TUFTON, Richard (c.1585-1631), of Shorne, Kent; Lincoln's Inn, London and Tothill Street, Westminster.

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.1585, 3rd s. of Sir John Tufton, 1st bt. (d.1624), of Hothfield, Kent and his 2nd w. Christian, da. and coh. of Sir Humphrey Browne of Ridley Hall, Terling, Essex; bro. of Sir Humphrey† and Nicholas.* educ. Univ. Coll., Oxf. 1598, aged 13; L. Inn 1602, called 1610. m. by 1616, with £3,000, Chrysogon, da. and coh. of Herbert Morley† of Glynde, Suss., 1s. 2da.1 bur. 6 Oct. 1631.2

Offices Held

?Freeman, Rye, Suss. 1628;3 j.p. Kent 1629-d.4


Tufton shared chambers at Lincoln’s Inn with William Noye*, and qualified as a barrister in 1610. He was elected for Grantham in 1614 on the interest of the 1st earl of Exeter (Thomas Cecil†), whose daughter had married his eldest brother. He left no trace on the records of the Addled Parliament, and gave up his legal practice two years later, probably on his marriage.5 He and his second brother Sir Humphrey married sisters, thereby acquiring a contingent interest in an East Sussex estate. During his father’s lifetime he received ‘£3,600 in money and inheritance of land’.6

Tufton next sought election to Parliament in 1624, when he solicited a burgess-ship at Rye, a small port town lying close to his family’s ancestral seat at Northiam. In an undated letter addressed to the mayor, Mark Thomas, he desired that the jurats be informed ‘how much I do desire to do them service’. He also promised that he would do his best ‘to advance the good of the town’ and ‘preserve their privileges’.7 However, unlike his elder brother Sir Nicholas, who successfully contested the senior knighthood for Kent, he proved unsuccessful. Tufton seems not to have tried again at Rye before 1628, when he appears to have been assisted by his brother, now Lord Tufton. Sometime during the mayoralty of John Sharp (1627-8) the latter wrote to the town reminding it of the benefits that it had received from three generations of Tuftons, and informing it that he had decided to help to improve the road between Rye and Sandhurst - a vital economic artery for the port - out of his own resources.8 Why Lord Tufton should have intervened to secure a seat for his brother at this juncture is unclear, but he may have been anxious that his part in collecting the Forced Loan left him exposed to some danger of reprisals in the Commons, in particular from Sir Dudley Digges*. However, after taking his seat, Richard Tufton left no trace on the Commons’ records other than being added to the committee for the Medway navigation bill on 19 May.9

Tufton made out his will on 20 Sept. 1631, leaving his wife £400 p.a. as long as she remained a widow, and providing portions of £700 and £500 for his two daughters. He appointed his brother Sir Humphrey and his cousin Sir Edward Bishopp* executors, and left all his books to his ‘loving chamber-fellow’ Noye, desiring him to act as overseer.10 He was buried on 6 Oct. in Westminster Abbey.11 It was presumably one of his younger brothers who was fined £100 in Star Chamber in 1632 for helping to circulate some scandalous verses, libelling the puritans on the Rye corporation.12 His grandson Richard, the last of the Westminster branch, stood unsuccessfully for the City as a Tory in 1681.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Peter Lefevre / Andrew Thrush


  • 1. Vis. Kent (Harl. Soc. xlii), 119; Al. Ox.; LI Black Bks. ii. 131; Glynde Place Archives ed. R.F. Dell, 29.
  • 2. Regs. Westminster Abbey (Harl. Soc. x), 129.
  • 3. E. Suss. RO, RYE 1/11, f. 197v.
  • 4. C231/5, f. 11; Cal. Assize Recs., Kent Indictments, Chas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 147.
  • 5. LI Black Bks. ii. 189-90.
  • 6. PROB 11/143, f. 224v.
  • 7. E. Suss. RO, RYE 47/99.
  • 8. E. Suss. RO, RYE 47/109/31. We are grateful to Christopher Whittick for drawing this letter and its likely importance to our attention.
  • 9. CD 1628, iii. 463.
  • 10. PROB 11/160, f. 318.
  • 11. Regs. Westminster Abbey (Harl. Soc. x), 129.
  • 12. Historical Collections ed. J. Rushworth, iii. app. 47.