BRIDGEMAN, Edward (aft. 1588-1646), of Sankey Bridge, Warrington, Lancs.
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Family and Education
b. aft. 15881, 4th s. of Thomas Bridgeman (d. 23 July 1627)2 of Greenway, Devon, and Alice, da. of John Jones of Exeter.3 educ. G. Inn 1624.4 m. (1) 30 June 1627, Elenor (bur. 12 Jan 1638), wid. of Sir Richard Brooke of Little Sankey, Lancs., s.p.;5 (2) unknown; (3) bef. 1642,6 Anne (d.1685), da. of Sir Hugh Chamberlaine of Chester, Cheshire, 1da.7 d. 1646.8 sig. Ed[ward] Bridgeman.
Sewer of chamber, extraordinary 1631.11
The younger son of a wealthy Devon family, Bridgeman followed his brother John to settle in Lancashire after the latter’s appointment as rector of Wigan in 1616 and subsequent installation as bishop of Chester. Bridgeman’s marriage to the widow of Sir Richard Brooke brought him property at Sankey Bridge on the outskirts of Warrington, where he built a fine black and white timbered house.12 In 1632 he paid a knighthood composition fee of £25.13
Although the rector did not always enjoy cordial relations with Wigan’s corporation, it was probably his influence that secured Bridgeman’s election in 1625.14 In 1626, however, Bridgeman failed to obtain a Wigan seat, and was returned two days later for the borough of Liverpool, perhaps with the assistance of the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, Sir Humphrey May*.15 Bridgeman tried again at Wigan in 1628, and in a contested election took the second seat with 63 votes.16 Bridgeman played only a minor role in the three Parliaments of which he was a Member. He was named to the committee for the Macclesfield tenants bill on 23 June 1625, and attended both its meetings.17 As a Lancashire burgess he was appointed to two committees for private bills concerning Lord Morley (14 Mar.) and Lady Bulkeley (10 June) in 1626, and to another for Lord Gerrard on 7 May 1628.18 He is not distinguished from George Bridgeman, Member for Much Wenlock, in the records of the 1628 Parliament, but may have been the Mr. Bridgeman appointed to consider two further private measures, for the naturalization of James Freese (7 May) and a bill concerning the estate of John Fleming (29 Feb. 1629).19
Bridgeman was an active though unpopular magistrate of Warrington manor court by 1628.20 He was charged at the quarter sessions for various offences which reveal him to have been an overbearing member of his local community, whose interference, like that of his brother the bishop, was resented by his neighbours. In 1633, when his brother the bishop was accused of corruption and subjected to a special royal inquiry, Bridgeman cross-examined a deprived minister, Bartholomew Cade, and publicly denounced Sir Thomas Canon*, the king’s commissioner, at the Lancashire assizes.21 Cade submitted under pressure and consequently the inquiry concluded that insufficient evidence could be found against Bishop Bridgeman, who was nevertheless reputed to have amassed £10,000 from the rectory of Wigan.22 Bridgeman himself was accused in 1635 of engrossing and forestalling corn and grain to avoid the toll, in response to which he ‘did delete the lay book, cast it at his feet and called the informer saucy knave’.23 Another enemy, James Preston of Warrington, shouted in public that ‘he cared not a fart of his arse’ for Mr. Bridgeman, an opinion apparently shared by his fellow townsmen.24 An attempt was made to remove Bridgeman from the bench after a serious brawl in 1638.25 He in any case frequently failed to attend quarter sessions, excusing himself on the grounds that he was about to set off for London, or ‘to attend the lord deputy of Ireland at Chester’, whom he seems to have served in some capacity as a port official at Dublin.26
Bridgeman supported the king during the Civil War, but his house was captured in April 1643.27 Fined £100 as a delinquent, he died a prisoner on the way to London in 1646, before having time to compound for his estate.28 In the absence of a will, letters of administration were filed by his widow, Anne, who later remarried Capt. John Edgeworth of Cranallagh, Co. Longford.29 His step-son from his first marriage, Peter Brooke, and his nephew, Orlando, son of Bishop Bridgeman, represented Newton and Wigan respectively in 1640; the latter went on to become lord keeper after the Restoration.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Rosemary Sgroi
- 1. J. Foster, Lancs. Peds.
- 2. Devon RO, Exeter Cathedral Reg.; IGI.
- 3. Oxford DNB sub Bridgeman, John.
- 4. GI Admiss.
- 5. Warrington Par. Reg. (Lancs. Par. Reg. Soc. lxx), 158, 224.
- 6. Ibid. 260.
- 7. G.T.O. Bridgeman, Hist. of Church and Manor of Wigan, ii. (Chetham Soc. n.s. xvi), 346-7.
- 8. PROB 6/21, f. 22v.
- 9. Lancs. RO, QSC7-30.
- 10. Bridgeman, 346; Lancs. RO, QSB 1/122/73.
- 11. LC5/132, p. 234.
- 12. J. Kendrick, ‘Warrington Local Sketches’, Trans. Hist. Soc. of Lancs. and Cheshire (ser. 3), iii. 115-30.
- 13. E407/35, f. 104v.
- 14. I. Sellers, Early Modern Warrington, 1520-1847, p. 51; D. Sinclair, Hist. Wigan, i. 193.
- 15. R.C.L. Sgroi, ‘The Electoral Patronage of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1604-28’, PH, xxvi. 322.
- 16. Sinclair, i. 197-9.
- 17. C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 228.
- 18. CJ, i. 835b, 870a, 893a.
- 19. Ibid. 892b, 932b.
- 20. B.W. Quintrell, Procs. of Lancs. JPs at Sheriff’s Table (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. cxxi), 96, 97, 185n; G. Chandler, Liverpool Under Chas. I, 49, 232, 233; Liverpool Municipal Recs. ed. J. Picton, i. 165-6.
- 21. HMC Kenyon, 51; SP16/238/43.
- 22. B.W. Quintrell, ‘Lancs. ills, the King’s will, and the troubling of Bp. Bridgeman’, Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, cxxxii, 67-102.
- 23. Lancs. RO, QSB 1/174/64.
- 24. Lancs. RO, QSB 1/118/59, 1/122/73.
- 25. Lancs. RO, QSB 1/262/56; 1/166/79; 1/262/50.
- 26. Lancs. RO, QSB 1/122/73, 1/166/79; D.J. Wilkinson, ‘Performance and Motivation Amongst the JPs in Early Stuart Lancs.’, Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, cxxxviii, 37.
- 27. HMC Hastings, ii. 99; Bridgeman, ii. 346-7.
- 28. CCC, 1107, 1272; Sellers, 56, 63.
- 29. PROB 6/21, f. 22v; Foster, Lancs. Peds.