WRIGHT, William (1619-93), of Broad Street, Oxford.
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Family and Education
bap. 29 June 1619, s. of Martin Wright, goldsmith, of Oxford by Katherine, da. of Roger Medhop (Mydhop) of Medhop Hall, Gisburn, Yorks. m. (1) 1646, Christian (bur. 26 June 1656), da. of John Smith, maltster, of Kennington, Berks., 2da.; (2) 25 Jan. 1658, Mary (d.1696) da. of John Banks of Islip, Oxon., wid. of Edward Dewe of Islip, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1664.1
Common councilman and bailiff, Oxford 1649, asst. 1653, mayor 1656-7, 1667-8, alderman 1659-84, Jan.-June 1688, Aug. 1688-?d.; j.p. Oxford Feb.-Aug. 1655, 1659-Aug. 1660, 1665-84, Oxon. 1673-by 1680, Mar. 1688-?d.; commr. for assessment, Oxford 1657, Oxford and Oxon. 1661-80, Oxon. 1689-90, militia, Mar. 1660.2
Wright’s ancestors were settled in Oxford by Tudor times. His grandfather and father were both goldsmiths, active in municipal life. Wright and his father avoided involvement in the Civil War but held local office during the Protectorate. He inherited the family business, and headed the poll by a large majority in the three exclusion elections. Marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list, he probably served on no committees in the first Exclusion Parliament, as he was given leave to go into the country on 15 Apr. 1679, and was still absent from the division on the exclusion bill a month later. In January 1680 he petitioned for the meeting of the Parliament elected in the previous autumn, and in September he was foremost in greeting Monmouth on the Duke’s visit to Oxford, crying, ‘God save him and the Protestant religion’. His only certain committee was on the bill for regulating elections in the second Exclusion Parliament. He made no recorded speeches throughout his parliamentary career.3
Because of his Whiggism and close ties with Monmouth and Buckingham, Wright was kept under close observation by the Government, and after the Rye House Plot his house was twice searched for arms. In April 1684 he appeared in the King’s bench on a charge of describing the King and the Duke of York as ‘brothers in iniquity’. On 25 Oct. he asked the Earl of Abingdon to intercede for him with the King, saying that he had resigned all his concerns in Oxford, and promising to renounce all public matters. Whilst admitting that he had previously acted ‘with ill-affected persons’, he affirmed that he ‘was ever loyal in his intentions. ... [He] ever was and is a Protestant according to the Church of England’, and believed the monarchy as then established ‘to be the best of governments’. The Court was satisfied with this submission, and proceedings against him were stopped. He apparently became a Whig collaborator in 1688, when his socially ambitious son was made recorder of Oxford, but he appears to have taken little further part in municipal or national politics after this. He died on 26 Oct. 1693 and was buried at St. Martin’s, Oxford. His son stood unsuccessfully for Oxford as a Whig in 1695, but his grandson, John Wright†, who sat for Abingdon from 1741 to 1747, was the next member of the family to enter Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. Wood’s City of Oxford (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxxvii), 167, 202, 228; Vis. Oxon. (Harl. Soc. v), 258; Wood’s Life and Times (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxi), 29; (xxvi), 370; (xxvii), 111; Tauntons of Oxford, 34; PCC 199 Coker, 105 Bond.
- 2. Oxford Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xcv), 167, 196, 245; (n.s. ii) 14, 164, 197; PC2/72, ff. 677-8; CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 246; City of Oxford, 38.
- 3. Wood’s Life and Times (xxi), 12, 476, 496, 522-3; City of Oxford, 38; Oxford Council Acts (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 116, 119, 135.
- 4. CSP Dom. Jan.-June 1683, p. 353; July-Sept. 1683, pp. 153-4; 1684-5, pp. 181-2, 196; Wood’s Life and Times (xxvi), 93-94, 433.