FOLEY, Robert (c.1651-1702), of Stourbridge, Worcs.
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Family and Education
b. c.1651, o.s. of Robert Foley of Stourbridge by 1st w. Anne, da. of John Blurton of Worcester. educ. Magdalen Hall, Oxf. 1668; I. Temple 1670. m. 16 Feb. 1675 (with £1,500), Anne (d. 4 Apr. 1717), da. of Dudley North I, 4th Lord North, 4s. 1da. suc. fa. 1676.1
Member, Hon. Artillery Co. 1673, alderman, Bewdley 1685-?d.; j.p. Worcs. 1685-?86, July 1688-d., commr. for assessment 1689.2
After the Restoration Foley’s father, the brother of Thomas Foley I, became the chief supplier of ironmongery to the navy and receiver-general of aids in Worcestershire; but by 1674 his financial affairs were in considerable disorder, partly because the Government had failed to pay his bills. A marriage was accordingly arranged for Foley on the basis of a £1,500 portion and a jointure of £400 p.a., nearly three times the standard rate. The bride’s brother, Roger North, wrote that:
The old father fancied that a friend at Court, so considerable as his lordship [Sir Francis North] was, might be useful, which, together with his lordship’s skill in dealing with such a touchy spark, drew a full consent to all. The young man was every way acceptable, and, left to himself, would not have chosen one that was fifteen years older than he was. But finding that his father by negligence, sottishness, and desperate projects was in a fair way to utter ruin, he was glad upon any terms to get the estate settled.
The marriage proved fortunate for Foley. He acted as marshal to his brother-in-law ‘which brought in pence’ and obviated the necessity of keeping house. When North became Lord Keeper Guilford in 1682 Foley was made ‘secretary to the presentations worth (honestly) near £300 a year’. But ‘what surmounted all’ in Roger North’s opinion, was the help Guilford was able to give Foley both
with his purse, as well as advice and countenance, in working through a most perplexed administration of his father’s personal estate. The old man died without a will; and his great dealings of divers kinds [were] all in confusion.
With the help of his brothers-in-law, Foley eventually managed to straighten out his father’s affairs, although the appointment of Sir Dudley North II to the Treasury in 1684 did not suffice to secure priority for his claims on the navy.4
Foley was returned for Grampound as a place-man in 1685 on Guilford’s recommendation. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was named to seven committees of no great political importance, including those to consider expiring laws and the bills for the speedier recovery of tithe and the suppression of simony. He lost office with Guilford’s death in September, but he petitioned for interest on the £683 due to him for ironwork supplied to the navy. His name appeared on the list of dissenters to be added to the Worcestershire commission of the peace in May 1688, and he was retained after the Revolution at the King’s command, though he never stood again. He died on 27 Sept. 1702, aged 51, and was buried at Old Swinford. None of his descendants entered Parliament.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. Nash, Worcs. ii. 465; Westminster City Lib., St. Martin in the Fields par. reg.
- 2. Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. Raikes, 102; Univ. Birmingham Hist. Jnl. i. 112
- 3. North, Lives, i. 404.
- 4. Ibid. i. 403-4; ii. 234; Nash, ii. 465; The Gen. ii. 37-38; Cal. Treas. Bks. vi. 751; vii. 263.
- 5. North, i. 335; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 540, 961; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 145; Nash, ii. 212.