NORTH, Sir Dudley I (1602-77), of Kirtling, Cambs.
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Family and Education
b. c.Nov. 1602, 1st s. of Dudley, 3rd Lord North by Frances, da. and coh. of Sir John Brocket† of Brocket Hall, Herts. educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1619; G. Inn entered 1619; I. Temple 1622; travelled abroad (Italy, France, Spain) c.1623-5. m. 24 Apr. 1632 (with £10,000) Anne (bur. 15 Feb. 1681), da. and coh. of Sir Charles Montagu of Cranbrook, Ilford, Essex, 7s. (1 d.v.p.) 7da. KB 1616; suc. fa. as 4th Lord North 16 Jan. 1666.2
Capt. of ft. 1620-2, c.1625-8.
J.p. Cambs. by 1634-60, 1662-d., Suff. by 1650-July 1660, Sept. 1660-d., Ely by 1650-?July 1660; commr. for disarming recusants, Cambs. 1641, dep. lt. 1642; commr. for assessment, Cambs. 1643 8, 1657, Cambs. and Suff. Jan. 1660-6, sequestration, Cambs. 1643, levying of money 1643, defence, eastern assoc. 1643, new model ordinance 1645, militia, Cambs. and Suff. 1648, Mar. 1660, drainage, Bedford level 1649; freeman, Cambridge Apr. 1660; commr. for oyer and terminer, Norf. circuit July 1660, sewers, Lincs. Aug. 1660, pontage, Cambridge 1663, complaints, Bedford level 1663.3
Commr. for regulating excise 1645, scandalous offences 1646, 1648, obstructions 1648-9.
North was descended from a London merchant whose son bought Kirtling in 1533, sat for the county in 1553 and was ennobled in 1554. North served as a soldier in Holland for about three years and first entered Parliament in 1628. His father sat at Westminster during the Civil War, but North himself was among the foremost in raising men, disarming Royalists and suppressing insurrection in Cambridgeshire. He did not sit after Pride’s Purge, but nevertheless continued to hold local office throughout the Interregnum, which suggests that he was no vehement opponent of the regime.4
North was reluctant to stand again for Parliament. According to his wife:
In ’60, though my lord had declared, as much as he could not to stand for knight of the shire, yet when the time came, many pressing my lord’s father about it, he laid his commands upon him to stand, which cost him £240.
His refusal to commit himself to an unconditional Restoration lost him the county election, but the Puritan corporation of Cambridge secured his return for the borough. On Lord Wharton’s list he was assigned to the management of Nathaniel Bacon. An inactive Member of the Convention, North was named to ten committees and made three recorded speeches. Among his more important committees before the Restoration were those to prepare the bill for abolishing the court of wards and to make void all grants since May 1642. He helped to administer the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to Members, and was named to the inquiry into the state of the queen mother’s jointure. On 30 July he spoke against the grant of £10,000 to Sir George Booth, but proposed that he should be recommended to the King for some honour, and was named to the committee for his estate bill. He was also appointed to the revenue committee. In the debate of 4 Aug. on the compensation to be granted to the King for the abolition of the court of wards, North objected to the levy proposed for Cambridgeshire, desiring that it might be raised by a pound rate on land. He spoke again on 17 Aug. in favour of agreeing with the Lords to except all the King’s judges from indemnity ‘for fear it should retard the whole bill’, but he recommended petitioning the King ‘to extend mercy to those that came in upon the proclamation’. His only committee in the second session was for the fen drainage bill.5
North did not seek re-election in 1661. He retired into the country, except when summoned to the Lords after his father’s death. He occupied himself in music and writing, and was described by his son Roger, as ‘knowing in books of all sorts, but not pedantically, so as to quote, but so as to rectify his judgment in the occurrences of his life’. Among his works were Observations and Advices Economical (1669), which was prefaced by a brief autobiography, and a Narrative of Some Passages relating to the Long Parliament (1670). He died on 24 June 1677 and was buried at Kirtling.6