NEWDIGATE, Richard (1679-1745), of Hawton, Notts.; Lewes, Suss.; and the Middle Temple
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Family and Education
bap. 22 Dec. 1679, 1st s. of Thomas Newdigate of Hawton and Lewes by Charitie, da. and coh. of Stephen French of Lewes. educ. St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. 1697; M. Temple 1697, called 1704, bencher 1733, treasurer 1745. unm. suc. fa. 1723.1
Newdigate’s father was the sixth son of Sir Richard Newdigate, 1st Bt.†, a Protectorate judge, and the brother of Sir Richard Newdigate, 2nd Bt.† Newdigate snr. acquired an estate at Hawton near Newark from the Molyneux family and had Newdigate House erected in Nottingham, but it would seem that he was more active in local affairs in Sussex (where he had inherited land through his wife) than in Nottinghamshire, at least until 1706 when he ceased to be active as a Sussex j.p. This may explain why although he was pricked as sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1693, George Gregory* served instead. In the family tradition Newdigate himself received a legal education and pursued a career as a barrister. However, nothing is known of the family’s parliamentary aspirations until 1710 when Thomas Newdigate informed the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†) that his son would offer his services to the corporation of Newark, and asked for Newcastle’s support. Newcastle neatly sidestepped this request, but Newdigate was none the less returned along with Sir Thomas Willoughby, 2nd Bt.*, for whom Newdigate had voted in the county contest of that year. A subsequent petition from Richard Sutton*, which he survived, alleged that his agents had used violence and bribery to win the election.2
In the new Parliament, Newdigate was noted as a Tory on the ‘Hanover list’. On 27 Feb. 1711 he was granted leave of absence for a month to go into the country. However, he was included among those listed as ‘worthy patriots’ who had assisted in detecting the mismanagements of the previous ministry during the 1710–11 session, and on 18 June 1713 he voted for the French commerce bill. Re-elected in 1713, he was noted as a Tory on the Worsley list. He acted as a teller on three occasions in the 1714 session: on 24 May against a Whig motion to instruct the committee on the bill for the better maintenance of curates to stop the sale of reversions to ecclesiastical livings with cure of souls; on 22 June in favour of an address thanking the Queen for surrendering her share of the asiento to the South Sea Company; and on 6 July in favour of instructing the committee on the Lords’ bill to prevent the growth of popery to receive a clause encouraging the holders of Roman Catholic advowsons to sell them to Anglicans. He also assisted in the management of a bill to make the Trent navigation more effectual, reporting it from committee on 31 May.
Despite a prediction that Newdigate would ‘certainly be chose’, he was defeated at the 1715 election. He petitioned against the return of both Sutton and Conyers Darcy†, alleging ‘threats, bribery and other illegal practices’. Before the committee of elections could consider the matter, Darcy had resigned his seat upon taking office but in December 1715 defeated Newdigate in the ensuing by-election. This defeat marked the end of Newdigate’s political career. He went on to achieve high office in the Middle Temple and evidently retired to Lewes, for in 1742 he was named as a trustee for some land there given for use as a pest-house. He died on 17 Dec. 1745 and was buried four days later in the grounds of the Middle Temple.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. Burke, Commoners, ii. 700; Vis. Eng. and Wales Notes ed. Crisp, vii. 43; Suss. Arch. Coll. xiv. 229; info. from Dr D. F. Lemmings; J. T. Godfrey, Notes on St. Mary’s Par. Reg. 44.
- 2. F. A. Crisp, Frag. Gen. xii. 20; Suss. Arch. Coll. cxxxii. 137; Pollbks. of Nottingham and Notts. (Thoroton Soc. Rec. Ser. xviii.), 37, 152; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Portland (Holles) mss Pw2 170a, b, Thomas Newdigate to [Newcastle], 21 Aug. 1710, W. Wenman to Thomas Newdigate, 21 Aug. 1710.
- 3. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Letters ed. Halsband, i. 227; Lewes Town Bk. 1702–1837 (Suss. Rec. Soc. lxix), 34; M.T. Bench Bk. 165; H. G. Woods, Recs. Burials at Temple Church, 53.