WRIGHT, Henry (c.1637-64), of Dagnams, Havering, Essex.

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

Constituency

Dates

1661 - 5 Feb. 1664

Family and Education

b. c.1637, o. surv. s. of Lawrence Wright, MD, of Dagnams by Mary, da. and coh. of John Duke, MD, of Friar Street, Colchester, educ. Trinity Coll. Camb. 1653; Balliol, Oxf. 1653, BA 1656; L. Inn 1655. m. 23 Mar. 1658, Anne (d. 27 Sept. 1708), da. of John Crew of Stene, Northants., 1s. 1da. suc. fa. 1657; cr. Bt. 11 June 1660.1

Offices Held

Commr. for trade 1656-7.2

Commr. for militia, Essex 1659, Mar. 1660, assessment, Essex Jan. 1660-d., Northants. Jan. 1660; j.p. Essex Mar. 1660-d., Mdx. 1662-d.; commr. for sewers, Havering and Dagenham levels Sept. 1660, Essex Oct. 1660.3

Biography

Wright came from a cadet branch of an Essex family which was granted arms in 1590 and acquired Dagnams about the same time. Although his father took no known part in the Civil War he became Cromwell’s physician. Wright’s own appointment to the board of trade at the age of 19 is one of the grossest examples of domestic patronage under the Protectorate, and this was followed by the grant of a ‘baronetcy’ in 1658. His marriage to the daughter of a leading Presbyterian, and sister-in-law of Edward Montagu I, probably entailed his conversion to royalist principles.4

Montagu’s secretary, Samuel Pepys, recorded that Wright came aboard the flagship on 27 Mar. 1660 ‘about his business of being chosen a Parliament man’. Through his mother he had inherited Foulton Hall, some three miles from Harwich, and with the addition of Montagu’s Admiralty interest his election was secure. On 4 May he reported to the Council of State that the billeting of sick and wounded soldiers and sailors on the citizens of Harwich was proving far too costly, and that some servicemen with no accommodation were forced to lie in the streets. The Council directed the Admiralty commissioners to consider the matter. Lord Wharton classed him as a friend, to be managed by Sir Gilbert Gerard; but he was doubtless a court supporter, and his baronetcy was restored to him within a fortnight of the King’s return. Though totally inactive in both committee and debate he acted as teller on 6 July against a proviso to the indemnity bill which would have allowed damages to be recovered from Commonwealth judges and legal officials.5

Wright was re-elected in 1661 on the recommendation of the lord high admiral, the Duke of York. But he was again inactive in the Cavalier Parliament, probably for reasons of health, being appointed to only six committees. When the House met he was given indefinite leave because he was ‘much indisposed in his health’, though later in the month he was named to the committees for the estate bill promoted by his neighbour, Sir Anthony Browne, and the bill for enlarging and repairing of common highways. He twice acted as teller, in support of the proposals to allow half a crown a day to the troopers in attendance on the sheriff at the assizes (3 Feb. 1662) and to ask the King to relax the observation of Lent because of a scarcity of fish (19 Feb. 1663). In the following December Pepys heard that he was very ill, and he died on 5 Feb. 1664, aged 27. He was buried at South Weald, the only member of the family to sit in Parliament.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Gillian Hampson / Geoffrey Jaggar

Notes

  • 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. n.s. i. 210.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1655-6, p. 162.
  • 3. Essex RO, Q/SR 393/57, 65, 103; assize rolls 35/101-3; C191/7/47, 59.
  • 4. VCH Essex (Harl. Soc. xiii), 533; Morant, Essex, i. 62; CSP Dom. 1654, p. 565; 1656-7, p. 183.
  • 5. Pepys Diary, 27 Mar. 1660; C142/463/160; CSP Dom. 1659-60, p. 431; HMC 5th Rep. 184; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 76; Adm. 1745, f. 29.
  • 6. CJ, viii. 252; Pepys Diary, 10