BRADSHAIGH, Roger I (1628-84), of Haigh Hall, nr. Wigan, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 14 Jan. 1628, 3rd but 1st surv. s. of James Bradshaigh of Haigh by Anne, da. of Sir William Norris of Speke. m. 1647, Elizabeth, da. of William Pennington of Muncaster, Cumb., 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 3da. suc. gdfa. 1641; kntd. 18 June 1660; cr. Bt. 17 Nov. 1679.

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Lancs. Mar. 1660, j.p. July 1660-d., capt. of militia horse Aug. 1660-?78, dep. lt. c. Aug. 1660, 1662-76, bef. 1680-d,, commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80; mayor, Wigan 1661-2, 1680-1; freeman, Liverpool and Preston 1662; commr. for corporations, Lancs. 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, recusants 1675, sheriff 1678-9.1


Bradshaigh’s ancestors acquired Haigh by marriage at the end of the 13th century, and represented the county from the reign of Edward III. Bradshaigh was brought up as a Roman Catholic like most of his family, and became an Anglican ‘by his choice, not by his chance’ after his grandfather’s death left him a ward of the crown. The wardship was acquired by his cousin John Fleetwood (father of Edward Fleetwood) and William Radcliffe, of Manchester. During the Civil War Radcliffe, a Parliamentarian, took custody of Bradshaigh’s lands and was able to save them from depredations or sequestration, while Fleetwood, who was a Royalist, arranged for the boy to be sent to the safety of the Isle of Man to be educated in the firmly Anglican household of the 7th Earl of Derby. His marriage to a lady of ‘unshaken resolution’ provided an additional bulwark for his religion. He was imprisoned in Chester Castle for a short time early in 1651. The warning was salutary, for later that year he was a passive spectator of Lord Derby’s defeat at Wigan Lane on the confines of the Haigh estate, though he helped to care for the royalist wounded after the battle. During the Interregnum, Bradshaigh concentrated on improving the collieries on his estate by expensive draining operations and increasing the fertility of his land by liming. His name appears in the list of royalist supporters drawn up by Roger Whitley in 1658.2

Bradshaigh was elected to the Convention for Lancashire with the support of the 8th Earl of Derby. An inactive Member, he was named to only 12 committees. He was among those ordered to draft two declarations against recusants on 24 May, though he opposed their exclusion from the pardon bill, and in the debate on the poll-tax on 11 July 1660 he argued that if the Papists were to pay double, then the ‘fanatics’ should also. After the autumn recess he was added to the committee for the militia bill. He offended Lord Derby, who claimed that without the Stanley interest he would never have been elected, by putting forward Lord Gerard of Brandon for the lord lieutenancy of Lancashire. Nevertheless, he was re-elected in 1661, and was moderately active in the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was named to 174 committees, and acted as teller in eight divisions. In the 1661 session he was appointed to the committees for the corporations and uniformity bills, but he was not specially prominent in legislation aimed at the dissenters, though as a militia officer he was active locally against those suspected of disaffection. On 3 Dec. he was the only private Member ordered to accompany Privy Councillors in presenting an address to the King about attempts to disturb the public peace. On the other hand, he refused to accept the information of Edward Rigby against a Popish priest who sought to reclaim a ‘staggering’ convert. With his family background it is not surprising that he was later accused of crypto-Popery; but the recusant William Blundell wrote: ‘His own religion is such that he is no friend at all to ours, yet to me and all mine he hath ever been incomparably faithful and loving’.3

Bradshaigh took no part in the anti-government measures following the fall of Clarendon, though he served on the habeas corpus committee in 1668. He was noted as an independent supporter of the Court at this time, a friend of Ormonde and one of the country gentlemen who usually voted for supply. In the debate on the second conventicles bill in 1670 he was roused from his habitual silence on the floor of the House by the assertion of John Birch that the conventicles in the Manchester area were free from suspicion of sedition.

This made my modesty moved to speak and such instances as I had formerly observed and in my memory retained, I laid open to the House, with the necessity for a bill of restraint and what ways to meet with their subtle evasions.

Bradshaigh was among the Members to whom the bill was committed.4

Bradshaigh was named on the Paston list and received the government whip in 1675. In the autumn session he was appointed to three important committees, to consider the appropriation of customs, the growth of Popery and the liberty of the subject. His name appears on Danby’s working lists, and he was in touch with Sir Richard Wiseman over the Lancashire Members. He received a grant of £1,000 ‘in consideration of many loyal services’. In 1677 he was noted by Shaftesbury as ‘doubly vile.’5

In 1678 Bradshaigh acted as teller for reading the list of generals and their pay, and he served on the committee to inquire into the mistranslation of the Gazette. In November he was pricked sheriff of Lancashire, and a question of privilege was raised by the Opposition. Daniel Finch explained:

In these cases of York and Lancaster, the shrievalties are sought for as much as others are declined, for ... Lancaster is very valuable, and this last is usually disposed of by the chancellor of the duchy, to whom in gratitude they commonly make a present perhaps of a hundred guineas. But the chancellor being now out of favour at Court, and consequently not unacceptable to some Members of the House of Commons, perhaps for this reason Sir Roger obtained this shrievalty without the privity of Mr [sic] Robert Carr, as well as for that Sir Roger generally votes for the Court.

No resolution was voted before the dissolution. Bradshaigh’s appointment had two unexpected results. It debarred him from standing for the county in either of the two succeeding elections; but it also provided the Court with a returning officer determined to secure the election if possible of one loyal knight of the shire. A hostile account of the February election makes it clear that Bradshaigh acted with great skill as well as determination, and that it would have been difficult to prove any outright illegality. His baronetcy, however, was obtained for the benefit of and at the instance of his son, not as a reward for his own services. It was reported that he might stand again in 1681, but a local opponent of the Court wrote: ‘I presume Sir Roger will not, for that my lord of Derby [the 9th earl] will vigorously oppose him, there being an irreconcilable quarrel between them’. Bradshaigh died at Chester on 31 Mar. 1684 on a visit to his wife’s brother-in-law, Geoffrey Shakerley, and was buried at Wigan.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Irene Cassidy


This biography is based on A. J. Hawkes, Sir Roger Bradshaigh (Chetham Soc. n.s. cix).

  • 1. Lancs. RO, QSC 62-84; SP29/61/157; Croston, Lancs. iv. 236; J. A. Picton, Liverpool Mun. Recs. 240; Preston Guild Rolls (Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. ix), 140, 181.
  • 2. Rylands Lib. Mainwaring mss 24, f. 18.
  • 3. SP29/61/85; Bowman diary, f. 69; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 572; M. Blundell, Cavalier, 183.
  • 4. HMC Kenyon, 84-85; CJ, ix. 130.
  • 5. Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 109.
  • 6. CJ, ix. 439, 547,564; Finch diary, 25 Nov. 1678; Westmld. RO, 2150, 2378, Miles Dodding to Daniel Fleming, 30 Jan. 1681.