POPE, Roger (1645-1710), of Woolstaston and Diamond Hall, Bridgnorth, Salop.
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Family and Education
bap. 23 May 1645, 1st s. of Roger Pope of Evenhall by Margaret, da. of Thomas Mitton of Halston. educ. Shrewsbury 1656; Exeter, Oxf. 1663. m. Feb. 1665, Mary, da. of Sir John Weld of Willey, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) suc. fa. 1647.1
Commr. for assessment, Salop 1673-80, 1689-90, j.p. and dep. lt. June 1688-?d.; freeman, Ludlow 1690.2
Commr. of the stables 1679-82; equerry ?1682-Dec. 1688, 1694-d.3
Capt. indep. tp. 1685; capt. Earl of Shrewsbury’s Regt. (later 5 Dgn. Gds.) 1685, lt.-col. Dec. 1688-1701, bt. col. 1696.
Pope was descended from a Shrewsbury draper who acquired Woolstaston about 1540. His father, a colonel in the parliamentary army and assessment commissioner for Montgomeryshire, was appointed governor of Holt Castle in January 1647, and elected as a recruiter for Merioneth shortly before his death. Pope got into difficulties as surety for a defaulting tax-collector, and his estate was extended for £244 p.a. Probably his brother-in-law George Weld recommended him as commissioner of the royal stables, a post for which he was well qualified as a gentleman jockey and a judge of horseflesh. He was able to build a handsome house in Bridgnorth out of the prize money won by his horse ‘Diamond’, after which it was named. After the Rye House Plot Secretary Jenkins assured him that ‘the search you have made and are designing to make for arms was very well approved of by his Majesty’.4
Pope’s wife was a cousin of Sir William Whitmore, on whose interest he was returned for Bridgnorth at the general election of 1685. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to four committees, of which the most important were to recommend expunctions in the Journals and to provide carriages for the royal progresses. He returned to Shropshire to raise a troop of horse against Monmouth, which was incorporated in the regular army after Sedgemoor. His debt to the crown was finally cleared in the following year. Presumably he gave satisfaction over the repeal of the Tests and Penal Laws, for in September 1688 Sunderland ordered him to stand as court candidate for Bridgnorth. But he went over to William of Orange with his whole troop but three, and was promoted to second-in-command of his regiment. He continued to serve in the army throughout the reign, even though an anonymous informer denounced him in 1692 for complicity in a projected Jacobite invasion. William showed his confidence in him by reappointing him as equerry in 1694, and he was rewarded for helping to arrest the conspirator, ‘Scum’ Goodman, after the assassination plot in 1696. His son sat for Bridgnorth from 1699 to 1702. He was buried at Woolstaston on 10 Aug. 1710.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: J. S. Crossette
- 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. l. 46-48; Westminster City Lib. St. Martin in the Fields par. reg.; Shrewsbury Sch. Reg. 49.
- 2. Ludlow ledger bk. 1680-90, f. 75.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 263; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 674, 1179; xxvii. 1009; Luttrell, iii. 345.
- 4. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. l. 38; HMC 6th Rep. 740; Burke, Commoners, ii. 412; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 1130; HMC Ormonde, n.s. v. 102; CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, pp. 148-9.
- 5. Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 1129; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 276; HMC Coke, ii. 354; HMC Finch, iv. 115; Cal. Treas. Bks. x. 1362; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. l. 48.