HUNGERFORD, Sir Edward (1632-1711), of Broadwater, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. 20 Oct. 1632, 1st s. of (Sir) Anthony Hungerford† of Farleigh Castle, Som. and Blackbourton, Oxon. by Rachel, da. of Rice Jones of Asthall, Oxon. educ. Queen’s, Oxf. 1649. m. (1) Dec. 1657 (with £4,000), Jane (d. 1664), da. and h. of Sir John Hele of Clifton Maybank, Dorset, and Wembury, Devon, 1s. (d.v.p.) 3da. (2 d.v.p.); (2) 3 Feb. 1666 (with £1,000), Jane (d. 1674), da. of Hugh Culme of Burlescombe, Devon, 2s. (1 d.v.p.); (3) by 1682, Jane (d. 1703), da. and h. of George Digby of Sandon, Staffs., wid. of Charles, 4th Baron Gerard of Gerard’s Bromley, Staffs. 1s. suc. fa. 1657; KB 23 Apr. 1661.1
Commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662.
Cttee. Hudson’s Bay Co. 1674–5.2
Hungerford accumulated a large number of properties, principally in Wiltshire but also in neighbouring counties, through inheritance and three astute marriages. In 1648 the ancient family seat of Farleigh Castle was reunited with the Blackbourton property upon the death of Sir Edward Hungerford†, the Parliamentarian colonel, who devolved his estates upon his half-brother, (Sir) Anthony Hungerford. These joint estates, worth some £4,000 p.a., were inherited by Hungerford at his father Sir Anthony’s death in 1657. In the same year Hungerford’s first marriage yielded a £4,000 portion as well as a number of manors in Devon and Dorset. These properties were gradually dissipated through Hungerford’s extravagant spending and addiction to gambling, which earned him the soubriquet ‘the spendthrift’. In 1665 he secured a private Act to enable him to sell his first wife’s Devon properties. A timely second marriage in the following year brought in £1,000 and additional estates also in that county. In the 1670s Hungerford incurred considerable debts to a number of lenders, in particular Sir Stephen Fox* to whom Hungerford was to owe £40,000 by 1683. Fox forced Hungerford to reduce the debt by obliging him to convey the freehold of a number of Wiltshire manors valued at £38,100. Within two years, however, the debt had risen to the same level, whereupon Hungerford was forced to sell Farleigh Castle, the family’s principal seat, as well as Hungerford market in the Strand, which he had developed in the early 1680s on the site of the former Hungerford House. His subsequent service in Parliament may have been motivated by the need to avoid creditors.3
Having lost his estates, and his political influence, in Wiltshire, Hungerford was returned on his own interest at Shoreham in 1690, where the remnant of his property was situated. Despite his previous Whiggery, he was classed as a Tory (perhaps in error for his namesake Sir George Hungerford*), and also as a Court supporter, by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). Again classed as a member of the Court party by Robert Harley* in April 1691, Hungerford was listed as a placeman by Grascome. He proved to be a comparatively inactive Member, and indeed seems often to have been absent. He stood again unsuccessfully in 1695, before changing over to the nearby borough of Steyning at the same election. Characteristically, Hungerford on two occasions appealed for parliamentary privilege: first, having been made an executor to Sir William Basset’s* will in September 1693, he was ordered to attend the House on 27 Dec. 1695 to respond to petitions that he had failed to satisfy debts and legacies. In the second instance, on 24 Feb. 1696, he tried to avoid returning £5,000 which he had realized from Sir John Pretyman’s† estate, sold by him without the consent of the latter’s principal debtors. Meanwhile, he had been classed as ‘doubtful’ in the forecast for the vote of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade and later signed the Association. He was not recorded on the lists relating to the price of guineas or Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder. Either he or his distant relation, George Hungerford*, may have intervened in a debate in the 1697–8 session, against a standing army, and he was included in a list of about September 1698 as a supporter of the Country party. Hungerford was not a candidate in the second general election of 1701 but was chosen again in 1702 after a contest. Considered a likely opponent of the Tack, he voted against it on 28 Nov. 1704. He was defeated at Steyning in 1705, and, perhaps due to his advanced age, did not stand again.4
Little has been ascertained of Hungerford’s last years before his death, in poverty, at Spring Gardens. He was buried on 8 July 1711 in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, where his family had long been resident. Of his surviving children from his first marriage, his daughter married Clotworthy Skeffington, Viscount Massereene, and his son, also Edward, married the daughter of George Compton, the 3rd Earl of Northampton. No will has been found to determine the extent of Hungerford’s remaining estate, but although most had been sold, his son by his third marriage was able to secure the Blackbourton property. Hungerford was remembered in a monument erected in 1682 at his London market, and, as a reminder of his profligacy, in the dedication to his son of William de Bretaine’s Human Prudence, or the Art by which a man may advance himself and his fortune and grandeur.5