RICHARDSON, Thomas, 2nd Baron Cramond [S] (1627-74), of Honingham, Norf.

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



1661 - 16 May 1674

Family and Education

bap. 19 June 1627, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Richardson, Master of Cramond, by 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Hewett of Pishiobury, Sawbridgeworth, Herts. educ. Norwich g.s.; Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1642. m. lic. 20 Sept. 1647, Anne (d. 31 Jan. 1677), da. and coh. of Sir Richard Gurney, 1st Bt., of Cheapside, London and Pointer’s Grove, Totteridge, Herts., ld. mayor 1641-2, 3s. 2da. suc. fa. 1643, gdfa.’s wid. Elizabeth, Baroness Cramond as 2nd Baron 3 Apr. 1651.1

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Norf. Mar. 1660, col. of militia ft. Apr. 1660-d., j.p. July 1660- d.; commr. for oyer and terminer, Norf. circuit July 1660; dep. lt. Norf. and Norwich c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment, Norf. Aug. 1660-d., loyal and indigent officers 1662, corporations 1662-3.2

Jt. receiver of feudal arrears 1669-d.; commr. for accounts, loyal and indigent officers 1671.3


Lord Cramond, who was usually called by his family name rather than his title, was the grandson of Sir Thomas Richardson, a puritan lawyer of Norfolk peasant stock, who bought Honingham about 1600, served as MP for St. Albans and Speaker in 1621, and became lord chief justice under Charles I. The judge’s second wife, one of the Buckingham ‘kindred’ and mother to John Ashburnham I and William Ashburnham, was made a Scottish peeress in 1629 with a special remainder to her stepsons; but she outlived Cramond’s father, who was imprisoned in Norwich as a Royalist and died there ‘principally from the ill-usage he received’. Cramond himself, according to his epitaph, was ‘a man of unconquered faith and courage, who remained honest in the worst of times, uncorrupted by any fanatical factions and putting his own ease second to the royal cause’. In January 1660, together with Sir Horatio Townshend and Sir John Hobart, he presented the Norfolk address for a free Parliament to the Speaker and to General George Monck.4

As Cramond’s father had not been in arms he was within the qualifications imposed by the Long Parliament for candidates at the general election of 1660. He was returned for the county after a contest, and marked as a friend by Lord Wharton. A moderately active Member of the Convention he was appointed to 15 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges, and made four recorded speeches. He was among those instructed on 4 July to prepare for a conference on three orders issued by the House of Lords. A strong Anglican, he wished to postpone the second reading of the bill to settle ecclesiastical livings, but was named to the committee, and acted as teller for an amendment which would have denied protection to ministers who constantly refused to administer the sacrament. After the recess he seconded the motion to lay aside the bill for modified episcopacy. He supported the restitution of the dukedom of Norfolk to the head of the Howard family, and was appointed to the committee.5

Cramond was re-elected unopposed in 1661. An active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he acted as teller in 12 divisions, made six recorded speeches, and was appointed to 151 committees, including those for the security bill, the restoration of the bishops to the House of Lords, the prevention of tumultuary petitioning, the uniformity bill and the bill of pains and penalties. But he was most prominent in local matters, notably the condition of Wells harbour, the clothing industry and the Yarmouth herring trade, as an adherent of the Paston faction. He was the first Member appointed to the committee on the bill for the regulation of Norfolk stuffs and on 20 Dec. was among those sent to ask the King to pass the assessment bill. He invited the Presbyterian Vincent Alsop to preach on the anniversary of Charles I’s execution and carried the thanks of the House for the sermon. He reported an estate bill on 31 Dec. 1662. After carrying the Norfolk stuffs bill to the Lords, he helped to manage a conference. In the 1663 session he was appointed to the committees both to hinder the growth of Popery and to prevent meetings of sectaries. He was given leave to bring in a bill for the repair and maintenance of Wells quay, which had failed in the previous session, and carried it to the Lords on 2 June. In 1664 he was among those named to the committees to consider the conventicles bill and to inquire into the alteration of a bill by William Prynne. In November he brought in the bill on behalf of Robert Paston to incorporate Little Yarmouth, and was named to the committee. He acted as teller for the bill on 9 Feb. 1665. During the second Dutch war he promised a loan to the crown, but his affairs were involved, and in June 1666 it was reported that he had been unable to filfil his undertaking and was ‘endeavouring to save his reputation’. In the following session he acted as teller against raising £1,800,000 solely from the land.6

Cramond’s attitude to the fall of Clarendon is unknown, but he was appointed to the committee of inquiry into the sale of Dunkirk. He opposed the bill on the trial of peers as a breach of the royal prerogative, and twice acted as teller against the alnage bill. He was named to the committee for preventing the refusal of habeas corpus, and in 1669 added to that for continuing the Conventicles Act. He was on both lists of the court party at this time among those Members to be engaged by the Duke of York, and in March he was made joint receiver of feudal revenues due before the abolition of the court of wards. He was teller for the Court on 14 Feb. 1670 on a motion to give supply precedence over accounts, and proposed an extension of the tax on foreign commodities. He continued to serve on committees of local interest, including that for the Brandon and Waveney navigation bill, though his Norfolk estate was fast slipping away from him. On 29 Nov. 1670 he was teller for granting privilege to his equally desperate neighbour, Christopher Jay, and he was again named to the committee for the conventicles bill. After the Christmas recess he opposed the suspension of all other business until the passing of the bill to punish the assailants of Sir John Coventry. He was teller for committing the subsidy bill, and was named to two committees on the growth of Popery. Possibly of more personal concern to him was the committee on the bill for the better collecting and answering of fines and forfeitures due to the crown. He was appointed to the commission to take the accounts of the loyal and indigent officers fund, but his application for a lease of the profitable Cornish tin farm was rejected. His last important committee was on the bill of ease for Protestant dissenters (7 Mar. 1673). His name appeared on the Paston list of court supporters in 1673-4. But he died intestate on 16 May 1674 and was buried at Honingham, though the estate had already been sold. Letters of administration were granted to a creditor, and no later member of the family sat in Parliament.7

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Scots Peerage, ii. 582-3.
  • 2. Parl. Intell. 9 Apr. 1660; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 73; Blomefield, Norf. iii. 404.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 195; CSP Dom. 1671, p. 255.
  • 4. Blomefield, ii. 447, 449; R. Mason, Norf. 284; HMC 5th Rep. 153; CSP Dom. 1659-60, p. 332.
  • 5. Bowman diary, ff. 65, 98; CJ, viii. 106, 129, 194; Old Parl. Hist. xxiii. 27, 36.
  • 6. CJ, viii. 343, 354, 367, 429, 485, 647; Add. 32094, ff. 24-25; HMC Le Fleming, 39; HMC 6th Rep. 365.
  • 7. Milward, 247; CJ, ix. 83, 84, 190; Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 195, 1023, 1031; Dering, 45, 97; Blomefield, ii. 447, 452.