VERNEY, Richard (1622-1711), of Allexton, Leics.; Belton, Rutland and Compton Verney, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. 28 Jan. 1622, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of Sir Greville Verney† (d.1642) of Compton Verney by Katherine, da. of Sir Robert Southwell of Wood Rising, Norf. educ. Jesus, Camb. 1640. m. (1) c. Nov. 1651, Mary (d. 17 Aug. 1663), da. of Sir John Pretyman, 1st Bt., of Lodington, Leics., 6s. (4 d.v.p.) 1da.; (2) Frances, da. of Thomas Dove of Upton, Northants., 1s. d.v.p. 1da. suc. gt. nephew as de jure 11th Lord Willoughby de Broke 23 Aug. 1683, claim allowed 13 Feb. 1696; kntd. 1 Apr. 1685.1
J.p. Warws. July 1660-d., Leics. 1662-Feb. 1688, Rutland 1680-bef. 1700; commr. for assessment, Warws. 1661-3, 1689-90, Leics. 1663-9, Rutland 1677-80; freeman, Portsmouth 1677; maj. of militia ft. Warws. by 1680-?87; sheriff, Rutland 1681-2, Warws. 1683-4; dep. lt. Rutland 1682-Mar. 1688, Warws. 1686-7, 1689-d.2
In about 1440 Verney’s ancestors acquired the Warwickshire manor of Compton to which their name came to be attached, but it was not until 1589 that they first represented the county in Parliament. A younger son, Verney inherited only a life interest in several farms on his father’s death. Neither he nor his elder brother took part in the Civil War, though the family was doubtless royalist in sympathy, being assessed at £3,500 by the committee for the advance of money. Verney bought Allexton in 1652, and at the Restoration was proposed for the order of the Royal Oak with an estate of £600 p.a. He moved to Rutland soon after 1672, and was described by the county historian as ‘a true lover of antiquities and a worthy Maecenas’.3
Verney succeeded to the family estate in 1683, and two years later was returned unopposed for Warwickshire as a Tory, with the support of the gentlemen of ‘approved loyalty’. He was knighted on presenting a loyal address from the county. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was named to the committees to consider the tithe bill, to recommend expiring laws for continuance, and to provide for the relief of poor debtors. He was absent from Leicestershire for the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, and was removed from local office. Reelected to the Convention, he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, but his only committee was for the augmentation of a Warwickshire vicarage. He lost his seat at the general election, and in November 1694 formally claimed the dormant Willoughby peerage. He was allowed to take his seat in the Lords on 27 Feb. 1696, and signed the Association.