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Anthony Keck (Tiverton MP)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sir Anthony Keck
Member of Parliament for Tiverton
In office
Serving with Thomas Bere
Preceded byThomas Bere
Samuel Foote
Succeeded byThomas Bere
Lord Spencer
Personal details
Mickleton, Gloucestershire
DiedDecember 1695(1695-12-00) (aged 64–65)
Bell Yard, London
Mary Thorne
(m. 1660)
ParentsNicholas Keck
Margaret Morris

Sir Anthony Keck (1630 – December 1695) was a British lawyer and politician. He was a member of Parliament between 1691 and 1695, and served as Commissioner of the Great Seal from 1689 to 1690.[1]

Early life

Keck was born at Mickleton, Gloucestershire and was baptised on 28 March 1630. He was the fifth son of Nicholas Keck, originally of Long Marston, Warwickshire, and Margaret Morris, daughter of John Morris of Bretforton, Worcestershire.[2] Since he was later described as "a man who raised himself by his wits", it seems likely that his family lacked money or influence.[citation needed]


Keck was called to the bar of the Inner Temple in 1659, and was elected a bencher (a member of the governing body) in 1677.[3] He developed a flourishing chancery practice. During the Popish Plot, he acted as counsel for William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford, who was executed for treason in 1680, and made something of a name for himself in cases before the House of Lords. He published, anonymously, a series of law reports in 1697.[1]

On 4 March 1689, he was named a Commissioner of the Great Seal with Sir John Maynard and Serjeant Rawlinson by the new King William III – these commissioners replaced the notorious Judge Jeffreys as Lord Chancellor, who fled as James II left the country. Knighted the next day, Keck held office till 14 May 1690: his decision to step down was described as a great act of self-denial.[1]

He also served as MP for Tiverton from 1691. Despite being almost crippled by gout, he played a keen part in its debates, but he developed a very poor opinion of the House of Commons, calling it "a bear garden", poorly attended, and with most of the MPs who did attend being drunk or asleep. He did not stand for election in 1695, probably due to his failing health.[1]


Roger North wrote that Keck was by inclination a republican but would settle in default of a republic for a limited monarchy. He described him in character as "a polite, merry genius", apart from a certain "hardness" caused by his chronic gout.[1]

Personal life

The Chandos portrait, thought to be of William Shakespeare, which was owned by Keck's granddaughter Margaret, Duchess of Chandos
The Chandos portrait, thought to be of William Shakespeare, which was owned by Keck's granddaughter Margaret, Duchess of Chandos

On 11 June 1660, Keck married Mary Thorne, daughter of Francis Thorne. He died a very rich man, although he had to provide for one son and no less than nine daughters, including:

Keck died in his house in Bell Yard, Chancery Lane, off the Strand in December 1695.[9] He left property in Drury Lane, Fulham, Hampstead, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire to his only son Francis, with provision to lay out £29,000 on further purchases of lands for him.[1]


Through his only son Francis, he was grandfather to Martha Keck (wife of David James), mother of Anthony James (later Keck) (who married Anne Busby of Beaumont),[4] himself the father of Anthony James Keck who was also a politician for Lancashire and Leicestershire.[10] His great grandson was George Anthony Legh Keck of Bank Hall who was also an MP for Leicestershire.[11]

Through his daughter Catherine, he was a grandfather of John Tracy of Stanway House, who married Anne Atkins (the only daughter of Sir Robert Atkins of Saperton, Chief Baron of the Exchequer). They were parents of Anthony Keck who married Lady Susan Hamilton (a daughter of James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton) in 1736.[12] Anthony, a protégé of the Duke of Marlborough and an MP for Woodstock, succeeded to his great-uncle Francis Keck's estates at Great Tew in Oxfordshire in 1729, adopting the name of Keck according to a condition of the bequest.[13]

Through his daughter Elizabeth, he was a grandfather of Mary Freeman, who married Walter Edwards and had issue.[14]

Through his daughter Winifred, he was a grandfather of John Nicholl, whose daughter was the great heiress Margaret Nicholl (1736–1768) who married James Brydges, 3rd Duke of Chandos but had no issue. Margaret inherited from her cousin Robert Keck the famous portrait, allegedly of William Shakespeare, which is now called the Chandos portrait.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Cruickshanks, Eveline. "KECK, Sir Anthony (1630-95), of the Inner Temple, London". History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  2. ^ Genealogist. William Pollard & Company. 1879. p. 174.
  3. ^ Cambridge), St John's College (University of (1903). Admissions to the College of St. John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge ...: July 1715-November 1767, by R.F. Scott. College at the University Press. p. 654.
  4. ^ a b Noble, Mark (1787). Memoirs of the Protectoral-house of Cromwell: Deduced from an Early Period, and Continued Down to the Present Time. G. G. J. and J. Robinson. p. 447.
  5. ^ Miscellanea Genealogica Et Heraldica. Hamilton, Adams, and Company. 1898. p. 47.
  6. ^ Foster, Joseph; Chester, Joseph Lemuel (1887). London Marriage Licences, 1521-1869. Bernard Quaritch. p. 511.
  7. ^ Strype, John (1816). Ecclesiastical memorials: relating chiefly to religion, and its reformation under the reigns of King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, and Queen Mary the First; with the appendixes containing the original papers, records, etc. S. Bagster.
  8. ^ Sidell, Pauline. "COURT BOOKS OF THE MANOR OF HAMPSTEAD" (PDF). Manor of Hampstead in the County of Middlesex. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  9. ^ "Keck, Anthony" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  10. ^ "Portrait Of Anne Keck C.1715; Attributed To Jonathan Richardson. | 326577 |". Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  11. ^ Burke, Sir Bernard (1863). A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland. Harrison. p. 802.
  12. ^ "Hamilton, Duke of (S, 1643)". Heraldic Media Limited. Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  13. ^ Journals of the House of Lords. H.M. Stationery Office. 1862. p. 336.
  14. ^ Atkyns, Sir Robert (1803). The History of the County of Gloucester: compressed, and brought down to the year 1803. Printed for the author, by G. F. Harris. p. 7. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  15. ^ "National Portrait Gallery – Portrait NPG 1; William Shakespeare". London: National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Thomas Bere
Samuel Foote
Member of Parliament for Tiverton
With: Thomas Bere
Succeeded by
Thomas Bere
Lord Spencer
This page was last edited on 8 July 2021, at 00:53
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