Sir John Major, 1st Bt. (1694-1781) was a British merchant and enjoyed a thriving trade in iron, based in his home town of Bridlington, Yorkshire. On several occasions during time of war he allowed his ships to be used to transport troops at his own cost. In 1761 he stood for Parliament and was elected M.P. for the Borough of Scarborough. He served in this post until his defeat at the next election in 1768 when he retired from politics. In 1765 he was created a Baronet and on his death the title was inherited by his son-in-law John Henniker.
The Reverend William Betham writes in his The Baronetage of England or the History of English Baronets, London, 1803, p. 318 where he discusses Sir John Major, 'In 1761 he was chosen representative in parliament for the borough of Scarborough, in his native county, being the first parliament held in the reign of our present most gracious sovereign. He received the honour of the freedom of the corporation in a gold box.'