Sir Richard Ellys, 3rd Baronet

Sir Richard Ellys (1688?–1742) was an English politician, bibliophile, and theological writer.


Ellys was the eldest son of Sir William Ellys of Wyham and grandson of Sir Thomas Ellys, 1st Baronet (created 1660). His mother was Isabella, daughter of Richard Hampdon, chancellor of the exchequer, and granddaughter of John Hampden. Ellys, who was born about 1688, was educated abroad, probably in Holland.

Ellys was Member of Parliament for Grantham from 1701 to 1705, then making way for the Marquess of Granby.[1] Ellys was elected for the third and last time member of parliament for Boston, Lincolnshire, having been previously returned at a by-election in 1719 and in 1722, and in the same year he succeeded his father (d. 6 Oct.) in the title and his estate of Nocton, Lincolnshire.

Ellys held strong religious opinions. He had been an Arminian, but was a decided Calvinist in 1730, and when living in London (Bolton Street, Piccadilly) he was a member of Edmund Calamy's congregation; and after Calamy's death of Thomas Bradbury's. He maintained his family's traditional hospitality. His father had kept open house at Nocton for all comers, and every day twelve dishes were prepared whether or not any guests came; Ellys allowed £800 per year to maintain the custom.

Ellys died on 21 February 1742.


Throughout his life he corresponded with continental scholars, by whom he was much esteemed, as evidenced by Gronovius's dedication to Ellys of his edition of Ælian's Varia Historia, and the Wetsteins' edition of Johann Caspar Suicer's Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus, to which he had contributed the use of a manuscript. He was especially intimate with Michel Maittaire, who, in his Senilis, addressed several pieces of Latin verse to him.

His learning took the direction of biblical criticism and bore fruit in his Fortuita Sacra; quibus subucitur Commentarius de Cymhelie (Rotterdam, 1727). The first part is a critical commentary in Latin on doubtful passages in the Greek Testament, and the second a treatise on cymbals, also in Latin. He befriended Thomas Boston, whose treatise on Hebrew accents, Tractatus Stigmato-logicus, was dedicated to him.

After leaving politics Ellys devoted himself to antiquarian research and amassed at Nocton a fine library. On 24 June 1742 an account of this library and some curiosities lately added to it formed the day's transactions of the Gentlemen's Society at Spalding, of which Ellys had been elected a member on 12 March 1729. Ellys's library was moved from Nocton to Blickling Hall in Norfolk.


Ellys was twice married: first to Elizabeth, daughter and coheiress of Sir Edwin Hussey, bart.; and, secondly, to Susan, daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Gould, who outlived him, and, remarrying with Sir Francis Dashwood, died Lady Despencer on 19 January 1769. By neither wife, however, did he have issue, and the disposition of his property excited interest. Sir Charles Hanbury Williams, in his satire Peter and my Lord Quidam, says that the chief competitors for his inheritance were 'Horace,' i.e. Horatio Walpole who wrote a Latin ode in Ellys's honour and gave him his portrait, and Hampden, i.e. Richard Hampden, who had married Ellys's sister. On the death of Ellys it was found that his estates were entailed on his second wife, and after her death or marriage on the families of Hobart and Trevor, in to whose possession they ultimately passed. His cousin, William Strode of Barnington, Somerset, was heir-at-law and contested the will in the Court of Chancery; but without effect.


  1. Honeybone, Michael; Lewis, Yvonne. "Ellys, Sir Richard". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8729. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Ellys, Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 5/13/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.