SCUDAMORE, John, 2nd Visct. Scudamore of Sligo [I] (c.1650-97), of Holme Lacy, Herefs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1650, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Hon. James Scudamore*. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 30 May 1666, aged 16. m. settlement 4 June 1672, Lady Frances Cecil, da. of John, 4th Earl of Exeter, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. gdfa. 19 May 1671.1
Commr. for assessment, Herefs. and Hereford 1673-80, 1689-90; j.p. Heref. 1676-c.81; high steward, Hereford ?1671-82, Oct. 1688-95; dep. lt. Glos. 1694-5.2
Holme Lacy is within five miles of Hereford, of which city Scudamore probably became high steward on his grandfather's death. Returned at a by-election in 1673, he was named to only five committees in the Cavlier Parliament, and made no recorded speeches. His chief concern was probably the rebuilding of his house in the latest and most expensive style. In 1675 he was to be approached in the court interest by the lord keeper through William Gregory*, but in the following year Sir Richard Wiseman* noted tersely against his name: 'had better be absent than present'. He was adopted by the country party in 1675 as candidate for Herefordshire in the next election, and noted by Shaftesbury as 'worthy' both in 1677 and 1679. He leaves no trace in the records of the three Exclusion Parliaments, and was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill; but he was returned unopposed at the next two elections. He began to move away from the Whigs after the bullying of his follower Jeremiah Bubb* by John Dutton Colt* in the second Exclusion Parliament, but he supported exclusion both in 1680 and 1681. On the dissolution of the Oxford Parliament, a meeting of Herefordshire Members was held in Scudamore's lodgings, and addresses by Shaftesbury himself. No eyewitness report of the meeting survives, but if a government informer, who was brother-in-law to Thomas Coningsby*, is to be believed Shaftesbury offered Scudamore a command in a revolutionary army, whereupon Scudamore declared that he would never fight against the laws of the land. On 21 Apr. 1681, (Sir) Edward Harley* sent his son Robert Harley II*
to acquaint you that in most parts of the county artificial reports are spread that, when another Parliament shall be summoned, your lordship will not stand as formerly to be their representative, by which skill is endeavoured to set up another interest. The consequence of that I need not explain to your lordship, who with so much honour discharged the trust of four Parliaments, and have seen what designs are managed.
Harley concluded with the assurance that this was 'the request of Mr Coningsby and many other gentlemen' besides himself, and throughout the summer of 1681 he relied on Coningsby to keep Scudamore straight. Coningsby was apparently a house guest at Holme Lacy when a great meeting of Tory gentry was held there at the end of July. Scudamore was offered their first votes as knight of the shire, on condition that he undertook not to join with any other candidate. Some of the Whigs were seriously alarmed at the possibility of Scudamore's defection, but Harley remained confident, having been informed, presumeably by Coningsby, that 'my lord gave not a satisfactory answer'.
Events now took a dramatic turn, which detroyed Harley's hopes. Scudamore and his wife repaid Coningsby's visit, Mrs Coningsby took umbrage at the conduct of her husband towards Lady Scudamore - 'one of the impedents [sic] women as ever was known or heard of' - and the upshot was that Lady Scudamore eloped with her host. Scudamore raised the country, and his servants succeeded in tracing the guilt pair to Banbury. There was consternation in the Whig camp; the pious Harley was induced to overlook Coningsby's offence by the prospect of securing a seat for his son at Leominster, but William Gregory*was despatched to Holme Lacy 'to encourage my lord to stand that his enemies may see that his personal disaster (which his friends lament) does not break his spirits nor turn him aside from public concerns'.3
In the event Scudamore took his wife back, and abandoned his parliamentary career. In 1685, he undertook only to 'serve the country if elected, but he would not contest nor be at the charges of any poll', and the court canididates were returned unopposed. He was still under suspicion as an enemy of the Court, and would have been arrested in June if he had not been out of the county taking the waters at Bath. His application through Lord Powys for restoration to the commission in 1686 failed. He again refused to join Harley in contesting the country in 1688. He agreed to advance £100 to William of Orange, but when Gregory was made a judge in April 1689, he resisted the importunities of his uncle (Sir) Henry Capel* as well as Harley to fill the vacancy at Hereford. He refused the oaths to the new regime, and lost his high stewardship of Hereford in 1695. He died three years later and was buried at Holme Lacy on 22 July 1697. His son sat for the county as a Tory from 1705 to 1715.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Edward Rowlands
- 1. Dorm. and Extinct Peerage, 483.
- 2. C115/8910; SP29/417/188.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1675-6, p. 460; 1682, pp. 424-6; Ailesbury Mems. i. 47; C115/8898; BL Loan 29/183, f. 87, Richard Reed to Sir Edward Harley, 28 July 1681; f. 90v, Sir Edward Harley to Robert Harley, 2 Aug. 1681; f. 98, Reed to Sir Edward Harley, 23 Aug. 1681.
- 4. HMC Rutland, ii. 56; BL Loan 29/140, Sir Edward Harley to Robert Harley, 12 Mar. 1685, 22 June 1685; C115/8899, 8901, 8903, 8911; Luttrell, iii. 532.