Upton, Arthur (1623–1706), presbyterian politician, was born 31 May 1623, the eldest son of Captain Henry Upton of Castle Upton (or Castle Norton), Templepatrick, Co. Antrim, and his wife, Mary, daughter of Sir Hugh Clotworthy; he had three brothers and three sisters. Sir Hugh, like Captain Upton, had been a soldier in the service of Queen Elizabeth. Captain Upton, a native of Devon, was steward to Lord Chichester in 1628 and was MP for Carrickfergus in 1634. Mary Upton's brother was John Clotworthy (qv), 1st Viscount Massereene, while Arthur's sister Mary became the mother of Sir Arthur Langford (qv); he was thus connected to two of the leading English presbyterian families in Ireland.
Arthur (or, perhaps, his grandfather, also Arthur Upton, of Dartmouth, Devon) was an adventurer for Irish land. In any case, the younger Arthur acquired an interest in the forfeited lands of the future 3rd earl of Antrim, Alexander Mac Donnell (qv), which he struggled unsuccessfully to retain under the restoration land settlement.
He held a number of offices in Co. Antrim: in 1657 and 1671 he was sheriff, and in 1659 or 1660 he was named as the lieutenant of the militia troop of Sir John Skeffington (qv). However, he was removed from the commission of the peace in the county in the aftermath of the Thomas Blood (qv) plot in 1663. He sat in the Irish house of commons for Carrickfergus, 1661–6. His discontent over the restoration of lands to MacDonnell was the reason that he was the sole member of the commons to vote against the Bill of Explanation (1665). He sat in the commons again in 1692, for Antrim borough, and in 1695–9, for Co. Antrim. He died in 1706.
He had married Dorothy, daughter of Michael Beresford of Co. Londonderry, and had six sons and ten daughters. Three of the sons were members of the commons, including the eldest surviving son and heir, Clotworthy Upton (1665–1725), soldier and politician, who entered the Middle Temple in London in 1685. He and his father were among the east Ulster protestants who associated for defence in 1688–9 under the leadership of the earl of Mount-Alexander (qv). Clotworthy later displayed conspicuous bravery at the siege of Limerick, where he was taken prisoner.
Father and son were prominent presbyterians. Arthur was patron of Jeremiah O'Quinn (qv), the minister born at Templepatrick of Gaelic Irish parents. Clotworthy was an elder of Templepatrick church and active in the synod of Ulster against the non-subscribers. He was MP for Newtownards, 1695–9, and Co. Antrim, 1703–14 and from 1715 to his death. A determined attempt by the Antrim Church of Ireland interest to defeat him in the general election of 1715 did not succeed, and in 1719 he led a presbyterian delegation to London seeking support for repeal of the sacramental test for holders of public office.
Clotworthy Upton died 6 June 1725, leaving a daughter from his third marriage, to Jane, daughter of John Ormsby. His brother John succeeded to his estates and, in the ensuing by-election, to his seat in the commons.