Joseph was the eldest son of Samuel Mellish of Doncaster and his second wife Joan. He was baptised in the parish of St Stephen, Coleman Street, London, on 29 June 1675.
He entered Clare College, Cambridge, in 1692, and the Inner Temple the following year.
The Blyth Hall estate in north Nottinghamshire was left to him in the will of his father's cousin Edward Mellish in 1703. He died in June 1733, aged 58, and was buried at Blyth.
He married Dorothy or Dorothea Gore (1683-1738), daughter of Sir William Gore, Lord Mayor of London (d 1708), and had:
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