RICH, Robert, Lord Rich (1611-1659), of Warwick House, Holborn, Mdx. and Leighs Priory, Essex; later of Rochford Hall, Essex

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



6 Jan. 1629
1640 (Nov.) - 26 Jan. 1641

Family and Education

b. 28 June 1611,1 1st s. of Sir Robert Rich*, 2nd earl of Warwick and Frances, da. of Sir William Hatton alias Newport† of Holdenby, Northants. educ. G. Inn 1619; Emmanuel, Camb. 1626, MA 1629, DCL (Oxf.) 1642;2 travelled abroad (France) 1632.3 m. (1) 9 May 1632,4 (with £11,000 or £12,000),5 Anne (d. 24 Aug. 1638),6 da. of Sir William Cavendish I*, 2nd earl of Devonshire, 1s. d.v.p.;7 (2) 1 Oct. 1645, Anne (d. aft. 1652 but bef. 1659), da. of Sir Thomas Cheke* of Pirgo, Essex,8 wid. of Richard Rogers† (d.1643) of Bryanston, Dorset, 3da.9 styled Lord Rich 1619-41; cr. KB 1 Feb. 1626;10 summ. to Lords in fa.’s barony 26 Jan. 1641;11 suc. fa. as 3rd earl of Warwick 1658. d. 29 May 1659.12 sig. Ro[bert] Riche.

Offices Held

Member, New Eng. Co. by 1632.13

Gent. Privy Chamber extraordinary, 1635-at least 1641.14

Commr. subsidy, Essex 1641, Irish aid 1642,15 array 1642.16


A source of disappointment to his father, both for his impecunious habits and Civil War allegiance, Rich spent the greater part of his adult life anticipating his inheritance. Born in 1611 at Hackney, Middlesex, where he was also baptized, he was nominally enrolled at Gray’s Inn in August 1619 at the tender age of eight following his father’s succession to the earldom of Warwick. After being created a knight of the Bath at Charles I’s coronation, Rich was admitted to his father’s former college of Emmanuel, Cambridge, where he was awarded an MA. In January 1629, aged 17, he was returned to the third Caroline Parliament for Essex on Warwick’s interest at a by-election following the death of Sir Francis Barrington. Soon after taking his seat he and 11 other Members were appointed to take a message to the king concerning Charles’s request to expedite the Tunnage and Poundage bill (31 Jan.), but this was his only committee nomination.17

Rich probably toured the Continent during the early 1630s, as he returned to England from Paris with news from the French Court in February 1632.18 In the following May he married Lady Anne Cavendish, daughter of the countess of Devonshire, securing a dowry of around £12,000, an annual allowance of £1,500 from his father and the ownership of Rochford Hall, Essex.19 Despite the generosity of this settlement Rich was soon mired in debt, and in August 1634 he was arrested at gunpoint by the bailiff of Middlesex at the instigation of a creditor while leaving the Fortune playhouse. Despite Lady Anne’s pleadings, Warwick refused to pay the £1,500 owed by Rich, whose release was only secured by the intervention of his mother-in-law.20 In the following year Rich was appointed a gentleman of the Privy Chamber extraordinary, a position which afforded him freedom from arrest for debt. No such immunity was enjoyed by his sureties, however, and in 1640 Rich employed force to prevent one of them from being seized.21

Elected to Parliament for Essex for a second time in October 1640, Rich was summoned to the Lords in January 1641, but was impeached in the following year for joining the king at York.22 Pardoned by Charles at Oxford, where he sat in the royalist Parliament, Rich defected to the king’s enemies after Marston Moor but was held under virtual house arrest in Essex and fined as a delinquent.23 Following his father’s intervention his fine was remitted, which was fortunate as by the early 1650s his debts had mounted to £10,000. So incapable was Rich of managing his own affairs that Warwick appointed trustees to satisfy his creditors and ordered his executors to manage his son’s estate ‘when it shall come unto him’.24 Warwick’s executors were not required to perform this onerous duty for long, however, as Rich, who had been in poor health for some time, fell gravely ill within days of his father’s death in April 1658.25 He died intestate in May 1659 and was interred in the family vault at Felsted, Essex on 9 June.26 The earldom of Warwick, which he held for just 13 months, descended to his younger brother Charles†, his only son Robert having predeceased him.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. D. Lysons, Environs of London, ii. 484.
  • 2. GI Admiss.; Al. Cant.
  • 3. C115/106/8392.
  • 4. The marriage date is given as 9 Apr. in CP, but there is clearly a scribal error in the parish register as the marriage date follows an entry dated 28 Apr. (J.G. Taylor, Our Lady of Batersey, 214). The error is confirmed by a newsletter writer, who reported on 18 May that Rich had married the previous week: C115/106/8404.
  • 5. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, ii. 170; C115/106/8393.
  • 6. J. Gauden, Funerals made Cordials (London, 1658), p. 123.
  • 7. Her. et Gen. v. 448.
  • 8. HMC 7th Rep. 454; M. Keeler, Long Parl. 326.
  • 9. CSP Dom. 1651-2, p. 15; Bp. of London Mar. Lics. 1611-1828 ed. G.J. Armytage (Harl. Soc. xxvi), 299; Allegations for Mar. Lics. issued by Dean and Chapter of Westminster 1558-1699 ed. G.J. Armytage (Harl. Soc. xiii), 229.
  • 10. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 160.
  • 11. LJ, iv. 145b.
  • 12. Leics. RO, DG7/2/1/20, p. 11; F. Chancellor, Ancient Sepulchral Monuments of Essex, 140. However, CP gives the date of death as 30 May, on the strength of the claim made in Autobiog. of Mary, Countess of Warwick ed. T. Crofton Croker, 27.
  • 13. Procs. of American Antiq. Soc. (1867), p. 107.
  • 14. LC5/134, p. 58; LC3/1, unfol.
  • 15. SR, v. 62, 141.
  • 16. Northants. RO, FH133.
  • 17. CJ, i. 925b.
  • 18. Barrington Letters ed. A. Searle (Cam. Soc. ser. 4. xxviii), 218 (letter mis-dated by editor).
  • 19. P. Benton, Hist. Rochford Hundred, 825. For his wife’s jointure arrangements, see Leics. RO, DG7/2/1/6-7.
  • 20. C115/106/8430.
  • 21. CCC, 1729-30.
  • 22. LJ, v. 141a, 223a; CSP Dom. 1641-3, pp. 344, 358.
  • 23. Docquets of Letters Patent 1642-6 ed. W.H. Black, 226; Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, v. 562, 573; LJ, vi. 644a, 647a.
  • 24. Add. 46190, f. 20; Add. ch. 71793; PROB 11/276, ff. 244v-5.
  • 25. Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell ed. R. Vaughan, ii. 458. For evidence of earlier illness, see CCC, 1729; HMC Astley, 21.
  • 26. Chancellor, 140.