POWLE, Richard (1628-78), of Shottesbrook, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1661 - 12 July 1678

Family and Education

bap. 17 July 1628, 1st s. of Henry Powle of Shottesbrook, and bro. of Henry Powle. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1646; L. Inn 1647, called 1654. m. by 1673, Anne (d. 27 Dec. 1707), da. and h. of Sir Nicholas Crispe of Quex, Kent, 2s. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1646; KB 23 Apr. 1661.1

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Berks. Mar. 1660; j.p. Berks. July 1660-d., Reading 1664; dep. Lt. Berks. c. Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for assessment, Berks. Aug. 1660-d., Kent 1673-4, oyer and terminer, Oxf. circuit 1661, 1662, 1665, loyal and indigent officers, Berks. 1662, corporations 1662-3, recusants 1675.2

Master of the horse to the Duchess of York 1665-71, commr. for regulating the Duke of York’s household 1667.3

FRS 1663.

Biography

Powle’s ancestors had settled in Berkshire in Tudor times. His father resisted ship-money in 1638 and was appointed to the county committee in 1643, but he was not an active Parliamentarian during the Civil War. Powle himself qualified as a barrister during the Interregnum, though it is not clear that he ever practised, and he held no office till the return of the secluded Members. Powle was returned for the county to the Convention, the first of the family to enter Parliament. An inactive Member, he was appointed only to the elections committee. His petition for the office of bailiff of the seven hundreds of the Forest Division was unsuccessful.4

Powle was re-elected in 1661, and made a knight of the Bath at the coronation. He was again inactive in the Cavalier Parliament, serving on 35 committees, mainly connected with trade and private bills of secondary importance. He made no recorded speeches. Among his earlier committees were those to inspect the excise revenue and to prevent abuses in the sale of offices. He was not on the court dependants list of 1664, but bought the office of master of the horse to the Duchess of York at a salary of £266 13s. 4d. shortly afterwards. Andrew Marvell commented sardonically that he was unable to ride, owing to a venereal infection, and that his excessive care for his personal appearance made him a late-comer to debates. He was named to the committee for attainting English officers in enemy service during the second Dutch war. His income was estimated at £2,000 p.a. about this time, and he was noted in the court party lists of 1669-71 as a dependant of the Duke of York. On 2 Mar. 1670 he was teller for adjourning the debate on supply in order to expedite the second reading of the conventicles bill. In 1674 he was granted reversionary leases of the crown manors of Bewdley and Egham, and was named to the committee for the habeas corpus amendment bill. He was included in the working lists of 1675-8, again as a dependant of the Duke of York, though he had sold his office to Lord Roscommon for £4,500. Sir Richard Wiseman was doubtful about him in 1676, remarking that ‘as long as he can find he hath notice taken of him he may be relied upon. [Sir William Glascock] may watch him’. Shaftesbury marked him ‘worthy’ in 1677, presumably out of regard for his brother, but he again figured in the court list of 1678. Powle was buried on 14 July 1678 at Shottesbrook. His will reveals financial difficulties, which he ascribed to the incomplete payment of his wife’s portion. He asked the 2nd Earl of Clarendon (Henry Hyde) and his brother Laurence Hyde to act as his son’s guardians, but Shottesbrook had to be sold before the century was out.5