ROBERTS, Gabriel (c.1665-aft.1734), of Ampthill, Beds.
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Family and Education
b. c.1665, 2nd s. of William Roberts, Vintner, of St. Katherine Cree, London by Martha, da. of Francis Dashwood, Turkey merchant and alderman of London, sis. of Sir Samuel* and Sir Francis Dashwood, 1st Bt.* m. (1) 25 Aug. 1687, Elizabeth, da. of Charles Proby, sometime of Fort St. George, Madras sis. of William Proby of Fort St. George and Elton, Hunts., s.p.; (2) Mary, da. of Sir Francis Wenman, 1st Bt.†, of Caswell House, Curbridge, Oxon., 1s.1
Receiver of sea customs at Fort St. George 1688–9; member, Levant Co. 1691–aft. 1701; asst. R. African Co. 1695–1701; cttee. Old E. I. Co. 1698–1701; dep.-gov. of Fort St. David, Madras 1702–3, 1704–9; second of council at Fort St. George 1702–9; dir. S. Sea Co. 1724–33.2
Commr. taking subscriptions to land bank 1696.3
Roberts’ family originated from Anglesey in the early 17th century. He could boast a formidable mercantile pedigree, being a grandson of Lewis Roberts, East India and Turkey merchant and author of The Merchant’s Mappe of Commerce (1638), and a nephew of Sir Gabriel Roberts (d. 1714), deputy-governor of the Royal African and Levant Companies. In 1678 he inherited a third part of his father’s estate, distributed according to London custom, and in 1683 he joined the East India Company as a writer, serving six years at Fort St. George, where he married in 1687. After a spell with his Dashwood uncles on the committee of the Old Company, he was sent again to India in 1701 and the following year took his place as second of council at Fort St. George under Thomas Pitt I*. On Pitt’s departure in 1709 he resigned his place, though he did not in fact set out for home himself until 1711. He settled at Ampthill, acquiring a property there from the Bruce family, on whose interest he was returned at Marlborough. He was not active in the proceedings of the House. Despite his numerous Dissenting connexions, the Worsley list classed him as a Tory.4
The date of Roberts’ death has not been ascertained. No new writ was moved before Parliament’s prorogation on 16 Apr. 1734, and he did not stand at the ensuing general election. Further, it may have been age or ill-health which ended his term as a director of the South Sea Company in 1733.
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch. Soc.), 139; Cussans, Herts. Hitchin, 52; Lipscomb, Bucks. iii. 132.
- 2. Info. from Prof. H. Horwitz and Prof. R. R. Walcott; K.G. Davies, R. African Co. 386.
- 3. CJ, xii. 509.
- 4. Vis. London (Harl. Soc. xvii), 202; PCC 37 Reeve; DNB (Roberts, Lewis); Ranke, vi. 221; Le Neve, Mon. Angl. 1700–15, p. 291; Davies, 378; H. D. Love, Vestiges of Old Madras, i. 483; ii. 67; HMC 15th Rep, 225; info. from Prof. G. S. De Krey.