RIDER, Thomas (1765-1847), of Boughton Monchelsea Place, nr. Maidstone, Kent
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Family and Education
b. 20 Aug. 1765, 1st s. of Ingram Rider of Leeds, Yorks. and Margaret, da. of Ralph Carr of Cocken Hall, co. Dur.1 educ. Charterhouse 1776; Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1783. m. 13 Dec. 1808, Mary Ann Elizabeth Pinnock,2 s.p. suc. fa. 1805. d. 6 Aug. 1847.
Sheriff, Kent 1829-30.
The Riders of Essex, who had originally made their fortune in the City in Tudor times, acquired Boughton Monchelsea Place in 1685, on the marriage of Thomas Rider (d. 1698) to Philadelphia Barnham. He was succeeded by Sir Barnham Rider (d. 1728), whose son, Sir Thomas, willed the estate to his cousin Ingram, son of Sir Barnham’s youngest brother, William, in 1785. Ingram is listed in the International Genealogical Index as having married an Ann Carr at Headingley, Leeds, 27 Feb. 1758. However, although no record of a subsequent marriage to Margaret Carr has been found, she is named by Hasted, the historian of Kent, as the mother of his large family. Ingram died, aged 72, 12 Oct. 1805, and by his will, dated 4 May 1804, he bequeathed his Kentish estates to his eldest son, and appointed his wife Margaret as the residuary legatee of his personal wealth, which was sworn under £10,000. Rider, who had been an exhibitioner at Charterhouse and had taken his degree in 1787, rebuilt the south range of the house in 1819 and made improvements to the park.3
In 1831 it was said that Rider had been active at county elections for 30 years.4 He was almost certainly the ‘Mr. Ryder’ who seconded the nomination of the independent, Sir William Geary†, for Kent at the general election of 1812, when he also praised the patriotic and reformist views of the retiring Member, William Honywood.5 He spoke in favour of the adoption of pro-reform candidates at the general election of 1818 and seconded the candidacy of the Whig, William Philip Honywood*, in 1820.6 He was one of the Whigs who signed the requisition for a county meeting on the Queen Caroline affair, presumably after Lord Thanet had asked Lord Holland to forward it to him, 5 Dec. 1820. It was refused, but at the informal gathering, 18 Jan. 1821, Rider moved a petition complaining of agricultural distress.7 He seconded the adoption of another such petition at a county meeting, 11 June 1822, when he argued that the problem was caused not only by the alteration of the currency and excessive taxation, but also by the lack of a reform in Parliament, which would make it more attentive to the needs of the people. He again seconded the nomination of Honywood at the general election of 1826.8 He sat among the pro-Catholics at the stormy county meeting on emancipation, 24 Oct. 1828, and was named as a steward for the anti-Brunswick dinner on 22 Dec. 1828.9 In proposing Thomas Law Hodges at the general election of 1830, he explained why Honywood had withdrawn and made an aggressive plea for further economies and various measures of reform, including triennial parliaments.10 He was one of the magistrates involved in attempts to quell the ‘Swing’ riots in the autumn of 1830.11 He chaired a reform meeting at Sittingbourne, 25 Feb. 1831, and his petition in its favour, on behalf of the freeholders of Kent, was presented to the House by Hodges the following day. In advocating reform at a county meeting, 24 Mar., he argued against retaining rotten boroughs on practical grounds or elevating ancient wisdom above human intellect, and stated that the Commons was
intended to describe the third estate of the realm, elected by and from amongst the people; that any nomination by individuals or by the aristocracy in that House is an abuse not to be tolerated, and is one great cause of what we have suffered and are suffering.12
Before the dissolution in 1831 it was rumoured that Rider had been approached by the reformers of west Kent and might stand at the general election.13 He agreed to come forward in an address, 26 Apr., though not to incur the ruinous expense of a contest against the sitting Member, Sir Edward Knatchbull, an Ultra. He united his cause with Hodges and together they conducted a successful canvass: for instance, at a meeting in Canterbury, 30 Apr., when he declared that
he had no ambition to go into Parliament, but having attended a meeting at Sittingbourne [on 26 Apr.], and finding no one disposed to step forward in the cause of reform, he had done so. His friends had proposed to return him free of expense and so long as they desired, so long would he remain, even till the last man was polled.14
Knatchbull’s withdrawal assured Rider’s success and, on the hustings, 11 May, he noted that although the Grey ministry’s reform bill was not perfect
he took it as a definite measure, in preference to the vague and undefined which he had heard of only in words, but had never seen in practice. He took it as emanating from men of talent, of tried consistency and as sanctioned by a patriot king.
He was duly elected unopposed and without expense. He again advocated reform at dinners in Rochester and Cranbrook, 8, 10 June 1831.15 He declined the corporation of Rochester’s offer to make him an honorary freeman, on the grounds that his oath would require him to defend the privileges of the city generally and the rights of non-resident freemen in particular, which would conflict with his promise to support the reform bill. He was, however, admitted late the following year.16
Rider made no known speeches in the House in this period. He voted for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July 1831, at least twice against adjourning debate on it, 12 July, and fairly steadily for its details in committee. He voted against ministers on the division of counties, 11 Aug.; like Hodges, whose conduct he probably imitated, for Lord Chandos’s amendment to enfranchise £50 tenants-at-will, 18 Aug.; and for the total disfranchisement of Aldborough, 14 Sept., when they had decided to leave it with one seat. He divided with them on the Dublin election, 23 Aug., and for the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept. He voted for Hume’s amendment to postpone the grant for the improvements to Windsor Castle and Buckingham House, 28 Sept. He signed the requisition for a county meeting on 30 Sept., when he again advocated reform and lower taxation.17 He divided for Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. He voted for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, to go into committee on it, 20 Jan. 1832, and again for many of its details. At a meeting in Maidstone, 5 Jan., he supported reduction of the malt duties and in the House he divided against the production of information on Portugal, 9 Feb.18 Recommending him for a place on any government commission on his area of specialist interest, 19 Jan., Thomas Hyde Villiers* described him as ‘an able writer and witness upon the poor laws, with ample magisterial connections’.19 He divided for the reform bill’s third reading, 22 Mar., Ebrington’s motion for an address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry it unimpaired, 10 May, and against increasing the county representation of Scotland, 1 June, but he voted against government on the boundaries of Whitehaven and Stamford, 22 June. Following a dispute over the management of Rochester bridge, Rider, who had previously served as assistant, 1822-7, and junior warden, 1824, was elected as its senior warden, 4 May 1832.20 He was in the minorities in favour of appointing a select committee on colonial slavery, 24 May, and establishing permanent provision for the Irish poor by a tax on absentees, 19 June, but he was in the majority for opening coroners’ inquests to the public, 20 June. He voted for the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 20 July, and paired in its favour, 12, 16 July. He erected a commemorative cartouche in the entrance hall at Boughton Monchelsea to celebrate the success of reform. At a series of dinners in Kent late that summer he spoke in its praise, defended his conduct against his Tory critics and advocated further reductions in taxes and tithes.21 He had promised to stand again whenever there was a general election, and he was duly returned in December 1832 for Kent West as a reformer who favoured the ballot, revision of the corn laws and the abolition of slavery.22 He was defeated in contests for Kent West in 1835 and Kent East in 1837, and never sat again. He died in August 1847, his estate passing to his nephew, Thomas Rider (b. 1817), one of the sons of his brother, the Rev. Ralph Carr Rider, curate of Kentisbeer, Devon, and rector of Stoke, Kent.23