HUNTINGTON, Richard (d.1690), of King Street, Great Yarmouth, Norf.

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



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

m. (1) 10 Nov. 1644, Rose (d. 8 Sept. 1678), da. of Robert Wakeman, draper, of Yarmouth, 4s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da.; (2) settlement 11 Oct. 1679, Hannah (d.1686), da. of Henry Watts, hosier, of Norwich, and wid. of John Hawes, apothecary, of Norwich, s.p.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Yarmouth 1646, lt. of militia ft. 1648-70, capt. 1670-82, alderman by Dec. 1660-84, Oct. 1688-d.; commr. for assessment, Yarmouth 1663-4, 1677-80, 1689-d., Norf. 1679-80; bailiff, Yarmouth 1666-7, 1676-7.2


Huntington, who probably came from a Suffolk yeoman family, was apprenticed to his brother Robert, a Yarmouth merchant, in or before 1640, and may subsequently have served under him in the eastern association and the New Model Army. His means were probably modest, and he appears to have become a freeholder in the borough only after his second marriage. His brother publicly resigned his commission in 1648 in protest at Cromwell’s attitude to Parliament and the monarchy; but Huntington himself ‘joined with all the late usurped governments and was very zealous for them ... and his cabal were the only instruments of Sir William Doyley being made a burgess’, i.e. MP for Yarmouth in the Convention and Cavalier Parliament. It was doubtless Doyley who ensured that he survived the purge of the corporation after the Restoration. Huntington attended Anglican services, but refused either to kneel for prayer or to stand for the creed; while his first wife, despite her lameness, was ‘a constant frequenter’ of the Independent conventicle. His election as bailiff in 1666 marked the turn of the tide in Yarmouth politics; the Clarendon Code became a dead letter in the town, as Huntington ‘made it his business to find out occasions to make void the law’. He was no doubt emboldened by the emergence of his brother as an excise commissioner. In July 1667 the corporation sent him to London with (Sir) James Johnson to promote a bill for the repair of the pier and haven. When it appeared that the renunciation of the Covenant would be enforced on the corporation, Huntington and Johnson invoked the assistance of the lord lieutenant, Lord Townshend. In the summer of 1670 one of the churchwardens of St. Nicholas, supported by Sir Thomas Medowe, complained that Huntington had evaded taking action against a seditious conventicle almost next door to his home, and the Privy Council referred the petition to Townshend. But Huntington had made friends with the Roman Catholic Henry Howard (who was managing the family interest for his brother, the mad Duke of Norfolk); and by this means Townshend was induced not only to dismiss the churchwarden’s complaint but to promote the negligent magistrate to captain in the borough militia. When Medowe protested, he was required to resign his own commission.3

Huntington first stood for Parliament at the by-election caused by Doyley’s death, his candidature being adventitiously assisted by an incident in which he personally arrested a naval officer who had murdered a butcher in an affray with the constables. Though the only account of the affair comes from a hostile source, it is clear that Huntington acted with singular promptitude and courage. The same government informer described him as ‘a person never worthy of any honour, that has not a house or a foot of land ... so necessitated that he begged an employment of the town which he still keeps’, and he was defeated by Medowe, though only by 15 votes. But at both elections of 1679 he was successful as a candidate of the ‘partial conformists’. Classed as ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list, he voted for the first exclusion bill, but left no other trace on the records of Parliament. He gave way to Johnson in 1681, and lost his militia commission in the following year. An order was made by the lieutenancy for the search of his newly-purchased house for arms after the Rye House Plot, but apparently withdrawn. He signed the surrender of the charter, which he had initially opposed. He was ‘confined at home by sickness’ when the accession of James II was proclaimed, but apparently contested the general election of 1685. No longer an alderman, he was elected by the freemen with George England, but they did not petition against the return of Sir William Cook and (Sir) John Friend by the corporation. They were again elected to the abortive Parliament of 1688, but at the general election of 1689 he was replaced by his son-in-law Samuel Fuller. His religious outlook may have mellowed with the years, for he allowed the ‘Arminian’ Dean Davies to minister to him on his deathbed. He died of gangrene, and was buried in the parish church of St. Nicholas on 24 Jan. 1690. He left no will, the funeral expenses were apparently met by Fuller, and nothing is known of his sons.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Basil Duke Henning


  • 1. C. J. Palmer, Perlustration of Yarmouth, ii. 52-53; PCC 183 Aylett, 47 Dycer; Gt. Yarmouth, St. Nicholas par. reg.; Yarmouth Freemen, 97, 100, 111; Norf. RO, Norwich consistory court wills, 569 Calthorpe; H. Swinden, Hist. Yarmouth, 862.
  • 2. Yarmouth Freemen, 77; Swinden, 574; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 74; CSP Dom. 1670, p. 474; 1679-80, p. 32; Yarmouth bor. recs. assembly bks.
  • 3. Clarendon, Rebellion, iv. 260; Thurloe, i. 94-98; CSP Dom. 1668-9, p. 96; 1670, pp. 358, 440, 473-4, 512-13, 519; 1675-6, p. 568; 1676-7, pp. 155-6; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 728.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1677-8, pp. 349, 496, 555; Perlustration, ii. 53; Norf. Ltcy. Jnl. (Norf. Rec. Soc. xxx), 46; Add. 27447, f. 324; 27448, ff. 231, 281; 36988, f. 239; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, p. 301; Palmer, Hist Yarmouth, 214, 215; Diary of Dean Davies (Cam. Soc. lxviii), 72, 76-77; St. Nicholas par. reg.