NASSAU, Hon. Richard Savage (1723-80), of Easton, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1747 - 1754
1774 - 17 May 1780

Family and Education

b. 1 June 1723, 2nd s. of Frederick, 3rd Earl of Rochford, by Bessy, illegit. da. of Richard Savage, 4th Earl Rivers.  educ. Westminster 1734-9.  m. (1) 24 Dec. 1751, Anne1 (d. 9 Mar. 1771), da. and h. of Edward Spenser of Rendlesham, Suff., wid. of James, 5th Duke of Hamilton [S], 2s. 1da.; (2) name unknown, d. 18 Oct. 1773.2

Offices Held

Groom of the bedchamber Jan-Oct., 1760; clerk of the Board of Green Cloth Jan. 1771- d.


Nassau was returned for Colchester on his brother’s interest, as a Government supporter; and did not stand again in 1754. But for a chapter of accidents, he would probably never have re-entered the House: Rochford intended to return for Maldon at the next general election Nassau’s eldest son and his own ultimate heir who, born 28 June 1754, would come of age in 1775. A vacancy occurring in November 1773, a stop-gap was required; but Nassau ‘was quite enervated’ at the thought of ‘offering himself a candidate’, having been in ‘a very poor condition ever since the death of his lady ... his nerves are so weak that a strange face gives him much uneasiness’.3 Another stop-gap was therefore returned for the rest of that Parliament; when, however, it was dissolved a year before its normal end, Nassau had to step in. ‘Ld. Rochford’s brother will stand with you, but much against his inclinations’, wrote Gascoyne to Strutt, 15 Sept. 1774. And Lord Rochford to Strutt, 17 Sept.:

I had a conversation with Lord North, who will give the £2000; my brother will also lend his name, but I don’t think I can prevail upon him to appear, though that signifies nothing, as he will advertise and plead a severe fit of illness, which I much fear will not be a sham.

Nassau and Strutt were returned after a contest. In the House Nassau was a regular Government supporter—but what his attendance was during the first four years it is difficult to gauge as no division lists covering the Government side are available before 1779. On 11 Feb. 1777 Nassau wrote to his fellow-Member, John Strutt,4 asking to be informed ‘if there is anything of deep consequence likely to be agitated in St. Stephen’s during the next fortnight’:

What a dull session have you been passing; all of one side like Lord Thomond’s cocks, and business over before four o’clock. I hate your early rising, and love to sit late, and for the same reason perhaps, in the early part of my life I preferred fox to hare hunting—the last was over in half an hour, but the other led me through a variety of country the whole day (like one of Burke’s speeches) ... Should there be a probability of a good day’s sport, let me know, and I will meet you at cover.

Over the contractors bill, 12 Feb. 1779, he was classed by Robinson as ‘pro, absent’; but he voted with the Government in each of the six divisions March 1779-April 1780, for which lists are extant. The Public Ledger wrote about him in 1779: ‘Like his brother, talks one way, and votes another.’ But no speech of his in Parliament is reported.  He died 17 May 1780.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Sir Lewis Namier


  • 1. J. Nichols, Lit. Illus. vi. 329; Douglas-Paul, Scots Peerage.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. 1773, p. 526;
  • 3. Gascoyne to Strutt, 2 Nov. 1773, Strutt mss.
  • 4. Strutt mss.