NORRIS, Richard (1670-1730), of Water Street, Liverpool, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1708 - 1710

Family and Education

b. 1670, 6th s. of Thomas Norris of Speke, Lancs. by Katherine, da. of Sir Henry Garway or Garraway, of Broad Street, London, ld. mayor 1639-40; bro. of Edward†, Thomas* and William Norris*.  m. (w. d. 1698), s.psuc. bro. Edward at Speke 1726.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Liverpool 1693, bailiff 1695–6, common council 1695–d., merchant appraiser 1697, mayor 1700–1, alderman by 1701–d., deputy mayor 1707; burgess, Wigan 1707; sheriff, Lancs. 1718–19.2

Sub-commr. of prizes, Portsmouth Nov. 1707; commr. for managing lottery 1712, 1714.3


Youngest son of a large family, Norris established a profitable career as a tobacco and sugar merchant, and became a leading figure in the emerging rock salt industry, playing an important role as a London-based lobbyist in the attempt in 1697–8 to restore drawback upon rock salt duties. Norris quickly established himself as an important member of Liverpool’s corporation, and was prominent in procuring a new charter for the borough in 1695, which made him a member of the borough’s common council. Active in the election of January 1701 on behalf of his brother (Sir) William Norris (1st Bt.), who was absent in India as ambassador of the New East India Company, Norris considered standing in 1702 but did not put himself forward until the 1705 election. Defeated then, he was finally successful in 1708, and was classed as a ‘gain’ by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*).4

Norris’ Whig sympathies were demonstrated in the 1708–9 session by his support for the naturalization of the Palatines. On 18 Mar. 1709 he was added to the committee charged with drafting a bill to establish a regulated company trading to Africa. In the following session he assisted in the management of a bill to establish Liverpool’s first dry dock, a measure which he told in favour of on 23 Feb. 1710 and 18 Mar., and his concern for local interests also led to his appointment on 2 Feb. to draft a bill to supply Liverpool with water. Norris’ care for local economic interests was also evident in his opposition to James Lowther’s* attempts in early 1710 to remove drawback from tobacco re-exported to the Isle of Man, an allowance which Lowther claimed Liverpool merchants were taking advantage of by re-exporting tobacco to the Isle of Man, claiming drawback upon the customs duties, and subsequently smuggling the tobacco back to the mainland. His continuing support for the Whigs was demonstrated by his vote for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, and by his telling on 24 Mar. in favour of a motion that a book containing Sacheverell’s answer to the articles of his impeachment be burnt by the common hangman. Defeated in 1710, Norris remained active in Liverpool politics in the following decade, and served as sheriff of Lancashire in 1718–19. He inherited the family estates at Speke from his brother Dr Edward Norris in 1726, and died on 18 Aug. 1730, leaving the Speke estates to his niece, the daughter of Sir William Norris.5

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. Norris Pprs. (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, ix), pp. xx–xxi; Baines, Lancs. ed. Croston v. 61; VCH Lancs. iii. 136; H. Peet, Liverpool in Reign of Q. Anne, 56.
  • 2. Liverpool RO, Norris mss 920NOR 2/38, Norris to Benjamin Weston, 5 May 1693; R. Muir and E. M. Platt, Hist. Mun. Govt. Liverpool, 259; Norris Pprs. p. xx; Wigan RO, Wigan bor. recs. AB/MR/10.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxi. 504; Add. 70155, list of lottery commrs. 1710–14.
  • 4. Norris mss 920NOR 1/8, Richard to [Katherine Norris], 30 July 1692; 1/22, Thomas to Richard Norris, 20 Apr. 1695; 2/26, James Coates to Weston and Norris, 11 July 1692; 2/123, 135, 137, 146, Johnson to Norris, 27 Nov., 18, 28 Dec. 1697, 4 Feb. 1697[–8]; Norris Pprs. 25–26, 28–29, 61–63, 89–91; Liverpool RO, Liverpool bor. recs. 352 MIN/COU I 1/4, p. 700; Prescott Diary (Lancs. and Cheshire Record Soc. cxxvii), 48.
  • 5. Trans. Hist. Soc. Lancs. and Cheshire, lxxxii. 167–8; J. Picton, Liverpool Mun. Recs. 1700–1835, pp. 4–6; Cumbria RO (Carlisle), Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/1/43, Lowther to William Gilpin, 6, 28 Feb. 1709[–10]; Post Boy, 19–22 July 1712; Moore Rental (Chetham Soc. ser. 1, xii), 142; VCH Lancs. 136.