ALDWORTH, Robert (c.1624-76), of Broad Street, Bristol and Lincoln's Inn.
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Family and Education
b. c.1624, 1st s. of Richard Aldworth of Bristol by Mary, da. of John Doughtie† of Bristol. educ. Lincoln, Oxf. matric. 6 July 1638, aged 14; L. Inn 1640, called 1647, bencher 1670. m. 23 Sept. 1652, Dorothy, da. of Thomas Hooke, merchant, of Bristol, 1s. 4da. suc. fa. 1655.1
Commr. for execution of ordinances, Bristol 1644, assessment 1644-52, 1657, Jan. 1660-1, 1673-4, freeman 1645, town clerk 1653-d., member, soc. of merchant venturers 1654; recorder, Devizes by 1654-61; commr. for scandalous ministers, Som. 1654, security 1656; j.p. Som. 1656-Mar. 1660, Glos. 1657-Mar. 1660; commr. for militia, Bristol 1659, Mar. 1660, col. of militia by 1658-?Feb. 1660; reader, L. Inn 1671, treas. 1673-4.2
Commr. for obstructions 1649-51, 1652-?8, prohibition of tobacco planting 1652; trustee for disafforestation 1653; judge of poor prisoners 1654.
Aldworth’s father, a Bristol merchant, was a leading member of the Puritan group there and represented the city as a recruiter and a conformist Rumper from 1646 to 1653. Aldworth was a lawyer and a Cromwellian, active in the disposal of crown and church lands. He presumably opposed the Restoration, deploring the return of the secluded Members in 1660. His views made him unacceptable at Bristol in the ensuing general election; but as recorder of Devizes he enjoyed enough interest to secure his return by the mayor. Though challenged by John Norden, he was allowed to take his seat, and the election was upheld on 31 July. Doubtless he voted with the Opposition, but he was an inactive Member of the Convention, making no recorded speeches and serving on only three committees, those for preserving timber in the Forest of Dean, for the Earl of Cleveland’s estate bill and for the prevention of swearing. On 19 Oct. he obtained a letter from the King to the Bristol corporation requesting his retention as town clerk. He probably did not stand in 1661, and was dismissed as recorder of Devizes even before the Corporations Act was passed, while Bishops Cannings rectory, which had provided his original link with the neighbourhood, had already passed into the hands of Secretary Nicholas. Repeated efforts were made to remove Aldworth as town clerk of Bristol; but he was protected by royalist kinsmen such as his brother-in-law Sir Humphrey Hooke, and it is not certain that he conformed even to the extent of taking the oaths. He died on 20 Mar. 1676, unlamented by ‘the good Church and King men’, who considered him ‘leaning to the nonconformist interest’, and was buried at All Saints, Bristol.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: M. W. Helms / John. P. Ferris
- 1. Deposition Bks. (Bristol Rec. Soc. vi), 243-5; (xiii), 201; PCC 15 Scroope; F. W. Todd, Humphrey Hooke of Bristol, 50.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 224; Merchant Venturers (Bristol Rec. Soc. xvii), 77; H. Bull, Hist. Devizes, 284; Devizes Bor. Annals ed. Cunnington, i. 133; J. Latimer, Annals of Bristol, 281; HMC Popham, 145.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1657-8, p. 320; 1660-1, p. 569; 1661-2, pp. 148, 224, 535; 1663-4, pp. 427-8; 1676-7, p. 31; HMC Popham, 160; Bull, 303; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xli. 107; VCH Wilts. vii. 189.