PUDSEY, Sir George (d.1688), of Elsfield, Oxon.
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Family and Education
o.s. of George Pudsey (d.c.1643) of Elsfield by Elizabeth, da. of Sir George Devereux of Sheldon, Warws. educ. M. Temple 1663, called 1666. m. (1) 12 Nov. 1655 Susan, da. of Sir Thomas Coghill of Bletchington, Oxon., 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 2da.; (2) Elizabeth (d. 12 Feb. 1689), da. of one Higden of Englefield, Berks., s.p. suc. gdfa. 1645; kntd. 14 Mar. 1681.1
Commr. for assessment, Warws. 1663-4, Oxon. 1673-80; freeman, Oxford 1672, Woodstock 1680, j.p. and dep. lt. Oxon. 1679-d., capt. of militia ft. by 1681-d., recorder, Oxford 1683-d.2
Pudsey’s ancestors acquired Elsfield, three miles from Oxford, by marriage in the 16th century, but the family played no part in the Civil War. Pudsey entered the legal profession at an unusually advanced age, probably hoping to clear his estate of debt, and was called of grace after only three years’ study. He stood for Oxford in all the elections to the Exclusion Parliaments, and is said to have spent £300. which he could ill afford, on his first canvass. His candidature was supported by the colleges in 1681, but each time he was defeated by the country party. His failure was much deplored by Anthony Ã Wood, who described him as ‘loyal and generous’. He accompanied Lord Norris with the Oxfordshire address in June. When William Wright was suspected of involvement in the Rye House Plot, Pudsey searched his house for arms in July 1683.3
A fervent Tory, Pudsey was also a sycophant; his speeches as recorder are full of flattery of the monarch and permeated with high Anglicanism. In effusive language he returned thanks to the city council in January 1684 for choosing him as recorder. He was successful at the general election of 1685 after another contest, and became a moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, with eight committees, including those on the bills for the better recovery of tithes, for the provision of carriages for the navy and ordnance, for the establishment of a land registry, and for the relief of London widows and orphans. When the King visited Oxford in 1687, Pudsey excelled himself in a flattering speech of welcome, which even Wood thought too long. He consented to all three questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, but died in the Fleet in June 1688, leaving debts of £32,000, and Elsfield had to be sold three years later. No other member of the family entered Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 5), i. 311; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 248; Bletchington par. reg.; Bodl. Dunkin 439/2, ff. 67, 69; Oxon. wills 171/3/28, 201/276.
- 2. Oxford Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 54, 158; Woodstock Council Acts, 27 Feb. 1680; Wood’s Life and Times (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxi), 529.
- 3. VCH Oxon. v. 118; Sir G. N. Clark, Manor of Elsfield, 14; Bodl. North, C31/39; Prot. Intell. 11 Feb. 1681; EHR, xl. 255; Wood’s Life and Times (xxi), 516, 522, 523, 529; (xxvi) 59.
- 4. Bodl. GA Oxon. 4/6/13-15; Wood’s Life and Times (xxvi), 229; HMC Portland, iii. 410; VCH Oxon. v. 118; PCC 35 Ent.