Nicholas Pedley MP’s grandfather was a petty freeholder in the eastern counties about the turn of the century, but it was his uncle who acquired the manors of Abbotsleigh and Launcelynsbury in 1622, and first served as sheriff.
Pedley, a lawyer by profession, bought Wistow from Sir Oliver Cromwell MP in 1648 and established himself among the Huntingdonshire gentry by marriage and office.
With his brother-in-law, John Bernard, he defeated the Montagu candidates at Huntingdon in 1660, but he seems to have been a court supporter in the Convention Parliament.
Pedley lost his seat at the general election of 1661, when his Interregnum record would have been unacceptable, and was out of the House for 12 years.
In 1663 it was discovered that he had some £150 of public money in his hands which had been levied for the militia before the Restoration, and it was ‘bestowed on the relief of the corporation’ by Edward Montagu, now the Earl of Sandwich and Robert Montagu, Lord Mandeville, whom he had defeated in 1660.
Samuel Pepys, meeting Pedley for the first time in 1669, was struck with his good language and civility; believing him very upright, he henceforth entrusted him with his family legal business.
Pedley was knighted after a banquet in Lincoln’s Inn in 1672, and in the following year he was chosen for the county, probably after a contest with a candidate nominated by Henry Williams, but with the support, if tradition can be trusted, of Mandeville, now the Earl of Manchester.
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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.