LOVELACE, Sir Richard (1568-1634), of Lady Place, Hurley, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1568, 1st s. of Richard Lovelace of Hurley and Anne, da. of Richard Ward†, cofferer of the Household by 1567, of Hurst, Berks. educ. Eton 1583; Merton, Oxf. 1584, aged 16; G. Inn 1607. m. (1) 5 Aug. 1600, Catherine, da. of George Gill of Wyddial, Herts., wid. of William Hyde (d.1598) of South Denchworth, Berks., s.p.; (2) 28 Apr. 1608, Margaret (d.1652), da. and h. of William Dodworth, Merchant Taylor, of London, 2s. 3da. kntd. 5 Aug. 1599; suc. fa. 1602; cr. Bar. Lovelace of Hurley, 30 May 1627. d. 22 Apr. 1634.1 sig. Richard Lovelace.

Offices Held

Gent. pens. by 1596-at least 1607; commr. trade 1622, 1625.2

Capt. of ft. 1599.3

Woodward, Windsor Forest, Berks. by 1601; kpr. Cranbourne Chase, Windsor Forest by 1605-at least 1622;4 j.p. Berks. 1601-d. (custos rot. 1621-d.);5 commr. oyer and terminer, Oxf. circ. 1602,6 charitable uses, Berks. 1607-at least 1612, 1618, 1626,7 subsidy, Berks. and Windsor 1608, 1622, 1624,8 sewers, Coln valley 1609,9 aid, Berks. 1609;10 sheriff, Berks. 1610-11, Oxon. 1626-June 1627;11 high steward, Windsor 1614-25, Maidenhead by 1623;12 commr. brewhouse survey, Berks. 1620;13 dep. lt. 1625-at least 1626;14 collector, Privy Seal loans, Berks. 1625-6,15 commr. Forced Loan 1626,16 martial law, Berks. 1626,17 knighthood fines 1630-at least 1632.18

Member, E.I. Co. 1610,19 Virg. Co. 1612.20


Lovelace’s grandfather, a man of obscure Berkshire origin, bought Hurley in 1545, and sat for Reading in 1554.21 His father apparently claimed kinship with the more distinguished Lovelaces of Kent, but the line of descent remains unproven. Lovelace is said to have ‘distinguished himself in the war against Spain’, although there may be some confusion here with his father, and was certainly knighted by Essex on service in Ireland.22 Arrested after the Essex rising, he was not only soon released but able to secure his return for Berkshire to the last Elizabethan Parliament with his stepson George Hyde.23 He attended the queen’s funeral as a gentleman pensioner.24

Lovelace’s relationship to the Hydes may have furthered his return for Abingdon to the first Jacobean Parliament, as may his sister’s marriage to the son of a former Member for the borough, Richard Beake.25 He played a modest role at Westminster, being named to 18 committees and making three known speeches. In the first session he was appointed to consider bills to prevent coppices from being turned into arable or pasture (28 Apr.) and to remove obstructions on navigable rivers (23 June). On 20 June 1604 he was one of those who spoke on the ‘Form of Apology’, but to what effect is not known.26 Early in the second session, on 22 Jan. 1606, he moved for a conference with the Lords before anything should be done about Thomas Wentworth I’s proposal for securing ‘an able, sufficient and resident ministry’.27 The House preferred to nominate a committee to consider the matter, but Lovelace’s speech was remembered by the authors of the ‘Parliament Fart’.28 He was instructed to attend the joint conference of 6 Feb. on the recusancy laws, and that of 11 Apr. on ecclesiastical grievances. He was named to committees for the revived rivers bill (7 Feb.), and for bills on legal fees (14 Feb.), customs extortions (15 Mar.), impositions (19 Mar.) and tippling-houses (3 Apr.), and he was added to the committee for the free trade bill (10 April).29 His only committees in the third session were to examine the complaints of the London merchants against ‘the cruelties and wrongs of the Spaniard’ (28 Feb. 1607), and to consider a bastardy bill (7 May).30 Following his marriage to the daughter of a London merchant ‘worth to him £50,000’, he secured a grant of two Nottinghamshire manors, and in January 1610 he succeeded to her stepfather’s adventure in, and freedom of, the East India Company.31 His three committees in the fourth session were for bills against disorders ‘among commoners, concerning their commons’ (19 Feb. 1610), purveyance (26 Feb.), and bastardy (16 May). On 22 Mar. 1610 he spoke ‘touching the matter of the common law’.32 He made no recorded impact on the poorly recorded fifth session.

In 1612 Lovelace made a modest investment of £25 in the Virginia Company. At about this time he arranged, with his wife and his mother-in-law, to purchase 800 acres of land in Kent for £6,000 from Sir John Kennedy, but withdrew, either because (in Kennedy’s version) he was ‘touched in conscience’ on finding that the property was worth more, or because he had heard that Kennedy was not a safe man with whom to do business.33 In 1614 he became high steward of Windsor and was returned there to the Addled Parliament, but left no mark of his presence in the House. In 1620 he was again chosen for the county, but played only a modest role during the 1621 Parliament, being named to just four bill committees. Two concerned private land bills, while the others were ‘for encouragement of works of charity in erecting hospitals and abiding and working places for the poor’ (14 Feb.) and to prevent the hunting for concealed lands (2 March). In addition, he was appointed to the joint conference of 16 Feb. on the petition against recusants, and on 26 Apr. was one of those appointed ‘to consider of the state of all the business of the House’.34 It may have been during this Parliament that he received a letter appealing to him as one ‘especially affected’ to the Church for help against Sabbath breaking by under-sheriffs and others.35

In 1622 Lovelace was summoned before the Privy Council to account for his failure to contribute to the Benevolence.36 Two years later he purchased the Oxfordshire manor of Water Eaton, and in 1625 he granted an annuity of £6 13s. 4d. to the vicar of Hurley for preaching a fortnightly sermon and another of 10 quarters of rye to the poor.37 Appointed a commissioner of the Forced Loan in the autumn of 1626 he, like many of his colleagues, failed to attend a meeting at Reading in the following December.38 In 1627 he paid a ‘round sum’ for a peerage.39 He made his will on 16 July 1633,40 in which he left his younger son £3,000 out of his East India Company funds. George Garrard* wrote of him that ‘though he was born but to £400 a year, yet he left to his only son aged near 20 near £7,000 a year’.41 He died on 22 Apr. 1634, and was buried at Hurley. His grandson sat for Berkshire in the Cavalier Parliament before succeeding to the peerage.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Ashmole, Berks. ii. 477; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 57; Berry, Herts. Genealogies, 58; Eton Coll. Reg. comp. W. Sterry, 218; GI Admiss.; Berks. RO, D/P 115B/1/1; LMA, St. John at Hackney par. reg.; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 97; CP.
  • 2. E407/1/34, 36-8; T. Rymer, Foedera, vii. pt. 4, p. 11; viii. pt. 1, p. 59.
  • 3. HMC Hatfield, ix. 145.
  • 4. E134/43 Eliz. East. 12; 134/20 Jas.I East. 5; CSP Dom. 1580-1625, p. 465; Harl. 3749, f. 4; Berks. RO, D/EN 012, no. 34.
  • 5. C66/1549; SP16/212; C231/4, f. 129.
  • 6. C181/1, f. 29.
  • 7. C93/3/13, 17; 93/4/11, 19; 93/5/4; 93/7/1, 12; 93/10/22.
  • 8. SP14/31/1; C212/22/21, 23.
  • 9. C181/2, f. 90.
  • 10. SP14/43/107.
  • 11. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 6.
  • 12. R.R. Tighe and J.E. Davis, Annals of Windsor, ii. 47; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 64.
  • 13. APC, 1619-21, p. 203.
  • 14. Add. Ch. 13613; APC, 1626, pp. 357, 365.
  • 15. E401/2586, p. 102; APC, 1626, p. 168.
  • 16. Rymer, viii. pt. 2, p. 144.
  • 17. Add. 21992, f. 86.
  • 18. E178/7154, ff. 318C, 320C; 178/5153, ff. 4, 8, 12.
  • 19. CSP Col. E.I. 1513-1616, p. 202.
  • 20. A. Brown, Genesis of US, 939.
  • 21. VCH Berks. iii. 155.
  • 22. Ashmole, ii. 477.
  • 23. HMC Hatfield, xi. 79, 97.
  • 24. LC2/4/4, f. 60.
  • 25. A.C. Baker, Historic Abingdon, 68.
  • 26. CJ, i. 189b, 243b, 245b.
  • 27. Bowyer Diary, 3.
  • 28. J. Mennes, Musarum Deliciae, 70.
  • 29. CJ, i. 263a, 265a, 268b, 285a, 287a, 292b, 296b.
  • 30. Ibid. 344b, 370b.
  • 31. Strafforde Letters (1739) ed. W. Knowler, i. 260; CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 512; CSP Col. 1513-1616, pp. 202-3.
  • 32. CJ, i. 396b, 400a, 413b, 429a.
  • 33. C78/198/5, 7.
  • 34. CJ, i. 521a, 522b, 534b, 556b, 592b, 600b.
  • 35. Lansd. 498, ff. 61-4v.
  • 36. SP14/127/46.
  • 37. VCH Oxon. xii. 192; VCH Berks. iii. 158.
  • 38. SP16/40/39.
  • 39. Holles Letters ed. P.R. Seddon (Thoroton Soc. Rec. Ser. xxxv), 353.
  • 40. PROB 11/166, f. 39.
  • 41. Strafforde Letters, i. 260.