LIDDELL, Henry (c.1644-1723), of Ravensworth Castle, co. Dur.

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. c.1644, 1st s. of Sir Thomas Liddell, 2nd Bt., of Ravensworth by Anne, da. of Sir Henry Vane of Raby Castle. educ. I. Temple 1662; travelled abroad 1662-5. m. by 1670, Catherine (bur. 24 Feb. 1704), da. of Sir John Bright, 1st Bt., of Badsworth, Yorks., 5s. (1 d.v.p.) 1 da. suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. Nov. 1697.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, co. Dur. 1677-80, co. Dur. and Yorks. (W. Riding) 1689-90; j.p. co. Dur. 1680-7, Nov. 1688-?d., (W. Riding) by 1701-?d.; dep. lt. co. Dur. 1701-?d., sheriff 1721-2.2


Liddell was descended from an Elizabethan merchant adventurer of Newcastle. His grandfather acquired the Ravensworth estate with its valuable collieries in 1607, and was fined £4,000 as a royalist commissioner of array during the Civil War. But his father married the daughter of the radical enthusiast, the younger Sir Henry Vane; he became a devout Presbyterian and took no part in politics.3

Liddell’s appointment to the commission of the peace in his father’s lifetime in 1680 suggests that he had reverted to his grandfather’s politics, and opposed exclusion. He was removed in 1687 by order of the Privy Council but reinstated after the Dutch invasion. He was returned for the city of Durham at the abortive election in December 1688, and became the first member of the family to enter Parliament when he defeated the Tory William Tempest in the following month. Nevertheless according to Ailesbury’s list he voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. He was an inactive Member of the Convention, being appointed only to the committees to consider abuses in alnage and to settle allowances on the children of Sidney Wortley Montagu. He did not stand in 1690, and went to Holland in August. He was a court Whig under William III and Anne. He died on 1 Sept. 1723, and was buried at Kensington. A younger son sat for Berwick-upon-Tweed from 1727 to 1740, and his grandson and heir represented Morpeth from 1734 as a government supporter until raised to the peerage in 1747.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Gillian Hampson / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Surtees, Dur. ii. 212-13; CSP Dom. 1661-2, p. 509.
  • 2. Dur. RO, sessions order bks. 7; CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 255.
  • 3. Surtees, ii. 209, 212-13; Cal. Comm. Comp. 892; R. Welford, Men of Mark ’twixt Tyne and Tweed, iii. 42, 44.
  • 4. C. Sharp, Parl. Rep. Dur. (1831), 35-36; CSP Dom. 1690-1, p. 96; Surtees, ii. 213.