SNEYD, Ralph (1692-1733), of Keele Hall and Bradwell, Staffs.
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Family and Education
bap. 17 May 1692, o. s. of Ralph Sneyd of Keele by Frances, da. of Sir William Noel of Kirkby Mallory, Leics. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1708. m. 22 Apr. 1718, Anna, da. of Allen Holford of Davenham, Cheshire, 4s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. gdfa. 1703.1
Sheriff, Staffs. 1721.
The Sneyds were a Staffordshire family who had made their fortune in trade in the 16th century. Both Sneyd’s great-grandfather and great-uncle were MPs in the Restoration period and his grandfather was a deputy-lieutenant at his death in 1703. Little is known about Sneyd’s early life until he was elected to Parliament only a few months after his 21st birthday at the general election of 1713. On the Worsley list of this Parliament he was classed as a Tory. Not surprisingly, given his relative youth, he was not an active Member during the 1714 session. He was nominated on 23 Mar. to draft a Staffordshire highways bill, but may have been absent from the later stages of the session, having on 4 May been granted leave to go into the country for a month.2
Outside the Commons Sneyd’s activities are difficult to differentiate from those of his numerous relatives, especially his namesake, and second cousin, Ralph Sneyd of Bishton, who was a j.p. in the later years of Queen Anne’s reign. Ralph Sneyd of Keele has been regarded as a Jacobite owing to his role as the instigator of a riot at Newcastle-under-Lyme in July 1715 (for which he was subsequently indicted) during which the Dissenting meeting-house and the homes of prominent Nonconformists were attacked and Jacobite slogans chanted. The episode does not seem to have prevented his appointment as a j.p. in the commission of July 1717, and his name may simply have been inadvertently left out at first. This omission was rectified when Lord Chief Justice Parker (Thomas*) discovered it, as he related to Sneyd, while acting as an arbitrator in a dispute over compensation claims for damages against him for his role in the riots. Either Sneyd or a namesake was regarded in 1721 as likely to support a Jacobite rising. He retained his place on the bench until his death, which, when added to his appointment as a deputy-lieutenant in 1725 (upon Lord Ferrers’ appointment as lord lieutenant), may indicate that he had modified his political stance, whereas his cousin of Bishton was left out of the commission in March 1718 due to his son’s intervention against a government candidate in a by-election at Lichfield. Ralph Sneyd died at the end of October and was buried on 4 Nov. 1733. None of his immediate descendants sat in the Commons, although William Sneyd of Bishton sat as a Tory for Lichfield for a few months in 1718.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. R. Simms, Bibliotheca Staffordiensis, 418; R. Simms, Nota Staffordiensis, iii. 16; Ormerod, Cheshire, iii. 493.
- 2. N. Staffs. Jnl. Field Studies, ii. 13; Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss 3085.
- 3. N. Staffs. Jnl. Field Studies, xiv. 73–75; PRO, ASSI 2/7, p. 240; C 234/34; Stowe 750, f. 272; Sneyd mss 3086; P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, p. 153; Bibliotheca Staffordiensis, 418.