 1722 – 11 August 1771) was a British politician.

The third son of John Wallop, 1st Earl of Portsmouth, Charles was educated at Winchester School from 1732 to 1739 and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge from 1740 to 1743. In the 1747 election, his father had him returned for Whitchurch, where his family had acquired an electoral interest when his eldest brother married the daughter of John Conduitt. He supported Henry Pelham's government, but did not stand again in 1754. Wallop died unmarried in 1771 in Hackney.

Cranbury Park

Cranbury Park is a stately home and country estate situated in the parish of Hursley, near to Otterbourne, Winchester, England. It was formerly the home to Sir Isaac Newton and later to the Chamberlayne family, whose descendants now own and occupy the house and surrounding park and farmland. The house and park are not generally open to the public, although open days are occasionally held.

Fluent (mathematics)

A fluent is a time-varying quantity or variable. The term was used by Isaac Newton in his early calculus to describe his form of a function. The concept was introduced by Newton in 1665 and detailed in his mathematical treatise, Method of Fluxions. Newton described any variable that changed its value as a fluent – for example, the velocity of a ball thrown in the air. The derivative of a fluent is known as a fluxion, the main focus of Newton's calculus. A fluent can be found from its corresponding fluxion through integration.


The fluxion of a "fluent" (a time-varying quantity, or function) is its instantaneous rate of change, or gradient, at a given point. Fluxions were introduced by Isaac Newton to describe his form of a time derivative (a derivative with respect to time). Newton introduced the concept in 1665 and detailed them in his mathematical treatise, Method of Fluxions. Fluxions and fluents made up Newton's early calculus.

George Carpenter, 1st Baron Carpenter

Lieutenant-General George Carpenter, 1st Baron Carpenter of Killaghy (10 February 1657 – 10 February 1731) was a British army officer and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1715 to 1727. He was Commander-in-Chief in Scotland between 1716 and 1725.

Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes or ING consists of three optical telescopes: the William Herschel Telescope, the Isaac Newton Telescope, and the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, operated by a collaboration between the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Dutch NWO and the Spanish IAC. The telescopes are located at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

These telescopes were formerly under the control of the Royal Greenwich Observatory before UK government cutbacks in 1998.

Isaac Newton Telescope

The Isaac Newton Telescope or INT is a 2.54 m (100 in.) optical telescope run by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands since 1984.

Originally the INT was situated at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, England, which was the site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory after it moved away from Greenwich due to light pollution. It was inaugurated in 1967 by Queen Elizabeth II.Herstmonceux suffered from poor weather, and the advent of mass air travel made it plausible for UK astronomers to run an overseas observatory. In 1979, the INT was shipped to La Palma, where it has remained ever since. It saw its second first light in 1984, with a video camera.Today, it is used mostly with the Wide Field Camera (WFC), a four CCD instrument with a field of view of 0.56x0.56 square degrees which was commissioned in 1997. The other main instrument available at the INT is the Intermediate Dispersion Spectrograph (IDS), recently re-introduced having been unavailable for a period of several years.

John Selwyn (1688–1751)

Colonel John Selwyn (20 August 1688 – 5 November 1751) of Matson, Gloucestershire, was a British Army officer, courtier and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1715 and 1751.

Selwyn was the eldest son of Lieutenant-general William Selwyn, MP of Matson, Gloucestershire. He was commissioned into the Army in his infancy as ensign and lieutenant of the 3rd Foot Guards on 31 December 1688. His father died in 1702 whilst Governor of Jamaica and he inherited the Matson estate. He became captain and lieutenant-colonel in the 1st Foot Guards in 1707 and served in Flanders as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Marlborough. By 1709, he married Mary Farrington, the daughter of Lieutenant-general Thomas Farrington MP of Chislehurst. He rose to the rank of Colonel of the 3rd Regiment of Foot in 1711 until 1713.Selwyn was returned unopposed as Member of Parliament (MP) for Truro on the Boscawen interest at the 1715 general election. He was also appointed Commissioner of the Equivalent in 1715. He was appointed clerk of the household to Prince of Wales in 1716 through the influence of Lord Townshend. In 1717, he followed Lord Townsend into opposition and lost his Commissioner post. He was promoted to Groom of the Bedchamber to the Prince of Wales in 1718. After the Whigs came together again in 1720, he was appointed to the post of Receiver General and comptroller of customs but had to give up his seat in the House of Commons in February 1721 and did not stand in 1722.In 1726 Selwyn acquired property at Whitchurch which gave him a seat in Parliament. He was Mayor of Gloucester in 1727 and after passing the Receivership to his brother, returned himself as MP for Whitchurch at the 1727 general election. He continued as Groom of the Bedchamber after the Prince of Wales became King George II until 1730 when he became treasurer of the Queen's Household. He was a member of the gaols committee of the House of Commons in the year 1729 to 1730. In 1733 he bought the manor of Ludgershall which gave him electoral influence at Gloucester. He was Mayor of Gloucester again in 1734 and was elected in a contest as MP for Gloucester at the 1734 general election. He spoke for the new colony of Georgia in a debate on the army estimates on 3 February 1738 and voted regularly with the Government. He was re-elected MP for Gloucester at the 1741 general election. He was appointed paymaster of marines in 1746 but to avoid a by-election, did not take it up until the1747 general election when he was returned unopposed. However the post ceased to exist when the Marines were disbanded in 1748. He was appointed treasurer to the Prince of Wales in May 1751.Selwyn died in 5 November 1751. He had two sons and a daughter but was predeceased by his elder son John. His estate went to his second son George Augustus.

John Wallop, Viscount Lymington

John Wallop, Viscount Lymington (3 August 1718 – 19 November 1749) was a British politician, styled Hon. John Wallop from 1720 to 1743.

The eldest son of John Wallop, 1st Viscount Lymington, Wallop was educated at Winchester School from 1731 to 1734 and at Christ Church, Oxford in 1735. From 1739 to 1740, he was mayor of Lymington.On 8 July 1740, he married Catherine Conduit (d. 15 April 1750), the daughter of John Conduitt and great-niece of Isaac Newton, by whom he had four sons and a daughter:

John Wallop, 2nd Earl of Portsmouth (1742–1797), who succeeded his grandfather as Earl of Portsmouth

Hon. Henry Wallop (d. 1794), a Groom of the Bedchamber

Hon. Rev. Barton Wallop (3 January 1744 – 1 September 1781), married Camilla Powlett Smith in 1771 and had issue, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge

Hon. Bennet Wallop (29 January 1745 – 12 February 1815), married and had issue

Hon. Catharine Wallop (3 January 1746 – May 1813), married on 3 October 1770 Hon. Lockhart Gordon and had issueIn 1741, Wallop was returned to Parliament on his family's interest for Andover; he and John Pollen defeated William Guidott and John Pugh, the former a local official and former MP who had gotten himself disliked by the Andover corporation. Wallop was likewise returned for Whitchurch, where he had inherited an interest through his wife, but chose to sit for Andover.He sat as a Whig, supporting Robert Walpole's administration, and voted for Giles Earle in his unsuccessful candidacy for chairman of the Committee of Privileges and Elections that year. He abstained from the vote to investigate Walpole's conduct in 1742. In 1743, his father (who had lost a number of local offices in Hampshire on Walpole's fall), was created Earl of Portsmouth, and Wallop adopted the style of Viscount Lymington. He voted against the Carteret Ministry in 1744 on their bill to hire Hanoverian troops for the War of the Austrian Succession. Lymington was considered a supporter of the Pelham government in 1747, when he and Pollen were returned for Andover without a contest. Lymington died in late 1749, in the life of his father.

List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1718

This is a list of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1718.

Master of the Mint

Master of the Mint was an important office in the governments of Scotland and England, and later Great Britain, between the 16th and 19th centuries. The Master was the highest officer in the Royal Mint. Until 1699, appointment was usually for life. Its holder occasionally sat in the cabinet. The office was abolished as an independent position in 1870, thereafter being held as a subsidiary office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

During the interregnum (1643-1660) the last Master of the Mint to King Charles, Sir Robert Harley, transferred his allegiance to Parliament and remained in office. After his death in 1656 Aaron Guerdon was appointed.

Sir William Heathcote, 1st Baronet

Sir William Heathcote, 1st Baronet (15 March 1693 – 10 May 1751) was a British merchant and politician.

Heathcote was the second son of Samuel Heathcote, Esq., of Hackney, Middlesex, younger brother of Sir Gilbert Heathcote, 1st Baronet, and an intimate friend of John Locke, whom he assisted in his work of regulating the coin of this kingdom.

William Heathcote was a successful merchant who purchased the Hursley estate in 1718. Between the years of 1721 and 1724 William built a red brick, Queen Anne style mansion now known as Hursley House on the site of a hunting lodge. He represented Buckingham in the House of Commons from 1722 to 1727 and Southampton from 1729 to 1741. On 16 August 1733 he was created a baronet, of Hursley in the County of Southampton.

Heathcote married Elizabeth, only daughter of Thomas Parker, 1st Earl of Macclesfield, in 1720. They had six sons and three daughters. He died in 1751 and the estate and baronetcy passed to his son, Thomas.

The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended

The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended is an approximately 87,000-word composition written by Sir Isaac Newton, first published posthumously in 1728. Since then it has been republished. The work represents one of Newton's forays into the topic of chronology, detailing the rise and history of various ancient kingdoms throughout antiquity.

The treatise is composed of eight primary sections. First is an introductory letter to Caroline of Ansbach, the Queen of England, by John Conduitt MP, the husband of Newton's niece, followed by a short advertisement. After this is found a section entitled "A Short Chronicle" which serves as a brief historical list of events listed in chronological order, beginning with the earliest listed date of 1125 BC and the most recent listed at 331 BC. The majority of the treatise, however, is in the form of six chapters that explore the history of specific civilizations. These chapters are titled:

Chap. I. Of the Chronology of the First Ages of the Greeks.

Chap. II. Of the Empire of Egypt.

Chap. III. Of the Assyrian Empire.

Chap. IV. Of the two Contemporary Empires of the Babylonians and Medes.

Chap. V. A Description of the Temple of Solomon.

Chap. VI. Of the Empire of the Persians.According to John Conduitt's introductory letter, The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended was Isaac Newton's last personally revised work before his death but had actually been written much earlier. Some of its subject material and contents have led many people to categorize this work as one of Isaac Newton's occult studies.

Thomas Farrington (died 1758)

Thomas Farrington (died 1758) of Chislehurst, Kent, was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1727 and 1754.

Farrington was the only son of Lt.-Gen. Thomas Farrington MP of Chislehurst and his wife Theodosia Betenson, daughter of Richard Betenson. He was connected with the Selwyn family since his mother’s sister had married Major-General William Selwyn, MP whose eldest son, his cousin John Selwyn, married Farrington’s sister Mary. He succeeded his father in 1712.Farrington was returned as Member of Parliament for Whitchurch at a by-election on 2 February 1727. At the 1727 general election, he succeeded his cousin Charles Selwyn as MP for Mitchell. He was appointed auditor of the land revenues for Wales in 1733 and although he was re-elected at the required by-election in 1733, he was defeated at the 1734 general election. He next stood for parliament in 1747 when returned for Ludgershall on the interest of his cousin John Selwyn. He voted for the Administration in all recorded occasions. He did not stand in 1754.

Farrington died unmarried on 29 January 1758.

Thomas Lee Dummer

Thomas Lee Dummer (1712 – October 1765) was an English Member of Parliament for Southampton (1737–1741) and Newport (Isle of Wight) (1765–1768).

Whitchurch (UK Parliament constituency)

Whitchurch was a parliamentary borough in the English County of Hampshire, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1586 until 1832, when the borough was abolished by the Great Reform Act.

Witchcraft Act 1735

The Witchcraft Act (9 Geo. II c. 5) was a law passed by the Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1735 which made it a crime for a person to claim that any human being had magical powers or was guilty of practising witchcraft. With this, the law abolished the hunting and executions of witches in Great Britain. The maximum penalty set out by the Act was a year's imprisonment.

It thus marks the end point of the Witch trials in the Early Modern period for Great Britain and the beginning of the "modern legal history of witchcraft", repealing the earlier Witchcraft Acts which were based on a widespread belief in the genuine existence of magic and witchcraft.The law was reverting to the view of the medieval Church that witchcraft and magic were illusory, treating as an offence not the supposed practice of witchcraft but the superstitious belief in its existence.

The Act reflected the general trend in Europe, where after a peak in the mid-17th century, and a series of late outbursts in the late 17th century, witch-trials quickly subsided after 1700. The last person executed for witchcraft in Great Britain was Janet Horne in 1727.

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