BRAHAM, Sir Richard (c.1613-76), of Gray's Inn Shaw-in-the-Frith, New Windsor, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1613, 1st s. of Richard Braham of Wandsworth, Surr. by Elizabeth, da. of Nathaniel Giles, Mus. Doc., of New Windsor. educ. G. Inn 1634. m. (1) by 1639, Susan (d. 5 May 1640), da. of Sir George Southcote of Shillingford, Devon, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) Susan, da. of Sir Robert Gawsell of Watlington, Norf., s.p.; (3) lic. 6 May 1663, aged 50, Jane (d.1667), da. of Thomas Devenish of Langham, Dorset, wid. of Henry Scobell, clerk of Parliament, of Westminster, s.p. suc. fa. 1619 kntd. 21 Mar. 1645; cr. Bt. 16 Apr. 1662.1
J.p. Berks. July 1660-d., Windsor 1665; commr. for assessment, Berks. Aug. 1660-74, corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, oyer and terminer, Oxford circuit 1665, encroachments, Windsor 1671, recusants, Berks. 1675.2
Commr. for wine licences 1661-4.3
Braham’s grandfather, of Suffolk origin, became yeoman of the cellar to Queen Elizabeth, and was granted a crown lease of Shaw in 1590. Braham himself was defeated by Richard Winwood at the New Windsor by-election of 1641. During the Civil War he was in the Oxford garrison but never took up arms. He compounded in 1646 on the Oxford articles for £364 on a valuation of his lease of Shaw at £150 p.a., with a further £58 p.a. in reversion to his mother. His debts were not substantial, but he seems to have occupied himself during the Interregnum in expensive litigation with his first wife’s family. Himself ineligible at the general election of 1660, he was rather surprisingly ‘a main stickler’ for Winwood, standing on the inhabitant franchise against Roger Palmer, ‘a most loyally affected person’.4
Braham was successful in a contested election on the corporation franchise in 1661. A moderately active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 104 committees. During the first session he was named to the committees for the uniformity bill, and for considering the petition of the wine retailers, in which he was interested as a licensing commissioner. His loyalty was rewarded with a renewal of his lease of Shaw and a baronetcy. Among his committees in 1663 and 1664 were those to prevent abuses in the sale of offices and honours, to provide remedies against unlawful meetings of dissenters and to consider the additional corporations bill. He was listed as a court dependent in 1664, though he was not reappointed to the licensing commission. He sat on the committee for the bill to levy forfeitures on vintners, and acted as teller on 28 Jan. 1665 against prolonging the debate on the assessment bill. In the Oxford session he was named to the committees for the five mile bill and for preparing the attainder of English officers in enemy service. His financial position deteriorated, and his petition for appointment as a commissioner for prizes, as one who had ‘lost and suffered much for his loyalty and received no compensation’, went unheeded. During the last session of Clarendon’s administration he was named to the committees to consider the prohibition of cattle imports, to inspect the accounts of the navy, ordnance and stores, and to receive information about the insolence of Popish priests and Jesuits. When Lord Mordaunt was impeached on charges brought by one of the unsuccessful candidates in 1661, Braham was called as a witness for the defence. After Clarendon’s fall, which he doubtless deplored, he was among those appointed to take the accounts of the loyal and indigent officers fund, to inquire into arrears of taxes due from officials and to consider enlarging the conventicles bill. He was among those appointed on 23 Apr. 1668 to attend the King with an address for wearing English manufactures. After 1669 he was far less active. He was ordered by Sir George Downing to attend the Treasury on 11 Jan. 1670 to answer a petition from Thomas Lisle, on behalf of two of his creditors. Lisle, the King’s barber, and his son-in-law acquired Shaw when Braham’s lease expired a few months later. He was probably the ‘Sir Richard Barnes’ who on 13 Dec. proposed regulating servants’ apparel. He was noted in both lists of the court party in 1669-71 among those to be engaged by the Duke of York, and described in an opposition pamphlet as ‘a bankrupt Member in pension ... to be found in his sanctuary at Gray’s Inn’. In a desperate attempt to retrieve his fortunes he took out a licence to marry the Welsh widow of a leading Yorkshire Royalist, but she preferred one of her own countrymen. On the working lists he was assigned to the lord treasurer’s management, and Sir Richard Wiseman included him with Richard Neville and Richard Aldworth as one of ‘three sure men if they attend, which I believe they will not refuse to do upon the least hint’. He was buried in April 1676 with the aid of a grant from the corporation, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.5