NEWPORT, Henry, Lord Newport (1683-1734).
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Family and Education
b. 8 Aug. 1683,1 1st s. of Richard Newport, 2nd Earl of Bradford (M.P. Shropshire 1670-81, 1689-98), by Mary, da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Wilbraham, 3rd Bt., M.P., of Woodhey, Cheshire; nephew of Hon. Thomas Newport. educ. Ch. Ch. Oxf. 4 May 1699, aged 15. unm. suc. fa. as 3rd Earl 14 June 1723.
Ld. lt. Staffs. 1715-25, Salop and Mont. 1724-d.
Newport, a staunch Whig, came of an ancient Shropshire family with a long record of parliamentary service, possessing a dominant political interest in the county. His grandfather, the 1st Earl, who sat in the Long Parliament and fought for Charles I, was comptroller of the Household and later treasurer to Charles II, James II, William III, and Anne. His father, the 2nd Earl, was the leader of the Shropshire Whigs. The family had wide connexions, with the Foresters of Dothill Park, near Wenlock, where the Newports had an interest; with the Bridgemans, and through them with the Corbets of Moreton Corbet and the Toyn Lloyds; and with Sir Humphrey Briggs, a distant cousin through the Wilbrahams.
In the county Newport fought every election between 1708 and 1722, heading the poll in 1715, but was defeated in 1722. During the rebellion of 1715 he raised a regiment of militia at Shrewsbury, serving as its colonel.2 In Parliament he voted for the septennial bill and for the repeal of the Schism and Occasional Conformity Acts, but did not vote on the peerage bill.
In 1723 Newport succeeded his father as leader of the Shropshire Whigs. As Earl of Bradford he did his utmost to exclude his family from the succession to his estates by cutting off entails and leaving all his unentailed property in trust for his natural son John Newport, by his mistress Anne Smyth, with reversion to her if her son, a lunatic, died without children. On her death she left the reversion to William Pulteney, her former lover, who in 1742, when he was at the height of his power, made sure of inheriting the estate by causing an Act to be passed for preventing the marriage of lunatics.3 After Bradford’s death, 25 Dec. 1734, the family interest fell into abeyance, for his brother and heir was an imbecile.