HUNGERFORD, Edward (1632-1711), of Corsham, Wilts.; Broadwater, Suss. and Hungerford House, the Strand, 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

17 May - 20 June 1661
21 Aug. 1661
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679
Feb. 1701

Family and Education

b. 20 Oct. 1632, 1st s. of Anthony Hungerford of Blackbourton, Oxon. by Rachel, da. of Rice Jones of Asthall, Oxon. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1649. m. (1) bef. 1661, Jane (d. 18 Mar. 1664), da. and h. of Sir John Hele of Clifton Maybank, Dorset, 1s. d.v.p. 2da.; (2) 3 Feb. 1666, Jane (d.18 May 1674), da. of Hugh Culme of Burlescombe, Devon, and h. to her bro. Richard, s.p.; (3) July 1679, Jane (d.1703), da. and h. of George Digby of Sandon, Staffs., wid. of Charles, 4th Baron Gerard of Gerard’s Bromley, 1s. suc. fa. 1657; KB 23 Apr. 1661.1

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Wilts. 1659, Som. and Wilts. Mar. 1660, assessment, Som. and Wilts. Jan. 1660-80, Oxon. Jan. 1660-1, 1665-80, Devon 1663-9, Westminster 1679-80, Oxon. and Wilts. 1689-90, Staffs. and Suss. 1690; j.p. Oxon, and Wilts. Mar. 1660-80, Som. 1661-80, Staffs. 1692-?1703, Suss. by 1701-?3; capt. of militia horse, Wilts. Apr. 1660, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660-81, commr. for sewers, Som. Dec. 1660, loyal and indigent officers Wilts. 1662, oyer and terminer, Western circuit 1665, inquiry, Kingswood chase 1671, committee, Hudson’s Bay Co. 1674-5; commr. for recusants, Wilts. 1675.2

Biography

Hungerford’s family were established in Wiltshire in the 12th century, representing the county from 1322. Sir Thomas Hungerford in 1377 was the first Speaker formally mentioned as such in the parliament rolls. Hungerford’s father, a younger son, sat for Malmesbury in the Long Parliament, until disabled as a Royalist. In compounding for his delinquency he claimed that he had been brought to Oxford by force to attend the Parliament there, and had surrendered immediately after his release. As a reversioner to the principal estates of the family, which came to him in 1653, he was fined £2,532 at one-tenth. Hungerford became the most notorious spendthrift of the age. On one occasion he is said to have paid 500 guineas for a wig. He sat in Richard Cromwell’s Parliament for Chippenham, where he owned the manor of Sheldon, but his brother Anthony, a royalist agent, brought Charles II a handsome contribution from him, ‘not three men of the nation having made the like present’ according to Sir Edward Hyde. In addition Hungerford helped to bring up the Oxfordshire petition for a free Parliament in February 1660, and clearly favoured the Restoration.3

Hungerford was re-elected for Chippenham in 1660 and listed as a friend by Lord Wharton. But he was probably less active in the Convention than his uncles Giles and Henry, being appointed by full name only to the committee for St. Nicholas hospital, Harnham. He was re-elected in 1661 and dubbed a knight of the Bath at the coronation. In the Cavalier Parliament he was named to the original elections committee, but Sir Hugh Speke offered another indenture for Chippenham and the election was declared void. Hungerford regained the seat later in the year at a by-election after Speke’s death. A moderately active Member, he made no recorded speeches, but was named to a further 72 committees, including those for an additional corporations bill in 1664 and to receive information about the insolence of Popish priests and Jesuits in 1666. His income about this time was reckoned at £4,000 p.a. but already by 1667 he was claiming privilege to avoid appearing in a suit in the Exchequer. He was one of the deputation sent to the King on 23 Apr. 1668 with the resolution in favour of wearing English manufactures. Sir Thomas Osborne included him in 1669 among those who had usually voted for supply, and Charles described him as ‘deserving well for his loyalty’. He was deeply involved with Sir John Pretyman, from whom he bought the valuable Sussex manor of Broadwater. Through his brother-in-law, James Hayes, who was secretary to Prince Rupert, he became one of the original adventurers of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Despite his town house, Hungerford was irregular in his attendance, making default in three sessions. He was added to the committee to draw up articles of impeachment against Lord Arlington (3 Feb. 1673), and rather ironically appointed to that to devise means for compelling better attendance (31 Jan. 1674). He was busiest in the two sessions of 1675, being named to the committees on the bills for preventing illegal exactions (26 Apr.), hindering Papists from sitting in Parliament (28 May) and appropriating the customs to the use of the navy (21 Oct.). Although he had received the government whip for the autumn session, and his name appeared on the working lists, by 1677 Shaftesbury regarded him as ‘worthy’, and on 22 Feb. he was appointed to the committee on the bill for the recall of British subjects from the French service. Meanwhile a private bill, inspired by the very successful development of Covent Garden as a market by the Earl of Bedford, was passing through the Lords. It was brought down to the Commons on 26 Mar., and passed through all the remaining stages in a fortnight, Henry Eyre taking the chair in the committee. Hungerford was thus empowered to demolish his house in the Strand and let the site, and in the following year he was granted the right to hold a market there on three days a week; but it did not flourish, and he eventually sold out to (Sir) Stephen Fox.4

The remainder of Hungerford’s long parliamentary career was chiefly motivated by his need for privilege to elude his creditors. He retained his seat in the Exclusion Parliaments, though he was opposed in both 1679 elections by Francis Gwyn. Shaftesbury again marked him ‘worthy’, and he voted for the bill but was otherwise totally inactive. In January 1680, together with Thomas Thynne II and Sir Walter St. John, he brought up the Wiltshire petition for the immediate assembly of the second Exclusion Parliament, which was ‘roughly’ received by the King. In the summer he was one of the exclusionists who planned to have the Duke of York presented as a recusant by the Middlesex grand jury. Not unnaturally he was dismissed as j.p. and deputy lieutenant. After the Rye House Plot, Farleigh Castle, his Somerset home, was searched for arms, and ‘a considerable parcel of armour’ was discovered.