WEBB, Thomas Richmond (c.1663-1731), of the Middle Temple; St. George’s, Hanover Square, Mdx., and Rodbourne Cheney, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1663, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Edmund Richmond Webb* by his 1st w.; bro. of John Richmond Webb*. educ. M. Temple 1683, called 1689. m. (1) 31 Dec. 1690, Elizabeth (d. 1726), da. of Sir William Thompson, serjeant-at-law, of the Middle Temple, sis. of William Thompson III*, 4s. d.v.p. 4da. (2 d.v.p.); (2) 1727, Mary (d. 1731), da. of Lewis Dolman, MD, of Shaw, Berks., s.p. suc. fa. 1705.1
Clerk of the entries, alienations office by 1690–d.; solicitor to Prince George of Denmark by 1692–1708; serjeant-at-law 1705–d.2
Recorder, Devizes 1695–1707, 1708–d.; freeman 1695; commr. of sewers, Tower Hamlets 1712.3
Webb stood unsuccessfully for Wootton Bassett in 1690, when he was assisted by his father. He petitioned against John Wildman*, but was himself vulnerable to counter-charges of bribery and lost the decision of the House. Having been chosen recorder of Devizes in January 1695, he tried his luck there before the next election, treating the voters but ‘without much hopes’ and he eventually withdrew before the poll. As recorder he signed the Association in 1696. His uncle John Smith I* made him his secretary when appointed chancellor of the Exchequer in 1699, and in 1702 he came into Parliament for his father’s old borough of Cricklade. He is more likely than his father to have been the ‘Mr Webb’ named to a number of drafting committees in this Parliament. He was given a week’s leave of absence on 8 Jan. 1704. He was lobbied by Robert Harley* over the Tack, as were his father and younger brother, John Richmond Webb, and did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704.4
Webb was defeated twice in the 1705 election, at Cricklade and at Devizes, where his competitors outspent him. An outbreak of fierce party hostilities in the latter borough, however, strengthened his hand there, and at a by-election in December 1706 he was put up by the Tory faction and lost to a Whig by only ten votes. He was defeated again as the single Tory candidate in 1708, but in 1710 the Tories in Devizes turned the tables on their opponents, with the help of the Tory majority in the newly elected Commons. In addition to benefiting from the national fortunes of his party, Webb’s judicial expertise may have stood him well, for although he was noted as being ‘very seldom’ in Devizes after his being replaced as recorder, it was felt by Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) that his nomination might help forestall election riots in the volatile town. The rival claimants to the mayoralty, a Whig and a Tory, each made a return: the dispute was heard at the bar and the Tory return upheld. Differentiated from the other Webbs in the House by virtue of his legal rank, Webb engaged in a flurry of activity following the confirmation of his election. Most notably, and no doubt owing to his experiences at Devizes, he managed through the House a bill to speed up the legal processes in municipal election disputes and to determine the rights of officers in corporations, a process beginning on 9 Jan. 1711 and ending in May when he carried it to the Lords. In the interim he was given leave of absence for a month on 26 Feb. He was also named as a ‘worthy patriot’ who helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous ministry. However, a significant change occurred in his behaviour in the 1711–12 session, as he was one of the original Tory rebels voting for the ‘No Peace without Spain’ motion on 7 Dec. 1711. In the last session of the Parliament, he voted against the French commerce bill on 18 June 1713 as ‘whimsical’. In this he may have been intending to display his concern for the Devizes woollen interest, but if so it did him little good in the ensuing general election at which he lost the backing of the local Tory faction and, as the fifth candidate, trailed at the bottom of the poll. He was also badly defeated at Cricklade, where he received only three votes, but did assist in his brother John’s election at Ludgershall. It was in Ludgershall that he fought his last two elections, again unsuccessfully. He stood in 1715 with John but lost second place to another Tory, and in 1722 was the odd man out in a family contest, beaten by his brother and nephew.5
Webb made his will on 24 Aug. 1728. Possibly as a result of the 1722 election quarrel he overlooked his brother’s family in favour of a distant kinsman, Captain Richard Webb of London, who was given £2,000 from the sale of personal assets, together with all the real estate brought to Webb by his first wife. He also settled £1,000, raised from his first wife’s lands, on one of his two surviving daughters, while a further £2,000 was settled on two trustees, Thomas Cowper and Charles Ewer†, to be raised from his own property. His daughters were left the residue of his estate. Webb was recorded as having died ‘at his house in Wiltshire’ on 16 Nov. 1731, aged 68, but would appear not to have been buried, at Rodbourne Cheney, until some three months later.6
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: D. W. Hayton / Henry Lancaster
- 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. ser. 5, vii. 44; PCC 81 Bedford; H. I. Richmond, Richmond Fam. Recs. ii. 233.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 452; xxix. 140; Cal. Treas. Pprs. 1731–4, p. 357; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 542, 561.
- 3. Wilts. RO, Devizes bor. recs. G20/1/19, min. bk.; J. Waylen, Chron. Devizes, 163; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xli. 206; J. Waylen, Annals Devizes, 16; HMC Townshend, 212.
- 4. CJ, x. 522–3; Devizes bor. recs. G20/1/19, min. bk.; Add. 70018, ff. 69, 94; Luttrell, iv. 529.
- 5. HMC Portland, iv. 175–6, 616–17; Bath mss at Longleat House, Thynne pprs. 25, f. 428; Methuen mss at Corsham Court, Paul Methuen to Harley, 28 Oct. 1710; SRO, Montrose mss GD220/5/801/10, Mungo Graham* to Duke of Montrose, 16 Dec. 1710; Herts. RO, Panshanger mss DP F123, [Sunderland to William Cowper* 2 Dec. 1709]; Bull. IHR, xxxiii. 227–8; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 212.
- 6. Wilts. N. and Q. i. 214; Misc. Gen. et Her. 44; Hist. Cricklade ed. Thomson, 156.