RUSSELL, Gerard (1620-82), of Fordham Abbey, Cambs.
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Family and Education
bap. 13 June 1620, 3rd s. of Sir William Russell†, 1st Bt. (d.1654), of Chippenham (treas. of the navy 1618-27, 1630-42) by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Gerard of Burwell; bro. of Francis Russell. educ. Jesus, Camb. 1636; I. Temple 1640. m (1) Mary Cherry of Surr., 6s. (4 d.v.p.); (2) 21 Aug. 1671, Mabel, da. of Hugh Floyd, vicar of Fordham 1644-89, 1da. suc. bro. Sir William Russell 1665.1
Freeman, E.I. Co. 1642; commr. for assessment, Cambs. 1666-80, Ely 1670-80; j.p. Cambs. 1666-81, commr. for recusants 1675.2
Gent. of the privy chamber June 1660-d.3
Russell’s father, a leading man in several of the great overseas trading companies and a customs farmer, purchased the office of treasurer of the navy under James I. He was apparently neutral in the Civil War, but Russell’s eldest brother Francis became a colonel in the parliamentary forces, representing Cambridgeshire as a recruiter, and, after the marriage of his daughter to Henry Cromwell, sitting in the ‘Other House’ under the Protectorate. The next brother, however, ‘Black Sir William’, was considered ‘the cream of the Russells’ for his loyalty, and Russell himself seems to have been an inconspicuous Royalist. He compounded on his own discovery in 1649 for delinquency in the first Civil War, paying a fine of £25 for his chamber in the Temple and on East India stock valued at £500. He was listed among the Cambridgeshire Royalists by Roger Whitley in 1657, but he was not added to the county tax commission till after the death of his brother, from whom he presumably inherited the Fordham Abbey estate. He first stood for the county in 1674, but was defeated by the court candidate, Sir Thomas Hatton. A supporter of exclusion and a member of the Green Ribbon Club, he was successful at the first general election of 1679, and marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. He was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges, and to that appointed to search for precedents for punishing false returns. He was given leave on 17 Apr. to go into the country for six days, but returned to vote for the exclusion bill. He was defeated at the next two elections, and removed from the commission of the peace. He died on 7 Dec. 1682. The estate was sold after his son’s death in 1701, and no later member of the family entered Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. M. Noble, Protectoral House of Cromwell, 404-5; The Gen. n.s. xv. 125; Lysons, Environs, iv. 377; VCH Cambs. ii. 184.
- 2. Cal. Ct. Mins. E.I. Co. ed. Sainsbury, ii. 264.
- 3. Carlisle, Privy Chamber , 172.
- 4. G. E. Aylmer, King’s Servants, 93-94, 135; SP23/218/249, 253; Lipscomb, Bucks. ii. 196; Lysons, Cambs. 193-4.