John Sadler (Town Clerk of London)

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John Sadler, of Warmwell
Other namesJohn Sadler, town clerk of London
OccupationLawyer, public official
Known forEnglish lawyer, Member of Parliament, Town Clerk of London, Hebraist, Neoplatonist, academic

John Sadler (of Warmwell) (18 August 1615 – April 1674) was an English lawyer, academic, Member of Parliament, Town Clerk of London, Hebraist, Neoplatonist[1] and millenarian thinker, private secretary to Oliver Cromwell, and member of the Parliamentarian Council of State. He was Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge from 1650 to 1660.[2]

Sadler was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[3]


He married Jane, daughter of the Dorset MP John Trenchard.[4] His sister Ann married John Harvard.

In politics[edit]

He was nominated for Cambridgeshire for the 1653 Barebone's Parliament.[5] In 1659, for the Third Protectorate Parliament, he was MP for Yarmouth, in the Isle of Wight.

Ernestine van der Wall writes:[6]

The Hale Commission on law reform, headed from 1652 by Sir Matthew Hale, had Sadler as a leading lawyer, together with William Steele and John Fountain.[7]

He was Town Clerk of London from 3 July 1649 (elected) to 18 September 1660.[2] He was removed on the Restoration, under the pretext that he had signed the death warrant of Christopher Love.[8] He was suspended 4 September 1660, then the suspension was removed on 6 September 1660 and finally he was "declared incapable of office" on 18 September 1660.[9]

Political thought[edit]

He wrote The Rights of the Kingdom (1649), a founding document[10] of British Israelitism. Tudor Parfitt[11] calls it "one of the first invented expressions of an invented Israelite genealogy for the British". This was not, however, its overt purpose. Glen Burgess calls it[12] "an historical defence of the regicide". Maurice Vile writes

Hartlib circle[edit]

Sadler was a philosemite,[14] on friendly terms with Menasseh Ben Israel.[15] He believed that readmission would allow for the Jews to be converted to Christianity, which would hasten the new millennium (which he conceived as being a time of "more justice and more mercy" rather than being visited by Christ's "bodily presence").[16] He was also an associate of Samuel Hartlib and John Dury. This interest was not clearly separated from the line taken by Sadler in The Rights of the Kingdom.[17]


  1. ^ John T. Young, Faith, Medical Alchemy and Natural Philosophy (1998), p. 59.
  2. ^ a b Concise Dictionary of National Biography.
  3. ^ "Sadler, John (SDLR630J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ Weymouth, Dorset History & Heritage – Warmwell Village & Parish inc Warmwell House
  5. ^ List of members nominated for Parliament of 1653 | British History Online
  6. ^ PDF Archived 18 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, p. 51.
  7. ^ Mary Cotterell, "Interregnum Law Reform: The Hale Commission of 1652", The English Historical Review, Vol. 83, No. 329 (Oct., 1968), pp. 689–704.
  8. ^ Reginald R. Sharpe, London and the Kingdom, Volume II, p. 383. Gutenberg text
  9. ^ Libraries, Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery, "The Town Clerk" – Page 72, from the London Metropolitan Archives, City of London, 40 Northampton Road, London EC 1R 0HB – –
  10. ^ British Israelitism
  11. ^ The Lost Tribes of Israel: The History of a Myth (2002), p. 42.
  12. ^ The Politics of the Ancient Constitution, p. 98.
  13. ^ Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers (1967), PDF Archived 19 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine. See also Francis Dunham Wormuth, The Origins of Modern Constitutionalism (1949), Ch. VIII.
  14. ^ Coulton, Barbara (2001). Cromwell and the ‘readmission’ of the Jews to England, 1656. Journal of the Cromwell Association.
  15. ^ Roth, Cecil. Life of Menasseh Ben Israel. Philadelphia. 1934. p.191.
  16. ^ Scult, Mel (1978). Millennial Expectations and Jewish Liberties: A Study of the Efforts to Convert the Jews in Britain, Up to the Mid Nineteenth Century. Brill Archive. pps.26.
  17. ^ The year 1649 then shows Durie, Worsley, Sadler, Jessey, Moriaen, Boreel and Menasseh all dealing with the question whether the lost tribes were living in America[...]. van der Wall, p. 55.

See also[edit]

Preceded by
Robert Mitchell
Town Clerk of London
Succeeded by
Sir John Weld
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Cambridge
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by
Edward Rainbow
Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Edward Rainbow