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Portrait of Sir William Morice by Jacob Huysmans

Sir William Morice (6 November 1602 – 12 December 1676) of Werrington in Devon, was an English statesman and theologian. He served as Secretary of State for the Northern Department and a Lord of the Treasury from June 1660 to September 1668.


Morice was educated at Exeter College, Oxford. He was elected Member of Parliament for Devon to fill a vacancy in 1648, but was excluded in Pride's Purge in December of that year, probably before he had taken his seat. Nevertheless, he was appointed High Sheriff of Devon in 1651, and returned to Parliament as MP for Devon in the First Protectorate Parliament elected in 1654. He subsequently represented Devon again in the Second Protectorate Parliament, Newport (Cornwall) in the Third Protectorate Parliament.[1]

Arms of Morice of Werrington, Devon: Gules, a lion rampant reguardant or[2]

A relation of General Monck, Morice assisted in the Restoration and was knighted in 1660. He was also made a Privy Counsellor and appointed Secretary of State for the Northern Department, an office he held until he resigned in 1668; he was apparently an undistinguished minister, but justified his tenure of office by his usefulness in the House of Commons. In the Convention Parliament of 1660 he was re-elected for Newport but was also elected for Plymouth, which he chose to represent, and was that city's MP until his death 16 years later.[1]

In 1657, during the Commonwealth, he published a treatise on the administration of the sacrament to all church members.[3]

Marriage and children

Morice married Elizabeth Prideaux, a daughter of Humphrey Prideaux (abt 1573–1617) of Soldon, and Honor Fortescue, by whom he had children including [3]


  1. ^ a b "History of Parliament". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 29 October 2011.
  2. ^ Display of Heraldry, John Guillim, John Logan (Captain.), Sir George Mackenzie, 1724, p.176
  3. ^ a b Courtney 1894.


5 Annotations

First Reading

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Morrice, Sir William, kt. Secretary of State (North) 27 May 1660-c. 29 Sept. 1668.
-, App. 27 May 1660 (PC 2/54, pt. ii, 2). Left office by 29 Sept. 1668 (PC 2/61 p. 44).

From: 'Alphabetical lists of officials: K-Z', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 2: Officials of the Secretaries of State 1660-1782 (1973), pp. 85-119. URL:…. Date accessed: 13 February 2006.

pedro  •  Link

Morrice v Fanshawe.

Fanshawe had been promised the position of Secretary of State by Charles, and when passsed over for Monck's protege, William Morrice, he expostulated that he had been slighted in favour of "one that never saw the King's face."

(Fraser...King Charles II)

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Sir William Morris, Secretary of State from 1660 to 1668. Ob. 1676. He was kinsman to General Monk.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Bill  •  Link

Sir William Morice, who was allied to general Monk, was, for his own merit, and that of his illustrious kinsman, preferred to the office of secretary of state. He was a man of learning and good abilities, but was not completely qualified for his great employment, as he knew but little of foreign languages, and less of foreign affairs. It is currently reported, that the general told the king, "that his cousin Morice was well qualified for the secretary's office, as he understood the French, and could write short-hand." This was very probably a calumny, as it is inconsistent with his good sense. It is certain that the secretary spoke Latin fluently, that he understood Greek, and that he acquitted himself during the seven years that he continued in his office without reproach. He was succeeded by sir John Trevor. Ob. 12 Dec. 1676. He was author of a book entitled, "The Common Right to the Lord's Supper asserted," which was first printed in quarto, 1651, and again in folio, 1660. One singularity is recorded of him, "That he would never suffer any man to say grace in his own house besides himself; there, he said, he was both priest and king."
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Bill  •  Link

MORICE, SIR WILLIAM (1602-1676), secretary of state and theologian; B.A. Exeter College, Oxford, 1622; J.P.,1640; M.P., 1648, 1654, and 1656; excluded in Pride's Purge; high sheriff of Devonshire, 1651; M.P., Newport, 1658, Plymouth, 1660; related to Monck; assisted in the Restoration; secretary of state, 1660; knighted, 1660; privy councillor, 1660; resigned secretaryship, 1668; published treatise on the administration of the sacrament to all church members, 1657.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.






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