HILL, Sir Roger (1642-1729), of Denham Place, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. 19 June 1642, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Roger Hill† of Poundisford, Som., baron of the Exchequer, being 1st s. by 2nd w. Abigail, da. of Brampton Gurdon† of Assington Hall, Suff. educ. Jesus, Camb. 1658; I. Temple 1658, called 1666. m. 11 July 1667, Abigail (d. 1737), da. of John Lockey of Holmshill, Herts., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1667; kntd. 18 July 1668.1
Gent. of privy chamber 1668–85; filazer for Mdx. in ct. of c.p. by 1671–bef.1679.2
Sheriff, Bucks. 1672–3.
Freeman, E. I. Co. 1679.3
Commr. taking subscriptions to S. Sea Co. 17114
Initially, Hill seems to have been marked out for a legal career, his father using his legal contacts to secure his entry into the Inner Temple. Although Hill was called to the bar, the death of his elder half-brother, William, in 1660 caused him to change his plans as he now became heir to the estate. He sold the manor of Poundisford and in 1670 purchased an estate at Denham. After litigation the purchase was completed in 1679 and Hill then rebuilt the house there between 1688 and 1701 at a cost of almost £5,600. He also evinced an interest in trade, holding £2,000 of East India stock in 1689 and at least £4,000 Bank stock in 1710. An Exclusionist under Charles II, he was placed on the Buckinghamshire commission of the peace at the Revolution, received the sacrament to qualify himself, but never took the oaths. There were reports that Hill had applied to Aylesbury in March 1691 to see if his candidature for the vacancy there was viable, but he did not stand. According to his diary Hill was removed from the commission of the peace in March 1693 for ‘doing my duty, viz. because at last Easter sessions I opposed Mr Thomas Wharton’s* turning out of Henry Munday from his place as master of the house of correction, unless he was proved guilty of those crimes which Mr Wharton accused him of’. Wharton was later to blame a different quarrel, with Hon. Henry Paget*, for his removal, citing Hill’s refusal to ‘humour him [Paget] in his tax at Iver [in Buckinghamshire] there being no reason for it’. Nevertheless, Hill remained estranged from the leading Whigs in the county during William III’s reign, which no doubt explains his lack of success in election contests. He was defeated for Buckinghamshire in two by-elections in 1696 and at the 1698 general election, and at Amersham in 1698 and November 1701.5
Restored to the commission of the peace at Queen Anne’s accession, Hill then took the oaths for the first time. He was returned for Wendover in 1702 with the support of Richard Hampden II*, his election being counted by Lord Spencer (Charles*) as a gain for the Whigs, but in November was unseated on petition. In February 1703 it was reported that there was ‘much discontent’ at Wendover at his having not yet settled his bills for the last election. On 30 Jan. 1705 he wrote to his electoral agent there:
I am sensible of the kindness of my friends in your town, and shall not willingly do that which shall occasion any regret among such; but . . . it is a melancholy thing to run into ruin for fear of being undone; no one knows yet how long it may be before a new Parliament shall be chosen, and when treatings are begun, to end them will disoblige more than not to begin.
Returned at the general election of that year, he was classed as a ‘Churchman’ and once more reckoned a gain by Spencer, now Earl of Sunderland. He voted for the Court candidate as Speaker on 25 Oct. 1705 and again supported the Court on 18 Feb. 1706 on the regency bill proceedings. Re-elected for Wendover in 1708, he was noted as a Whig in two lists from early 1708, and not surprisingly voted for naturalizing the Palatines and for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. Hill voted for the two Whig candidates in the county contest of 1710 and was himself returned again for Wendover. He was classed as a Whig in the ‘Hanover list’, and was listed as a Whig who voted on 18 June 1713 against the French commerce bill. Successful again in 1713, he voted against the expulsion of Richard Steele on 18 Mar. 1714. On both the Worsley list and on a list analysing MPs re-elected in 1715 he was classed as a Whig.6
Hill died on 29 Dec. 1729. His monument in Denham church testified to his ‘steady zeal for the Protestant religion and the rights and liberties of his country’, and ‘his strict justice and abhorrence of vice’, ending ‘in all respects he was a truly pious man’. Certainly, his quarrels with Wharton suggest a man of unbending principle, and others noted the £20 p.a. granted to Wendover to teach the poor of the parish to read and write. Indeed, his will written in 1701 allowed the customary benefaction to the poor, but the £20 in this case was to go to those ‘industrious and willing to work’. Denham was left to his son Roger, who died a few hours after his father.7
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley
- 1. Lipscomb, Bucks. iv. 456; A. M. W. Stirling, Ways of Yesterday, 30–31, 43–45; Le Neve’s Knights (Harl. Soc. viii), 217.
- 2. N. Carlisle, Gent. Privy Chamber, 179.
- 3. Cal. Ct. Mins. E.I. Co. ed. Sainsbury, xi. 323.
- 4. Pittis, Present Parl. 350.
- 5. Stirling, 31; VCH Bucks. iii. 258; Lipscomb, 445–6; Bucks. Recs. xvi. 193; xvii. 183; Add. 22185, f. 12; Egerton 3359; Bucks. RO, Hill diary; BL, Verney mss mic. 636/45, Sir Ralph Verney, 1st Bt.†, to John Verney* (later Ld. Fermanagh), 1 Mar. 1690[–1].
- 6. Bucks. RO, Earl of Buckinghamshire mss, D/MH39/2, John Welch to Hampden, 22 Feb. 1703; Way mss D/W/76/22, Hill to Joshua Young, 30 Jan. 1704[–5]; Bucks. Pollbk. 1710 (IHR), 9.
- 7. Lipscomb, 456; Bucks. Dissent and Parish Life 1669–1712 ed. Broad (Bucks. Rec. Soc. xxviii), 241; PCC 14 Bedford; Stirling, 44–45.