MARKES, Richard (1671-1704), of Westbury, nr. Petersfield, Hants.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
bap. 3 Aug. 1671, o. s. of Richard Markes of Portsmouth, Hants by his w. Anne. m. lic. 17 Apr. 1693, Mary Randall of Petersfield, 3s. 2da. 1 other ch. suc. fa. 1675.1
Clerk of the rope yard, Portsmouth c.1691–?93; freeman, Portsmouth 1702.2
Markes’s father, a former seaman, owned one house in Portsmouth and leased another, and was probably in business hiring out boats and hoys for lading. In about 1691 Markes himself was appointed to an office in the Portsmouth dockyard, temporarily vacant while allegations of corruption against its previous occupant and several other officials were investigated. All were cleared some years later. In 1694 he bought the manor of Westbury for £4,000 from Richard Holt, one of the sitting Members for Petersfield. He was again linked with the dockyard in March 1695 when a Richard Crosfield, presenting a petition to the Lords concerning abuses in the naval administration, named him as one who could give evidence of frauds at Portsmouth.3
After his election in February 1701, Markes appears to have continued his concern with the problem of corruption at Portsmouth dockyard, being first-named to a committee on 28 Mar. to inspect the behaviour of Edward Whitaker, solicitor to the Admiralty, who was suspected of covering up abuses in the Portsmouth dockyard and elsewhere in the years from 1691 to 1700 when Markes had been serving as one of the port’s officials. Markes delivered a lengthy report from the committee on 11 June 1701 damning Whitaker for ‘diverse ill practices, corruptions and breaches of trust’, and the attorney-general was ordered to commence prosecution proceedings.
Returned again for Petersfield in December 1701, Markes was classed as a Tory in Robert Harley’s* list of the new Parliament. On 6 Jan. 1702 he was appointed to the drafting committee for the bill for taking public accounts and, rather surprisingly, acted as a teller on the Whig side on 29 Jan. in favour of an adjournment during the debate on the conduct of the Earl of Peterborough in the Malmesbury election case. In the 1702 Parliament, to which he was returned unopposed, Markes continued to take an active part in the Whitaker affair, being named on 12 Jan. 1703 to the drafting committee for a bill to oblige him to account for all money received by him from the treasurer of the navy, presenting the bill on 3 Feb., chairing the committee of the whole on the 8th, and reporting on the 10th. On 22 Nov. he defaulted on a call of the House and was ordered to appear within three weeks, but his absence was probably due to serious illness since he died in January 1704. In his will he left £1,000 to his wife, £500 to his eldest son in addition to the portion already settled on him, and £1,000 apiece to his other five children. The will caused his widow considerable difficulty and she petitioned both the Commons (1 Jan. 1707) and Lords (29 Jan. 1707) for permission to sell the real estate, but no action resulted and Westbury was not sold until 1722.4