BRIGGS, Sir Humphrey, 4th Bt. (c.1670-1734), of Haughton, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. c.1670, 1st s. of Sir Humphrey Briggs, 3rd Bt., of Haughton and Ernstrey Park, nr. Diddlebury, Salop by Barbara, da. of Sir Wadham Wyndham of Norrington, Wilts., j. Kb. educ. Wadham, Oxf. matric. 2 July 1687, aged 17; L. Inn 1687. unm. suc. fa. as 4th Bt. 31 Jan. 1700.1
Freeman, Much Wenlock 1708.2
Briggs was descended from a family which had come to Shropshire in the mid-16th century, and his grandfather had sat for Much Wenlock from 1646 until 1648. A staunch Whig, he was returned unopposed for Shropshire in January 1701, and was included in the county lieutenancy in March. Having been defeated at the next election, when he stood for the county with Richard Corbet* against two Tories, he was considered for a recommendation by the Howard interest at a by-election for Castle Rising in February 1702, but had to wait until the general election of that year to be returned again on the Whitmore interest at Bridgnorth. On 13 Feb. 1703 he voted for agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration, and he acted as a teller on 7 Mar. 1704 against a Tory motion to recommit the bill for recruiting. Forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, he figured on Robert Harley’s* lobbying list and voted against the measure or was absent on 28 Nov. 1704. Chosen again in 1705 after an election in which his opposition to the Tack may have been of advantage to him, he was classed as a ‘Churchman’ in a list of the new Parliament. He voted for John Smith I* in the election of a Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705, supported the Court over the regency bill on 18 Feb. 1706 and was listed as both a Whig and a Tory, the latter classification clearly a mistake, in early 1708. On 7 Jan. 1708 he was given leave to go into the country for a month. He supported the measures of the Whig administration, voting for the naturalization of the Palatines in 1709 and subsequently for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, an action which may have damaged his prospects for re-election, for in 1710 he and the other Whig Member for Bridgnorth, William Whitmore, were narrowly defeated by two Tories in a fierce contest dominated by the issue of the impeachment.3
Returning to England just before the Queen’s death in 1714, Briggs wrote soon afterwards to a French correspondent that he was comforted to find the country well disposed towards King George, and that he hoped the King would soon see through the claim of the Tories always to have been supporters of the Hanoverian succession. He also confided that he had taken a decision not to seek re-election to Parliament, and was not returned in 1715. The following year, however, he came in at a by-election at Much Wenlock. Briggs died on 8 Dec. 1734 and was succeeded by his brother.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Post Boy, 3–6 Feb. 1700.
- 2. Salop RO, Forester mss, copy of Much Wenlock corp. bk.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1700–2, p. 249; Bradford mss at Weston Park, John Bridgeman to Sir John Bridgeman, 29 Nov. 1701; Norf. RO, Howard (Castle Rising) mss, Robert Walpole II* to Lady Diana Howard, 11 Jan. 1702; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 38.
- 4. Add. 39167, f. 122.