LONG, Richard (1668-1730), of Rowde Ashton, Wilts.
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Family and Education
bap. 7 Apr. 1668, 2nd s. of Richard Long of Collingbourne Kingston, Wilts. by Elizabeth, da. of Edward Long of Rowde Ashton. m. (1) by 1689, Elizabeth (d. 1691), da. of Thomas Long of Rowden, Chippenham, Wilts., 2s. (1 d.v.p.); (2) by 1726, Grace, da. of John Stileman of Steeple Ashton, Wilts., wid. of John Martyn of Hinton, Steeple Ashton, s.p. suc. uncle Henry Long at Rowde Ashton 1674.1
Sheriff, Wilts. 1702–3.
The Longs of Rowde Ashton, Wiltshire, were a junior branch of an extensive family based in the north of the county. Originally clothiers from Trowbridge, they were distantly related to the more substantial Longs established at Whaddon. A house in Rowde Ashton (a hamlet within Steeple Ashton) had been purchased by a forebear in 1600 and this property, together with Ablington manor and farms in Collingbourne Kingston and Tollard Royal, in south Wiltshire, was inherited by Long in 1674 from his maternal uncle. Long’s marriage also brought him possession of Welwaynes Court, Trowbridge, which had been leased on behalf of his wife, then a minor, in 1687.2
Long’s family had established a considerable parliamentary pedigree, his relations including Gifford Long† and a distant cousin Walter Long†, the friend of John Eliot†. Long was returned at a by-election for Chippenham in 1694, defeating Sir Basil Firebrace* and surviving a petition. He made no recorded contribution to the work of Parliament. He stood down at the next general election although in 1701 he was reported to be active in canvassing support for his fellow Whigs. His close association with the two Whig Members for Chippenham, Edward Montagu and Walter White, was evinced in a letter he wrote to the latter in January 1700, offering his continued friendship. Long’s character is also suggested in his proposal that to ‘hinder’ the ‘growing evil’ of alcoholism a clause should be inserted into the impending bill for improving provision for the poor which would prevent them ‘spending their time consuming their weekly wages in little paltry alehouses, especially on Sundays’. This could be achieved, he thought, either by instituting severer penalties for drunkenness or by stopping the proliferation of alehouses, which ‘I’m sure is the most . . . intolerable grievance we have’.3
Long made his will on 6 Aug. 1726, leaving his wife all his household goods and plate together with an annuity of £20 for life. He gave £500 to repay a bond arranged on his marriage, and asked that a house and orchard in Atford, Wiltshire, be sold to provide for his nephew’s apprenticeship. He also gave £20 to buy plate for Steeple Ashton church, where he asked to be buried quietly in the evening, accompanied by the toll of a single bell. He died on 19 Jan. 1730 and was succeeded by his only surviving son, Richard, who sat for Chippenham as a Tory, 1734–41. Richard later married his sister-in-law, by which means the Whaddon and Rowde Ashton estates were later merged.4