Coventry, William

, youngest son of the preceding, was born in 1626, and in 1642 became a gentlemancommoner of Queen’s college in Oxford; and after he had continued there some time, he travelled on the continent, and at his return, adhering to Charles II. was made secretary to the duke of York, also secretary to the admiralty; and elected a burgess for the town of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, in the parliament which met at Westminster, May 8, 1661; and also to that which was summoned in 1678. In 1663 he was created doctor of the civil law at the university of Oxford. He was sworn of the privy-council, and received the honour of knighthood June 26, 1665, and was made one of the commissioners of the treasury on May 24, 1667 being, as bishop Burnet relates, “a man of great notions and eminent virtues the best speaker in the house of commons, and capable of bearing the chief ministry, as it was once thought he was very near it, and deserved it more than all the rest did.” Yet, as he was too honest to engage in the designs of that reign, and quarrellt d with the duke of Buckingham, a challenge passed between them upon which he was forbid the court, and retired to Minster- Lovel, near Whitney, in Oxfordshire, where he gave himself up to a religious and private course of life, without accepting of any employment, though he was afterwards offered more than once the best posts in the court. He died June 23, 1686, unmarried, at Somerhill, near Tunbridge-wells, in Kent (where he had went for the benefit of the waters, being afflicted with the gout in the stomach) and was buried at Penshurst, in the same county, under a monument erected to his memory. By his last will he gave 2000l. for the relief of the French | protestants then lately come into England, and banished their country for the sake of their religion; and 3000l. for the redemption of captives from Algiers.

Sir William Coventry wrote, 1. “England’s Appeal from the private Cabal at Whitehall to the great Council of the nation, the Lords and Commons in parliament assembled,” Loud. 1673, 4to. 2. “Letter written to Dr. Gi-lbert Burnet, giving an account of cardinal Pole’s secret powers, &c.” respecting the alienation of the abbey lands, ibid. 1685, 4 to. 3. “The Character of a Trimmer,” ibid. 1639, 2d edition, with his name, which did not appear to the first. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II. Collins’s Peerage.