Roger Whitley's Diary 1684-1697

Proof Read Transcription
with Rough Footnotes

Portrait of Roger Whitley

An account by Colonel Roger Whitley, Member of Parliament, former Royalist supporter and Deputy-Postmaster, of his activities during the late years of the turbulent 17th century in London and Chester. This version includes an introduction and searchable footnotes, which are not available in the British History Online Version.


The manuscript now in the Bodleian library was originally housed with the Mainwaring Papers in the John Rylands library. These were sold and dispersed in 1973. The diary is written in a consistent legible secretary hand on 218 foolscap folios, now unbound and boxed. It is practically continuous from 1684 to 1697.

The diary has been divided into four parts. The first two years are taken up with a detailed account of Whitley's stay in London, using all his influence to avoid, reduce or delay payment of a large fine imposed on him indirectly by the King for alleged misuse of Post Office funds which ended in his payment of 23,000 in March 1686. The second two years describe his activities on his estates until the 'Revolution' of 1688. The third records his activities immediately after the revolution and the fourth the remaining nine years, his success in becoming a very active Mayor of Chester for an unprecedented four year term and at the end his dramatic volte-face in joining his Tory competitor Sir Thomas Grosvenor as joint MPs for the 1695 Parliament.


I am indebted to Professor Paul Halliday of the University of Virginia for first bringing this diary to my attention, to Professor Gerald Aylmer of Oxford for encouragement to proceed and Dr Roger Highfield of Merton College Oxford for helping to plan, correct the format, and to encourage publication. Peter McNiven of the Ryland's Library, Dr Christopher Lewis of the University of Liverpool and Dr D.P. Morgan of the University of Keele gave careful consideration to the possibility of publication by the Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. Penny Richards, Tutor of the University of Gloucester initiated me in the art of transcription, Richard Harrison of the History of Parliament provided valuable amendments to the Biography. Mrs Julia Kinsey kindly received us at Peele Hall, Ashton. Most importantly I have to thank Mrs Honor Lewington for supporting me throughout; transcribing and correcting portions of the script, researching State Papers, finding the portrait and especially for preparing the comprehensive Family Tree. Finally I pay tribute to John Simmons of the Codrington Library, All Souls College for proof reading the text in its entirety

Michael Stevens BA (Hist.)   Honor Lewington   


This diary has been divided into four sections for ease of access. It is provided in Microsoft Word format to allow access to the footnotes. The introduction provides a guide to names and significant events.

Roger Whitley's Diary


Part I - London, Peele and Tunbridge

Part II - Peele, London and Tunbridge

Part III - London, Tunbridge and Peele

Part IV - Peele and Chester

Appendix i - Presentment

Appendix ii - Descendants of the Whitneys of Aston Hall (.JPG)