HEYSHAM, Robert (1663-1723), of Stagenhoe, Herts.
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Family and Education
bap. 16 Aug. 1663, 2nd s. of Giles Heysham of Lancaster by Elizabeth, da. of Robert Thornton of Oxcliffe, nr. Lancaster; bro. of William Heysham. m. (1) Mary, da. and coh. of Edmund Thornton, draper, of London and Stagenhoe, Herts., s.p.; (2) her sis. Jane, da. and coh. of Edmund Thornton, 1s. 1da.
Alderman, London 1720; draper 1720-d.; master, Drapers’ Co. 1720-1; pres. Christ’s Hospital 1721-d.
Born in Lancaster, Heysham came to London, where he became an eminent Barbados merchant, trading in partnership with his brother William. From 1700 to 1704 he acted as agent for the colony, on which he was frequently consulted by the board of Trade. Originally a Hanoverian Tory, he was returned for London as a Whig in 1715, but voted consistently with the Opposition. He was chairman of a committee of the House of Commons on woollen manufactures in 1715; spoke against the septennial bill in 1716; moved an address to the King against the embargo on trade with Sweden on 27 Feb. 1718; and opposed the Address on 11 Nov. 1718. In that year he was chairman of a committee on the continuance of expiring laws, and in 1719 of one to bring in a bill for preventing frauds by bankrupts.1 On 1 June 1721 he carried a motion for allowing Col. Raymond, one of the South Sea directors, £30,000 out of his estate, and on 13 Dec. following he spoke in favour of a petition for a Quaker affirmation bill. Unsuccessful in 1722, he died 25 Feb. 1723, described as ‘a very great benefactor’ to his native town and ‘generous to all without partiality in respect to religious profession’.2