BRIDGEMAN, Sir Henry, 5th Bt. (1725-1800), of Weston Park, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. 7 Sept. 1725, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir Orlando Bridgeman†, 4th Bt., of Castle Bromwich, Warws. and Great Lever, Lancs. by Lady Anne Newport, da. of Richard Newport†, 2nd Earl of Bradford. educ. Queens’, Camb. 1744; L. Inn 1744. m. 12 July 1755, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Rev. John Simpson of Stoke Hall, Derbys., 5s. 3da. suc. mat. uncle, Thomas, 4th Earl of Bradford, in Weston estate 1762; fa. as 5th Bt. 25 July 1764; cr. Baron Bradford 13 Aug. 1794.
Clerk of household to Prince of Wales 1756-60; clerk comptroller of board of green cloth 1761-Apr. 1764; recorder, Wenlock 1774-d.
Bridgeman sat for Ludlow for 20 years on the Powis interest and for Wenlock for 26 years in alliance with George Forester†. The latter retired in 1790, but Bridgeman clung on, subject since 1784 to his constituents’ independent approval. His pretensions to a peerage, as representative of the Newports, earls of Bradford, had been recognized as long ago as 1766, but remained unrealized. He was a Portland Whig: the duke buttressed Bridgeman’s long-established interest at Wigan, represented by his heir. A member of the Whig Club since 7 Nov. 1785, he voted with opposition against Pitt’s Russian policy, 12 Apr. 1791 and 1 Mar. 1792. There being doubts as to his (and his son Orlando’s) voting intention on the proposition to repeal the Test Act in Scotland, the matter was referred to Portland. He was on Windham’s provisional list for a ‘third party’ prepared to support government at war early in 1793, but his attachment remained to Portland. He ceased to act with opposition and was one of the four peers created on Portland’s junction with government in 1794. He was then being described as Father of the House. His voice had apparently had not been heard in debate since 1770. He secured the return of his second son in his place for Wenlock. He died 5 June 1800.