Chaloner, James (DNB00)

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CHALONER, JAMES (1603–1660), regicide and antiquary, was fourth son of Sir Thomas Chaloner the younger [q. v.], of Guisborough, Yorkshire, and Steeple Claydon in Buckinghamshire. In 1616 he entered Brasenose College, Oxford, and after leaving the university became a member of one of the inns of court. He married Ursula, daughter of Sir William Fairfax of Steeton, and his con- nection with this family, joined with the grievances of his own, led him to adopt the side of the parliament during the civil wars. In 1648 he was elected member of parliament for Aldborough, to fill a vacancy created by death (Commons' Journals, 12 Sept. 1645). In 1647 he was appointed secretary to the committee for the reformation of the university of Oxford. In the following year he was named one of the king's judges, and was present at the first three sittings of the court, but from that time abstained, and was not there when sentence was pronounced against the king (Nalson, Journal of the High Court of Justice). A more congenial appointment was offered him in 1652, when his wife's cousin, Lord Fairfax, to whom the Isle of Man had been granted by the parliament, named him one of the three commissioners to settle his affairs in that island (17 Aug. 1652). In the dedication to Lord Fairfax of his ‘Short Treatise of the Isle of Man,’ Chaloner says: ‘We gave your lordship an account in writing, as well as by word of mouth, of our proceedings there, as in relation to your revenues and the government of the country, so also what our actions were in pursuance of your pious intentions for the promotion of religion and learning.’ He goes on to say that he himself ‘having made a more than ordinary inquisition into the state of the island,’ now offers it to his patron. The preface is dated 1 Dec. 1653, but the book itself was not published till three years later. In 1658 Chaloner was appointed governor of the island. When Monck marched against Lambert, Chaloner attempted to secure the Isle of Man for the parliamentary party, but was himself seized by the partisans of the army and imprisoned in Peel Castle (Petition of his son Edmond Chaloner, Historical MSS. Commission, 7th Rep. 147). ‘During his imprisonment,’ says the petition, ‘being of a tender and weak constitution, he took his death sickness, whereof he shortly after died before the Act of Indemnity passed.’ He left antiquarian manuscripts, which passed into the possession of John Vincent. Nothing is known of them after Vincent's death in 1671.

[A Short Treatise of the Isle of Man, digested into Six Chapters, London, 1656, published as an Appendix to King's Vale Royal of England. It was reprinted by the Manx Society in 1874, edited by the Rev. J. G. Cumming. Wood's Athenæ Oxonienses, ed. Bliss, iii. 502–4; Sketch prefixed to Mr. Cumming's edition of the Treatise. The Fairfax correspondence contains two letters to Ursula Fairfax, and two to Ferdinando, Lord Fairfax. A petition dated 12 Aug. 1657 states his losses by the war, and the oppression of the king (Calendar of Domestic State Papers), and the fact of his imprisonment in 1659 is confirmed by the Journals of the House of Commons, 27 Dec. 1659.]

C. H. F.