NEWPORT, Hon. Richard (1644-1723), of Eyton-upon-Severn, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. 3 Sept. 1644, 1st s. of Francis Newport, 2nd Baron Newport and 1st Earl of Bradford, by Lady Diana Russell, da. of Francis, 4th Earl of Bedford. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1661. m. 20 Apr. 1681, Mary, da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Wilbraham 3rd Bt., of Weston-under-Lizard, Staffs., 6s. (4 d.v.p.) 5da. styled Lord Newport 11 May 1694; suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Bradford 9 Sept. 1708.1
Equerry and gent. of privy chamber 1665-85; PC 18 Feb. 1710-d.
Commr. for assessment, Salop 1673-80, 1689-90, dep. lt. 1689-1704; j.p. Salop and Mont. by 1701-?d.; custos rot. Mont. by 1701-?12, by 1716-d., Salop 1708-12, 1714-d.; ld. lt. Salop 1704-12, 1714-d., Mont. by 1708-?12, by 1716-d.
Newport’s ancestors first sat for Shropshire in 1380. His father, Member for Shrewsbury in the Long Parliament until disabled as a Royalist, was heir to what Clarendon described as ‘the best estate of any gentleman in that country’, yielding, according to the committee for compounding, £1,785 p.a. In January 1645 his father and grandfather were fined jointly £16, 687, but the joint fine was reduced by the House of Commons to £10,000. Inheriting the family estates in 1651, his father was connected with various royalist plots, and though never as active as his uncle Andrew, he was arrested on suspicion of treason at the time of Penruddock’s rising in 1655.2
At the Restoration, Newport’s father was made lord lieutenant of Shropshire and was later given a Household post. On coming of age, Newport resided at Eyton, a manor acquired by the family in the 16th century. Samuel Pepys considered that ‘young Newport’ and his associates were ‘as very rogues as any in the town ... though full of wit’. He was returned for his county at a by-election in 1670, but was probably inactive as a committeeman in the Cavalier Parliament, though he cannot usually be distinguished from his uncle. He was regarded as a member of the court party by the opposition in 1671, and described by a pamphleteer as a privy chamber man and an equerry with a private pension. He was still listed as an official in 1675, though by the autumn he had gone over to the Opposition. During the altercation between Sir John Hanmer and William, Lord Cavendish, in the House over the address for the recall of English subjects in French service, Newport was one of the ‘young gallants’ who ‘leaped over the seats to join Lord Cavendish’. He and Cavendish were forbidden the Court for their conduct in that session. When George Weld, a Shropshire Member who had been given an Irish place, claimed to speak for ‘his country’ Newport ‘desired to know what country he came from’, to which Cavendish added: ‘More countries will thank Newport for his services than Weld, who said he served here for all England’. In February 1677 he and Cavendish tried to visit Shaftesbury in the Tower but were refused permission. Naturally, he was classed as ‘thrice worthy’ by Shaftesbury in that year. He acted as teller for the Opposition on the adjournment motion on 11 May 1678.3
Returned for Shropshire to all three Exclusion Parliaments, Newport was classed as ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury in 1679. An inactive Member in 1679, he was appointed only to the committee of elections and privileges and those to draft a proclamation calling on Danby to give himself up and to explain the Commons unwillingness to proceed with the trial of the lords in the Tower. He was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill, and left no trace on the records of the two next Parliaments. In 1685 he desisted before the poll. His father was removed as lord lieutenant and treasurer of the Household for opposing the repeal of the Test and Penal Laws, and he himself was listed by Danby as in opposition to James in the country. He proposed to stand for Shropshire in September 1688 and was duly returned to the Convention. His only certain committee was for the relief of refugee Huguenot ministers. On 6 May 1689 he was given leave of absence for one month, but apparently stayed away till November, when his uncle, who had been sending him parliamentary news, warned him of a call of the House. He then came up, but went back to Shropshire for Christmas and apparently stayed away from the House till the dissolution, thus being absent from the division on the disabling clause. Under William III he voted with the Whigs. He died on 14 June 1723, and was buried at Wroxeter. His son Henry, later 3rd Earl of Bradford, represented Bishop’s Castle and Shropshire under Anne and George I.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. Mont. Colls. xx. 62.
- 2. Clarendon, Rebellion, ii. 339-40; Cal. Comm. Comp. 924-6; Underdown, Royalist, Conspiracy, 156.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xi. 38; Pepys Diary, 30 May 1668; Harl. 7020, f. 37; Grey, iii. 129; iv. 184-5; Bulstrode Pprs. 303; CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 564.
- 4. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 103; PRO 30/53/8, f. 69; Add. 7080, ff. 16-26.