BEKE, Richard (1630-1707), of Westminster and Ford, Dinton, Bucks.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 8 Sept. 1630, 1st s. of Henry Beke of Haddenham by Frances, da. of John Billyard, Merchant Taylor, of London. m. (1) 7 Feb. 1656, Levina (d. Feb. 1658), da. of Roger Whetstone of Whittlesey, Cambs., s.p.; (2) lic. 1 July 1667, Jane, da. of Lord Charles Powlett of Abbott’s Anne, Hants, s.p.; (3) 10 Feb. 1684 (with £1,200), Elizabeth (d. 30 May 1737), da. of Thomas Lee I, of Hartwell, Bucks., 3da. suc. fa. 1654, cos. Thomas Dover in Dinton estate 1682.1
Capt.-lt. of life-gds. 1650-5, capt. 1656-9; maj. of horse 1655-6, 1659; lt. Duke of York’s Horse Gds. July 1660-1; lt.-col. of horse, London vol. regt. of the Mq. of Winchester (Charles Powlett II) 1690.2
Commr. for scandalous ministers, Bucks. 1654; j.p. co. Dur. 1655-Mar. 1660, Bucks. 1656-Mar. 1660, Feb. 1688-d.; commr. for assessment, Bucks., co. Dur. and Nairnshire 1657, Nairnshire 1659, Bucks. 1689-90; dep. lt. Bucks. 1689-d., London 1690; freeman, Chipping Wycombe 1691.3
Commr. for excise appeals 1689-d.4
Beke was descended from Thomas Beke of Whiteknights, who sat for Reading in three Parliaments in the 15th century. His grandfather was granted a crown lease of Haddenham in 1570 by Queen Elizabeth, to whom he was chief equerry. His father, a Parliamentarian in the Civil War, acted as sheriff of Buckinghamshire and served on the county committee from 1644 to 1652. Beke himself became an officer in Cromwell’s life-guard, married his niece in 1656, and was ‘knighted’ in December 1658. Little is known of the next 30 years of his life. He sued out a pardon at the Restoration, and even served briefly in the army. But his lease of Haddenham, which had expired in 1658, was not renewed, and he seems to have taken up residence in Westminster. His arrest was recommended during the second Dutch war, but in 1667 he married into the Powletts, a family of hitherto unimpeachable loyalty, and was later exempted from an order requiring Cromwellian officers to leave the metropolitan area. He inherited a modest estate at Ford, four miles from Aylesbury, in 1682, and married a third wife, over 30 years his junior, whose father controlled both seats in the borough. During Monmouth’s rebellion he was sent to the Tower with his neighbour and kinsman, (Sir) Richard Ingoldsby, but they were soon released.5
Beke was one of the Buckinghamshire dissenters recommended as justices in 1688, but he was not a court candidate. Nevertheless he was elected for Aylesbury in 1689 with his brother-in-law Thomas Lee II. He was given a place with a salary of £200 p.a., but, after an interval of nearly 30 years, he was not an active Member of the Convention. He made no recorded speeches, and was appointed to only seven committees, of which the most important were to prevent the import of French goods (18 July) and excessive expenditure at elections (25 Oct.). He did not vote for the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations, and remained a court Whig under William III. He died on 29 Nov. 1707, the last of his family to sit in Parliament, and was buried at Dinton.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Leonard Naylor
- 1. Top. and Gen. iii. 158, 162, 172, 177; PCC 143 Clarke; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 110.
- 2. Whitelocke Mems. iii. 300; Clarke Pprs. (Cam. Soc. n.s. lxi), 141; Carte, Orig. Letters, ii. 81; CSP Dom. 1659-60, pp. 31, 577; 1690-1, p. 69; Parl. Intell. 23 July 1660.
- 3. First Wycombe Ledger Bk. (Bucks. Rec. Soc. xi), 233.
- 4. 4 Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 110; xxi. 512.
- 5. Top. and Gen. iii. 162, 175; VCH Bucks. iii. 282; CSP Dom. 1664-5, p. 484; 1670, p. 281; 1685, pp. 241, 269.
- 6. Top. and Gen. iii. 177.