GRAHAM (GRAHME, GREAMES, GRIMES), Richard (c.1583-1654), of Cannon Row, Westminster; Norton Conyers, Wath, Yorks. and Netherby Hall, Kirkandrews-upon-Esk, Cumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1583, 2nd s. of Fergus Graham (d. 15 Apr. 1625)1 of Plump, Kirkandrews-upon-Esk and Sybil, da. of William Bell of Scotsbrig, Middlebie, Dumfries; bro. of Ranald Grahme†.2 m. 1624, Catharine (d. 23 Mar. 1650),3 da. of Sir Thomas Musgrave of Norton Conyers, 2s. 5da. (1 d.v.p.).4 kntd. 9 Jan. 1629;5 cr. bt. 29 Mar. 1629.6 d. 28 Jan. 1654.7

Offices Held

Groom to George, 1st mq. (later duke) of Buckingham by 1617, gent. of the horse 1619-28;8 jt. clerk of customs bills 1619-21;9 equerry, King’s Stables 1629-?44; master of the harriers 1644-6.10

Kpr. Middle Park, Hampton Court, Mdx. 1622-31, jt. warrener 1627-31;11 customer, Carlisle, Cumb. 1623-31,12 freeman 1625, alderman by 1634-7;13 j.p. Cumb. 1628-45;14 member, Council in the North 1629-41;15 commr. swans, Cumb., Westmld., Northumb. and elsewhere, 1629,16 oyer and terminer, Cumb. 1630, Northern circ. 1632-41,17 piracy, Cumb. 1631,18 border malefactors 1635,19 array, Cumb. and Yorks. 1642.20


Graham came from one of the more obscure branches of a border clan, notorious for its participation in violent raiding, that settled at Plump by the middle of the sixteenth century.21 His elder brother was deported to the Low Countries after a particularly audacious week of pillage in 1603, and his ‘debatable lands’ were granted to George Clifford, 3rd earl of Cumberland.22 Graham himself ‘came on foot to London and got entertained into ... Buckingham’s service, having some spark of wit, and skill in moss-trooping and horse-coursing’.23 Despite a temporary loss of office in 1620 after a duel with his employer’s kinsman, a younger son of Basil Feilding*, he was able to lay out £3,955 on the purchase of property in Lincolnshire in 1621-2.24 As a part-time resident in Cumberland, he endeavoured to reform vice there by building a church and educating the young.25 Appointed customer of Carlisle in 1623, he was granted permission to execute the office by deputy on account of his attendance at Court.26 In the same year, with Sir Francis Cottington* and Endymion Porter†, he accompanied Buckingham and Prince Charles on their ill-fated journey to Spain.27 In 1624 he bought Norton Conyers from his wife’s family, the Musgraves, for £6,500.28 During the autumn he fought a duel with another follower of Buckingham, Sackville Crowe*, but again escaped serious consequences.29 Graham took the credit for persuading Lord Robartes to buy a peerage for £3,000 in 1625, and Edward Clarke* heard that he had been rewarded with a suit valued at £500 a year.30

Graham was first elected for Carlisle, ten miles from his Cumbrian estate, in 1626, during the mayoralty of his kinsman Edward Aglionby*, who acted as returning officer. He left no trace on the records of the second Caroline Parliament, though he may have heard his transaction with Robartes mentioned in Sir John Eliot’s* report on 24 Mar. 1626 of the charges of corruption levelled against Buckingham.31 Graham attended his master on the expedition to the Ile de RĂ© in 1627, and with John Ashburnham* helped to rally a faltering regiment at the landing.32 He was re-elected in 1628, but again went unnoticed in the parliamentary records. On 8 July he re-purchased Nicholl Forest and other ‘debatable lands’ formerly confiscated from his family, from the Cliffords at the favourable price of £7,050.33 After his patron’s assassination he was granted a market and fair on his Cumberland estate, and rebuilt Kirkandrews church in 1637, though in a thoroughly shoddy manner.34

Graham kept in touch with his constituency through Aglionby; but to his surprise and dismay the corporation rejected his claims as freeman, benefactor and former Member to represent them in the Short Parliament.35 Wounded in the royalist army at Edgehill (1642), he resided in the York garrison until its surrender.36 Taken prisoner while on his way from Oxford to Newark in November 1645, he promptly submitted to Parliament and was thus able to compound for his delinquency at a favourable rate, paying £2,385 on an estate of just under £1,250 a year.37 He made his will on 26 Mar. 1653, leaving a portion of £1,500 for his only unmarried daughter, who was named after the queen, and an annuity of £20 for a cousin, at whose house in Newmarket Graham died on 28 Jan. 1654. He was buried in his own chapel at Wath.38 His Cumberland property had been settled on his elder son, who died before the Restoration; his grandson Sir Richard Grahme was given a Scottish peerage and represented the county under James II. Graham’s younger son founded another branch of the family at Norton Conyers.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: John. P. Ferris / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. R.T. Spence, ‘The First Sir Richard Graham of Norton Conyers and Netherby, 1583-1653’, NH, xvi. 104.
  • 2. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. n.s. xii. 52-3.
  • 3. Top. and Gen. iii. 417.
  • 4. Scots Peerage, vii. 99-101.
  • 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 195.
  • 6. CB, ii. 69.
  • 7. Scots Peerage, vii. 100.
  • 8. Spence, 106-7; Add. 12528, p. 34; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 331; 1623-5, p. 462; HMC 6th Rep. 326-7.
  • 9. C66/2205/5; CD 1621, vii. 347-8, 515-19.
  • 10. Spence, 102.
  • 11. Ibid. 112; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 180; 1628-9, p. 344.
  • 12. C66/2305; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 508; 1631-3, p. 114.
  • 13. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), Ca2/120/10; Naworth Household Bk. ed. G. Ornsby (Surtees Soc. lxviii), 489.
  • 14. C231/4, f. 261; C66/2858.
  • 15. R. Reid, Council in the North, 498.
  • 16. C181/3, f. 270v.
  • 17. C181/4, ff. 25, 108, 197v; 181/5, ff. 7v, 203.
  • 18. C181/4, f. 81.
  • 19. CSP Dom. 1635, p. 510.
  • 20. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 21. HMC Hatfield, xviii. 79.
  • 22. Spence, 104-5.
  • 23. E. Sandford, Antiqs. and Fams. of Cumb. 50.
  • 24. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 300; Spence, 116-17.
  • 25. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 339.
  • 26. Ibid. 508.
  • 27. HMC Mar and Kellie, ii. 151; CJ, i. 725b, 727a.
  • 28. C78/305/17; VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), ii. 393.
  • 29. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 577.
  • 30. Procs. 1626, ii. 359; Harl. 1580, f. 278v.
  • 31. Procs. 1626, ii. 363.
  • 32. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 265; R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 381-2.
  • 33. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 198.
  • 34. Trans. Cumb. and Westmld. Antiq. and Arch. Soc. viii. 291-2; W. Nicolson, Misc. Accts. Dioc. Carlisle, 142; CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 298; 1635, p. 15.
  • 35. Cumb. RO (Carlisle), Ca2/120/10, 17, 22 (Graham to Carlisle corp., 30 Jan., 28 Feb. 1640).
  • 36. Clarendon, Hist. of the Rebellion ed. W.D. Macray, ii. 353; Royalist Comp. Pprs. ed. J.W. Clay (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xv), 128-31.
  • 37. CCC, 1018.
  • 38. PROB 11/240, f. 133v; Abstracts of Yorks. Wills ed. J.W. Clay (Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. ix), 61-2; Top. and Gen. iii. 418.