STOUGHTON, Roger (1609-90), of Holborn, Mdx. and Litlington, Cambs.
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Family and Education
bap. 10 Dec. 1609, yr. s. of Walter Stoughton alias Riseley of Litlington by w. Elinor.1
Member, Hon. Artillery Co. 1642, Leather Sellers’ Company by 1660; commr. for assessment, Lancs. Aug. 1660-1, Mdx. 1673-80, 1689-d.; alderman, London Oct. 1660-1; j.p. Lancs. 1663-5.2
Stoughton was in business as a haberdasher in Cheapside in 1638 with premises valued at £30 p.a., but was evicted by the town-planning authorities, who wished to reserve the site for the goldsmiths. In spite of this setback and a short spell in prison for disobeying the Privy Council and the lord mayor, he seems to have prospered. He was assessed at £150 by the committee for the advance of money in 1643.3
Stoughton began to acquire an interest in Wigan as early as 1647 when Thomas Gerard of Ince Hall, a recusant, mortgaged 28 burgages to him on account of ‘his urgent occasions by reason of his sufferings for the King’. Ince Hall itself, from which the Gerards in desperation had stripped the leads, the flagstones and even the windows and doors, followed some three years later, together with the whole manor, except the valuable coalmines. Stoughton seems to have advanced £900 in his own name on an estate worth about £200 p.a. He paid his first visit to Wigan in 1653. Four years later Gerard was imprisoned in the Poultry Counter at the suit of Walter Stoughton, presumably a relative, and Stoughton celebrated Christmas 1659 by foreclosing on the premises. Whether this was in time for him to participate in the double return at the general election of 1660 is not known; but when the election was declared void by the House, Stoughton showed a commendable grasp of political realities for a tyro, getting possession of the new writ from the clerk of the Crown and detaining it in his own hands. With astonishing mildness, the House merely ordered another new writ to be issued, and Stoughton was elected. He was an inactive Member of the Convention, making no speeches and being named to only one unimportant committee. No doubt his chief motive in entering Parliament was to stave off a threatened Chancery suit by Gerard, but if he voted he probably went with the Opposition.4
Stoughton lost his seat and his parliamentary privilege in 1661, and a couple of years later Gerard recovered Ince Hall and the Wigan property. He gave up his seat on the corporation of London (at a cost of £420) and retired into obscurity. His character does not seem to have improved with age. After lodging for 25 years over a tailor’s in Holborn, he fell out with his landlady, Hester Bird, ‘about some private concerns’, maliciously indicted her of theft, and sought to have her transported. At the Stop of the Exchequer he had a small overdraft with Edward Backwell, but shortly before his death he was able to advance £500 to the new government. He died on 30 May 1690 in the 81st year of his age. His will shows that he remained a Whig and a Puritan; after family legacies totalling £2,415, he bequeathed to the Earl of Macclesfield, leader of the Lancashire Whigs, his claim to the manors of Ince, Aspull and Wigan. He also provided for 3s. a week to buy bread for the poor of Litlington and the adjoining village of Bassingbourne ‘so long as the reformed Protestant religion endureth according to the Church of England, but if mass or prayers in an unknown tongue shall be said in either of the said churches then this gift to cease’. The residue of his property went to one Stoughton Bird, presumably a relative of his landlady. Litlington and the adjoining village of Bassingbourne ‘solong as the reformed Protestant religion endureth according to the Church of England, but if mass or prayers in an unknown tongue shall be said in either of the said churches then this gift to cease’. The residue of his property went to one Stoughton Bird, presumably a relative of his landlady.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / Irene Cassidy
- 1. Soc. of Genealogists, Litlington par. reg.; East Anglian Peds. (Harl. Soc. xci), 215-16.
- 2. Ancient Vellum Bk. of Hon. Artillery Co. ed. Raikes, 68; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London, 156; SP29/80/13.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1637-8, pp. 155, 161; PCC 115 Dyke; SP19/63/49.
- 4. E134/15 Chas. II, Easter 16; CJ, viii. 146.
- 5. CSP Dom. E682, p. 207; Mon. Inscriptions from Cambs. 109; PCC 115 Dyke.