RIDLEY, Matthew (1711-78), of Heaton Hall, Northumb.
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Family and Education
b. 14 Nov. 1711, 2nd s. of Richard Ridley, merchant, mayor of Newcastle 1713 and 1732, of Heaton Hall by Margaret, da. of Matthew White, mayor of Newcastle 1703, of Blagdon, Northumb. educ. Westminster 1724; St. John’s, Oxf. 1727; G. Inn 1728, called 1732, bencher 1749. m. (1) 1735, secretly, Hannah (d. 7 Nov. 1741), da. of Joseph Barnes, recorder of Newcastle, 1s.; (2) 18 Nov. 1742, his 1st cos. Elizabeth, da. of Matthew White of Blagdon, sis. and h. of Sir Matthew White, 1st Bt., 8s. 4da. suc. fa. 1739.
Mayor, Newcastle 1733, 1745, 1751, 1759; gov. Merchant Adventurers 1739.
Ridley’s grandfather was a successful Newcastle merchant. His father, who married the daughter of a wealthy Newcastle merchant and coal-owner, bought Heaton, where he built the present Hall. Admitted to the Hostman’s Company in December 1727 and to the Merchant Adventurers in October 1731, in 1732 he was made an alderman during the mayoralty of his father, who had built up a powerful party in the corporation.1 Next year he was elected mayor, the youngest man to have held that office. In 1741 he stood unsuccessfully for Newcastle. During the rebellion of 1745, as mayor of Newcastle, he took prompt measures to defend the town against the rebels, receiving an express from the Duke of Newcastle in September,
authorising me to form companies of his Majesty’s well affected subjects in this place, and to grant commissions to officers for the command of the same. Also that stores of arms and ammunition are ordered hither forthwith, that the place may be put into the best posture of defence against the enemies of his Majesty in case they make an attempt upon it.2
He subsequently received the King’s particular thanks from the Duke of Cumberland.3 Returned unopposed on a compromise as a government supporter in 1747, he spoke, 8 May 1753, in favour of a bill for establishing a census.
He died 6 Apr. 1778.