RICH, Sir William, 2nd Bt. (c.1654-1711), of Sonning, Berks.
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Family and Education
Commr. for assessment, Berks. 1673-80, Glos. 1677-80, Oxon. 1679-80, Berks. and Oxon. 1689-90; high steward, Wokingham 1678-d.; freeman, Reading 1689; j.p. Berks. by 1701-d.2
Despite Rich’s marriage into the ultra-royalist Bruce family, he became a strong Whig. In September 1680 he accompanied the Duke of Monmouth and Lord Lovelace (John Lovelace) on a visit to Oxford. His application for the freedom of Reading to enable him to contest the general election of 1685 was refused, and he was then denied the poll because he was not a freeman. The election was declared void on his petition, but at the ensuing by-election he came bottom of the poll. He was listed among those opposed to James II in the country. In September 1688 the King’s agents reported that he and Sir Henry Fane, supported by Lovelace, ‘make an interest, as hoping to carry the mobile’. He was successful in the 1689 election, but sat on no committees and made no recorded speeches, though he supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. Re-elected in 1690, he voted consistently as a Court Whig. He was buried at Sonning on 3 July 1711. The next member of the family to enter Parliament was his great-grandson, the fifth baronet, who was returned for Marlow as a government supporter in 1784.3