FOXTON, Richard (1576-1648), of Great St. Mary's, Cambridge, Cambs.
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Family and Education
bap. 25 Nov. 1576, 9th s. of William Foxton (d.1589), alderman of Cambridge, and his 2nd w. Katherine, wid. of one Fludd.1 educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1590,2 M. Temple 1597, called 1607.3 m. 23 Feb. 1608,4 Joan, wid. of John Wise of Cherry Hinton, Cambs., da. of one Cooke of Chishall, Cambs., s.p.5 bur. 8 Dec. 1648.6 sig. Ric[ard]us Foxton.
Fee’d counsel, Cambridge 1617-46.10
Commr. gaol delivery, Cambridge 1617-41,11 subsidy 1624;12 j.p. Cambridge 1629-d.;13 commr. swans, Cambs. and Hunts. 1633,14 sewers. Cambridge 1628,15 E. Assoc. 1643-d., New Model Ordinance, Cambs. 1645, assessment 1645-d.16
Although little is known of Foxton’s background, his father was a Cambridge alderman sufficiently wealthy to furnish him with a gentleman’s education at Cambridge University and the Middle Temple.17 In 1617 Foxton himself was elected an alderman of Cambridge, and appointed one of the town’s legal counsel, with a retainer of 40s. a year. He went on to serve numerous terms as auditor and mayor, and was frequently deputed to survey corporation lands and assess their boundaries and rentals.18 In 1619 he was granted precedence in the corporation over all other aldermen and legal counsel.19
Elected to the 1621 Parliament for Cambridge during his first mayoral term, the validity of Foxton’s election was challenged on 22 Mar. by Sir Robert Phelips, who claimed that Foxton had abused his position by returning himself. He also noted that the attendance of mayors at Westminster hindered the administration of corporate towns.20 Sir Edward Coke and the recorder of London, Heneage Finch, agreed, whereupon Foxton was unseated.21 However, Foxton stayed in Westminster for the duration of the Parliament to advise the Cambridge MPs on matters which might affect the town, and thus, as Phelips had feared, no corporation meetings took place during either sitting of the Parliament.22 While at Westminster, the corporation instructed Foxton to administer the freeman’s oath to his successor as MP, Sir John Hobart, the son of lord chief justice Sir Henry Hobart*.23
Foxton remained active in the corporation throughout the 1630s and 1640s. It was largely through his efforts, and those of the recorder, Talbot Pepys*, that Cambridge raised a Benevolence in 1630-1 following a severe outbreak of the plague.24 In 1631 Foxton travelled to London to renew Cambridge’s charters.25 Although principally an attorney, Foxton was also engaged in commerce, renting a number of booths at Stourbridge fair.26 In the Civil War Foxton sided with Parliament, but although he was appointed to the committee for the Eastern Association in 1643 he did not play a prominent role. This may have been due to ill health, for on being reappointed mayor in 1643 he pleaded ‘the disability of his body, his thickness of hearing and the badness of his sight’, and was too ill to appear in the Guildhall to take the mayor’s oath.27
Foxton resigned from the corporation in 1646 and made his will on 16 Nov. 1648. He died, childless, shortly thereafter, and was buried on 8 Dec. in Great St. Mary’s, Cambridge. His ‘next heir’ was a nephew, Nicholas Craddocke, who received £100 and Foxton’s lands in Great Shelford. To another nephew, William Craddocke, he left an inn in Cambridge town centre. Emmanuel and Caius colleges received £10 each and the University library benefited by £40.28 No further member of the family sat in Parliament.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Chris Kyle
- 1. Cambs. RO, Gt. St. Mary’s, Camb. par. reg. transcript; J.M. Gray, Biog. Notes on Mayors of Camb. 29.
- 2. Al. Cant.
- 3. M. Temple Admiss.
- 4. Cambs. RO, Stapleford par. reg. transcript, 210.
- 5. Add. 5812, f. 13; Vis. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli), 48.
- 6. Cambs. RO, Gt. St. Mary’s par. reg. transcript.
- 7. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, f. 75v; C.H. Cooper, Annals of Camb. ii. 425.
- 8. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, ff. 83, 136v, 164, 170, 187v, 205, 295, 305, 329, 361.
- 9. Gray, 34.
- 10. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, f. 80.
- 11. C181/2, f. 291v; 181/5, f. 212.
- 12. C212/22/23.
- 13. C181/4, f. 22v; CUL, UA Coll. Admin. 5, f. 40.
- 14. C181/4, f. 154.
- 15. C181/5, f. 121.
- 16. A. and O. i. 243, 621, 637, 961, 1078.
- 17. Cambs. RO, Gt. St. Mary’s par. reg. transcript.
- 18. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, passim.
- 19. Ibid. f. 93v.
- 20. Ibid. f. 101; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 212.
- 21. Nicholas, i. 212-13; CJ, i. 560a.
- 22. Downing Coll. Camb. Lib., Liber Rationalis, 1611-28, ff. 189v, 196.
- 23. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, f. 102.
- 24. Downing Coll. Camb. Lib., Bowtell ms 63, iii. 431-7.
- 25. Cambs. RO, Mun. Rm. Shelf C.7, f. 198v.
- 26. Downing Coll. Camb. Lib., Bowtell ms 12, Wickstede’s Thesaurus, pt. 1, f. 107.
- 27. Gray, 34.
- 28. PROB 11/208, ff. 8v-12.