Jacob Bancks

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Sir Jacob Bancks (also Banks, Bankes, Banckes) (1662–1724) was a Swedish naval officer in the British service. He settled in England and became a Tory Member of Parliament.

Early life[edit]

His parents were Lawrence Bengston Bancks of Stockholm, commissioner of customs, and his wife Christina.[1] He came to England in 1681 as a diplomat; he was secretary to the Swedish resident of the time in London, who was his uncle.[2] The resident's name, Johan Barckman (Hans Barikman) Leijonberg,[3] is usually Anglicised as James Barkman Leyenburg;[4] it is also given as John Birkman, Count of Lezenburgh.[5]

Naval officer[edit]

Bancks joined the Royal Navy in 1681. In 1690 he served at the Battle of Beachy Head, taking over from his wounded captain.[6] Bancks himself had a commission as captain shortly after the battle;[7] he commanded HMS Cambridge in September 1690. In the same year he bought Hall Place, Berkshire.[8][9][10]

As captain of HMS Phoenix in 1692, Bancks was off the coast of Spain when he was driven ashore on 12 April by a superior French naval force. The Phoenix was burnt, to prevent its capture.[11] He was captain in HMS Carlisle in 1693.[12] He was on half pay from 1696,[7] or from the conclusion of the Treaty of Ryswick (end 1697).[6] He was knighted in 1698, as captain of HMS Russell,[13] which he had commanded since 1696.[14]

In politics[edit]

He married the widow Mary Luttrell (née Tregonwell) in 1696, and represented Minehead as Member of Parliament from 1698, initially with Alexander Luttrell, brother of Francis, his wife's first husband.[15] He was subsequently involved in the rougher side of the Whig-Tory factional strife.

Bancks had George Rooke as stepson for a short period, since Rooke's second wife was Mary Luttrell (died 1702), daughter of his wife by her first marriage.[16] Bancks, Rooke and some others belonged to a gentleman's club, for which commemorative medals were struck in 1703 by the visiting Swedish medallist, Bengt Richter; another member who was an M.P. was Tanfield Vachell.[17] A legal case resulted from the connection. After a quarrel with Rooke, William Colepeper claimed that an attempt, on behalf of Rooke, was made upon his life.[18] He had been assaulted at Windsor Castle in July 1703, by Bancks in particular, on the occasion of Colepeper's delivering a petition for Daniel Defoe who was imprisoned.[19] After a trial before Lord-justice Sir John Holt, 14 February 1704, some persons associated with Rooke were fined for attempts to do Colepeper injury: Nathaniel Denew, John Merriam and Robert Britton.[18][19][20][21][22] Later in 1704 Bancks was allowed the assistance of Sir Simon Harcourt the Solicitor-General to prepare against a case brought by Colepeper.[23]

In 1711 Bancks was attacked in an open letter, initially published anonymously, by the Whig publicist William Benson.[24] It was provoked by an address the year before by Bancks to the borough, commending the doctrine of passive obedience over Whig resistance theory.[15] Benson aimed to associate the "Minehead doctrine" he attributed to Bancks with the absolutism of Charles XII of Sweden.[25] He followed it with another such letter. In 1713 Benson and James Milner of London stood against Bancks and Sir John Trevelyan, 2nd Baronet in Minehead. The Tory pair won the borough, but Bancks did not stand again.[15][26]


Bancks was implicated in the "Gyllenberg Plot", a Jacobite conspiracy in 1716–7 set up by Carl Gyllenborg and Georg Heinrich von Görtz.[27][28] He was taken into custody, with Charles Caesar, on 29 January 1717, the day on which General George Wade implicated Gyllenborg in plotting by finding incriminating papers.[29][30] Another arrest was Boyle Smith.[31] Bancks and Caesar had in fact raised and sent to Sweden £18,000 to support a putative Jacobite invasion; but there was little intention in Sweden of spending it for that purpose.[32]


Statue of Queen Anne, now in Wellington Square, Minehead, and commissioned by Sir Jacob Bancks from Francis Bird.

Around 1715 he commissioned Francis Bird to sculpt a statue of Queen Anne for Minehead.[33]


Jacob Bancks (1704–1738), also a Member of Parliament, was his son.[34] When the younger Jacob Bancks died intestate, a complex lawsuit arose, involving the Swedish side of the family.[35]


  1. ^ John Burke, A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank: but uninvested with heritable honours, Volume 2 (1835), p. 405; Google Books.
  2. ^ Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society volume 28 (1907), p. 230; archive.org.
  3. ^ historyofparliamentonline.org, Members of Foreign Extraction.
  4. ^ Wheatley, H.B. (2010). Samuel Pepys and the World He Lived In. Cambridge University Press. p. 48. ISBN 9781108021524. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  5. ^ Mate, Charles Henry (9 April 2018). "Bournemouth: 1810-1910, the history of a modern health and pleasure resort". Bournemouth, Eng., W. Mate – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ a b "BANKS, Jacob (1662-1724), of Milton Abbas, Dorset and Somerford, Hants. | History of Parliament Online". historyofparliamentonline.org. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b James Savage, History of the Hundred of Carhampton: in the county of Somerset, from the best authorities (1830), p. 638; [1].
  8. ^ "Berkshire College of Agriculture page". bca.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Berkshire History: Hall Place (Hurley)". berkshirehistory.com. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  10. ^ "3decks - Naval Sailing Warfare History / HBMS Cambridge (1666)". 3decks.pbworks.com. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  11. ^ William Laird Clowes et al., The Royal Navy, a history from the earliest times to the present vol. 2 (1897), p. 468; archive.org.
  12. ^ "British Fourth Rate ship of the line 'Carlisle' (1693)". threedecks.org. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  13. ^ "The Knights of England. A complete record from the earliest time to the present day of the knights of all the orders of chivalry in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of knights bachelors, incorporating a complete list of knights bachelors dubbed in Ireland". archive.org. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  14. ^ "British Third Rate ship of the line 'Russell' (1692)". threedecks.org. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  15. ^ a b c historyofparliamentonline.org, Minehead Borough.
  16. ^ Hattendorf, John B. "Rooke, George". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/24059. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  17. ^ "Christopher Eimer: Medals - Tanfield Vachell". christophereimer.co.uk. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Colepeper, William" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  19. ^ a b Philip Nicholas Furbank, W. R. Owens, Defoe De-attributions: a critique of J. R. Moore's Checklist (1994), p. 19; Google Books.
  20. ^ historyofparliamentonline.org, page on George Rooke.
  21. ^ Howell, Thomas Bayly; Howell, Thomas Jones (9 April 2018). "Cobbett's Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason: And Other Crimes and Misdemeanor from the Earliest Period to the Present Time ... from the Ninth Year of the Reign of King Henry, the Second, A.D.1163, to ... [George IV, A.D.1820]". R. Bagshaw – via Google Books.
  22. ^ Colepeper, William; Defoe, Daniel; England and Wales; Court of King's Bench (9 April 2018). "A true state of the difference between Sir George Rook, Knt. and William Colepeper, Esq: together with an account of the tryal of Mr. Nathanael Denew, Mr. Robert Britton, and Mr. John Merriam, before the Right Honourable Sir John Holt ... on an indictment for the designs and attempts therein mentioned against the life of the said William Colepeper on behalf of the said Sir George Rook. Part I." Printed : And sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster. – via Open WorldCat.
  23. ^ C. S. Knighton, C. Dimmer (editors), Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Anne, Preserved in the National Archives, 1704–1705 (2005), p. 47; Google Books.
  24. ^ Sambrook, James. "Benson, William". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2147. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  25. ^ Simon Varey (editor), The Case of Opposition Stated, between the Craftsman and the People by William Arnall (2003 edition), p. 75 note 45.4–5; Google Books.
  26. ^ "Minehead | History of Parliament Online". historyofparliamentonline.org. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  27. ^ Cobbett, W.; Hansard, T.C.; Great Britain. Parliament (1811). The Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803: From which Last-mentioned Epoch it is Continued Downwards in the Work Entitled "Hansard's Parliamentary Debates." V. 1-36; 1066/1625-1801/03. 7. T.C. Hansard. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  28. ^ "The Politics of the House | History of Parliament Online". historyofparliamentonline.org. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  29. ^ John Joseph Murray, George I, the Baltic and the Whig split of 1717: a study in propaganda (1969), pp. 315–6; Google Books.
  30. ^ "History of England from the peace of Utrecht to the peace of Versailles. 1713-1783". archive.org. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  31. ^ Howell, W. (1742). Medulla Historiae Anglicanae: The Ancient and Present State of England : Being a Comprehensive History of All Its Monarchs from the Time of Julius Caesar. D. Midwinter, W. Innys, A. Ward, J. and P. Knapton, S. Birt, [and 5 others]. p. 554. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  32. ^ Linda Colley,In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory party 1714–60 (1985), p. 190.
  33. ^ http://pmsa.cch.kcl.ac.uk/BLM/SO55.htm, [Public Monument and Sculpture Association National Recording Project]
  34. ^ historyofparliamentonline.org, Banks, Jacob (1704-38), of Milton Abbas, Dorset.
  35. ^ George Wilson, Reports of cases argued and adjudged in the King's courts at Westminster [1742–1774], Parts 1-2 (1779), p. 68; Google Books.

External links[edit]