RITHE, Robert II, ?of Abingdon, Berks.
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Family and Education
It is possible that the Robert Rithe of Liss who sat for Petersfield in 1571 was also the burgess for Abingdon in 1601, but the fairly frequent references to his activities at Lincoln’s Inn cease in 1594, making it likely that he died about then and that the Abingdon burgess was his son, probably the Robert Rithe of Lincoln’s Inn mentioned in 1620. The young Robert Rithe was sworn a burgess of Abingdon 3 Oct. 1601, just before being returned to Parliament for the borough.2
Since nothing more of his career is known with certainty, and it is also uncertain who was high steward of Abingdon in 1601, the name of Rithe’s patron, if he had one, can only be conjectured. A ‘Mr. Rythe’, agent of Thomas Wriothesley†, 1st Earl of Southampton, had been partly responsible for the rise of the Liss family; and towards the end of Elizabeth’s reign a Robert Rithe or Writhe, possibly the Abingdon burgess, married into the Lydcott family of Berkshire and Oxfordshire, a family already connected with the Wriothesleys through the Cheneys or Cheyneys of Buckinghamshire. Further, the 1st Earl of Southampton’s father had been named Wrythe and was the first to adopt the more elaborate form ‘Wriothesley’; possibly, therefore, the Abingdon burgess was a member of a less prominent branch of the Wriothesley family. The 3rd Earl of Southampton was a great ally of the 2nd Earl of Essex, high steward of Oxford, to which Abingdon is close, and much of Essex’s patronage was inherited by his relative by marriage, (Sir) William Knollys, later Earl of Banbury, who was high steward of Abingdon in 1630. In 1601 Knollys may already have been high steward, and Rithe may have entered his service through previous connexions with Southampton and Essex.3
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
Author: Alan Harding
- 1. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvii), 175; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 178.
- 2. Mdx. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxv), 28; VCH Hants, iv. 85; A. E. Preston, St. Nicholas, Abingdon (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xcix), 208-9; Abingdon council mins. i. f. 73.
- 3. LP Hen. VIII, xiii(1), pp. 7, 51-2; Add. i. 427; ii. 450; Vis. Berks. 175; Vis. Bucks. 177, 219; Hants Field Club, i. 82; DNB (Wriothesley, Sir Thomas, 1st Earl of Southampton); Abingdon Recs. ed. Challenor, 141.