BRIDGEMAN, Orlando (1649-1701), of Little Park Street, Coventry, Warws.
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Family and Education
bap. 9 Dec. 1649, 2nd s. of Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Bt., ld. keeper 1667-72, of Great Lever, Lancs., being 1st s. by 2nd w. Dorothy, da. of John Saunders, DD, provost of Oriel, Oxf., wid. of George Cradock of Cavershall Castle, Staffs. educ. Westminster 1662; Magdalene, Camb. 1664; I. Temple, entered 1658, called 1669. m. 8 May 1670, Mary (d. 8 June 1701), da. of Sir Thomas Cave, 1st Bt., of Stanford Hall, Northants., 1s. 2da. cr. Bt. 12 Nov. 1673.1
Commr. for assessment, Warws. 1673-80, Coventry 1677-9, recusants, Suss. 1675.
Bridgeman’s grandfather, of Devonshire origin, became bishop of Chester in 1619, but the best-known member of the family was his father, an eminent lawyer who represented Wigan in both the Short and Long Parliaments, sitting at Oxford in 1644. His fine as a royalist delinquent was fixed on the Oxford articles at £2,246 7s. 2d. Forbidden to practise in the courts during the Interregnum, he specialized in conveyancing, and is credited with devising the strict settlement. At the Restoration he became lord chief baron, in which capacity he presided over the trial of the regicides, and on the fall of Clarendon he was promoted lord keeper. In this capacity he took a leading part in the negotiations for religious comprehension in 1668.2
Although Bridgeman himself was called to the bar, his father deplored his disinclination for legal studies and there is no indication that he ever practised. He was still under age when he was returned at a by-election for Horsham in 1669. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to 16 committees, but is not recorded as having spoken. On 30 Oct. he was named to the committee to consider the petition from the excise farmers. He probably brought in a petition from his old college five days later, since he was the first Member appointed to the committee. He was named to eight other committees during the session, including those to receive information about conventicles, to take accounts of the loyal and indigent officers’ fund, and to consider a bill to prevent abuses in elections. He was reckoned among the court supporters by the Opposition, who alleged that his mother had promised his vote to the Court. In the next session he was added to the committee of elections and privileges and appointed to four others of minor importance. His father was dismissed in November 1672 because of his objections to the Stop of the Exchequer, the Declaration of Indulgence and the commissions of martial law, and Bridgeman’s only remaining committee was the elections committee in the next session. He was created a baronet, and apparently continued to attend, for he was never noted as absent from a call of the House. In 1677 his father’s successor Shaftesbury, now in opposition himself, marked him ‘worthy’. Although in the warrant for his baronetcy his address was given as one of his father’s Cheshire properties, he preferred to live in Coventry near his wife’s family and took no further part in politics. He died on 20 Apr. 1701 and was buried at St. Michael’s, Coventry. His son was returned for Coventry in 1707 as a Whig, and had a long parliamentary career under the Hanoverians.3