ALDWORTH, Richard (c.1614-80), of Stanlakes, Hurst St. Nicholas, Wilts. and Suffolk Street, Westminster.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

Family and Education

b. c.1614, 1st s. of Richard Aldworth of Wargrave, Berks. by Amy, da. of Thomas Persons of Great Milton, Oxon. educ. M. Temple 1637. m. by 1646, Anne, da. and h. of William Gwynn of Frogmore House, Windsor, Berks., 6s. 6da. suc. fa. 1638.1

Offices Held

Capt. of horse (royalist) 1642, major by 1644-6, ?1648.2

Auditor of the army by 1643, land revenues, Yorks., Northumb. and co. Dur. 1661-d.; sec. to abp. of Canterbury c. Sept. 1660-d.; additional auditor of imprests 1668, chief auditor 1672; sub.-commr. for prizes 1672-4.3

J.p. Berks. July 1660-d., Wilts. 1662-d.; commr. for assessment, Berks. Aug. 1660-d., Wilts. 1663-d., Westminster 1665-9, Kent 1665-79; freeman, Canterbury and Reading 1661; commr. for loyal and indigent officers, Berks. 1662, recusants 1675, dep. lt. aft. 1670-d.4

Biography

Aldworth was probably descended from a Reading clothier who represented the borough in 1558, and whose third son was the ancestor of Robert Aldworth. In 1610 his grandfather, a London grocer, bought Stanlakes (otherwise Hinton Pipard), a manor lying in the Wiltshire enclave some five miles east of Reading. His grandmother was a sister of Sir Humphrey May, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster 1618-30, and his father was a neighbour of Secretary Windebank. But it was probably in the service of his distant kinsman Archbishop Laud that Aldworth received ‘his education in the affairs of the council chamber’ before the Civil War. He was given a troop of horse at the outset of the war, and on 10 Feb. 1643 the reversion of an auditorship in the Exchequer. He saw active service at Newbury, Bristol and elsewhere, until he petitioned to compound on the Oxford articles in 1646. Aldworth later claimed to have served Charles I ‘through all the course of the late wars in several stations of great trust and hazard to the loss of his fortune and almost ruin of his family’; he is therefore probably the Major Aldsworth (sic) who fought in the second Civil War, subsequently escaping to Holland. He returned to England in 1650, and compounded for £200.5

At the Restoration, Aldworth became secretary to Archbishop Juxon, apparently retaining the post under his successor. He was returned for Reading at the general election of 1661. A few months later his reversion at the Exchequer fell in, bringing him at first an income of £600 p.a. over and above the £400 p.a. he was estimated to receive from his estate. As an official Aldworth was remarkable for his ‘diligence and integrity’; but as a Member of Parliament he was inactive, serving on only 35 committees. His chief interests were ecclesiastical; in the first session he was appointed to the committees for restoring the temporal jurisdiction of the clergy, for the repair of churches, and for the uniformity bill. In 1662 he was named to two committees concerned with taking Interregnum accounts. Later, his activity decreased, though he served on the committees for the ecclesiastical leases bills in 1663 and 1664, and on committees for the regulation of vestries and uniting churches in towns. He was marked as a court dependant in 1664. In 1668 he was advanced to be additional auditor of the imprest, but apparently allowed to retain his other post. He served on the committee for the private bill promoted by Juxon’s executors, and on 7 Apr. he was added to the committee for the better answering of moneys due to the crown. His name appears on both lists of government Members in 1669-71, and on the Paston list. His duties at the Exchequer included arbitrating between John Strode II and Sir Charles Wheler over the cost of transporting troops to Barbados, settling the accounts of the wine licences and the duty on legal proceedings, farmed by Sir Robert Atkyns and, probably most important, reaching an agreement with the goldsmiths over the Stop of the Exchequer. With his large family, he had grounds for seeking compensation when the profits of his office were reduced by two-thirds after the alienation of the fee-farm rents; according to Flagellum Parliamentarium he acted as commissioner of prizes, presumably during the third Dutch war. He was noted as a King’s servant in 1675 and on the working lists and in Wiseman’s account. Shaftesbury marked him ‘thrice vile’ and in A Seasonable Argument he was described as ‘auditor in the Exchequer, which is worth £400 p.a.; he is also the archbishop’s secretary, and has got by boons at several times £3,000’. His name again appears on both lists of the court party in 1678. Aldworth apparently did not stand in 1679, and died on 5 Oct. 1680, aged 66. His memorial at Ruscombe pays tribute to the faith and zeal with which he served the restored monarchy and the Church of England. His great-grandson was returned for Reading as a Whig in 1747.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690