FREMAN, Ralph (1627-1714), of Aspenden, Herts.
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Family and Education
bap. 29 May 1627, 1st s. of Ralph Freman of Aspenden by Mary, da. of Sir William Hewett† of Pishiobury, Sawbridgeworth. educ. privately (Seth Ward). m. 10 Feb. 1662, Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Aubrey, 1st Bt., of Llantrithyd, Glam., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 7da. suc. fa. 1665.1
Commr. for assessment, Herts. 1661-80, 1689-90, sewers, Essex Oct. 1660; j.p. Herts. 1663-87, Oct. 1688-d., dep. lt. 1681-7, 1689-?d.2
Freman’s grandfather and great-uncle, clothiers of London, acquired Aspenden in 1607. His father, according to Chauncy, ‘in the time of the rebellion did quit all public employments, affected a retired life, and pleased himself with the conversation of his children’. Nevertheless, he served on every county committee from 1643 to 1650. Freman’s tutor was Seth Ward, the future bishop of Salisbury, who had been deprived of his Cambridge fellowship. Dorothy Osborne described Freman as ‘a pretty gentleman’ with ‘a great deal of good nature’.3
Freman stood for the county as a court supporter in February 1679, at first ‘without opposition, but being observed that 150 or 200 Papists appeared for him in a body, the freeholders took notice of it and chose [William] Hale.’ Shaftesbury evidently believed that he had been returned and listed him as ‘base’. He was expected to stand again later in the year, and the moderate Sir Charles Caesar urged Hale to join forces. But when Hale made it clear that he would not serve, Freman probably desisted. With government backing, he was returned to James II’s Parliament, where he was moderately active. He was appointed to five committees, including those for recommending expunctions in the Journals and for the general naturalization of Protestants. He was noted as an opponent of James II in 1687 and removed from the lieutenancy. He was elected for the county again in 1690 after a double return. Freman died on 17 Nov. 1714 and was buried at Aspenden. His son, a Tory, represented the county from 1697 to 1727.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: E. R. Edwards / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. Clutterbuck, Herts. iii. 348, 358; Westminster City Lib. St. Mary le Strand par. reg.; Boyd’s London Units, 2602.
- 2. C191/7/59; Herts. Recs. vi. 522; vii. 375.
- 3. VCH Herts. iv. 19; Chauncy, Herts. i. 249; Letters of Dorothy Osborne ed. G. C. Moore Smith, 57.
- 4. Bodl. Carte 228, f. 134; A d. 33573, f. 126; BL, M636/33, John Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, 28 Aug. 1679; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 79; 1686-7, p 314; 1687-9, p. 125; CJ, x. 395-6; Clutterbuck, iii. 354.