WRIGHT, Richard (c.1568-1639), of Sherborne, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1568, 1st s. of Robert Wright of Sturminster Newton. educ. Sherborne c.1585; Magdalen Coll. Oxf. Nov. 1588, aged 20; New Coll. BA Feb. 1592; M. Temple 1598. m., issue.2

Offices Held

Under-sheriff, Dorset 1598; farmer of the import duty on currants 1604; mayor, Lyme Regis 1617-18; customer, Weymouth by 1630/1.3


Of a minor family, Wright received an expensive education, and was perhaps destined for the law or church. He began by making himself available for small jobs in the county, and eventually became a customs official. He was employed as a ‘clerk’ in 1592 when the cargo of the Madre de Dios, a captured Spanish carrack, was sold off, and in 1602 his services were especially requested in a similar capacity. His seat in the 1597 Parliament was apparently obtained for him through the influence of the 3rd Marquess of Winchester.4

Since Wright was returned for Queenborough as ‘Mr. Wright the merchant’ he was presumably (there are a number of contemporary namesakes) the ‘Mr. Wright, a member of this House’ who, it was reported to the Commons on 11 Apr. 1606, was responsible for the celebrated committal to prison of the merchant Bate for not paying duty on a cargo of currants.5

‘Richard Wright, gent., of Sherborne, Dorset’ made his will 7 Mar. 1639, proved 23 May. A sister and several grandchildren are mentioned. The executor and residuary legatee was his son-in-law Charles Lawrence, who was a customs official in Weymouth at the outset of the civil war. The estate included prize ships and goods.6

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Al. Ox. i(4), p. 1687; M. T. Recs. i. 387; PCC 89 Harvey.
  • 3. St. Ch. 5/R38/3; CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 161, 427; G. Roberts, Lyme Regis and Charmouth, 360; E134/9, 10 Chas. I, Hil. 39
  • 4. HMC Hatfield, iv. 239-40; xii. 202.
  • 5. Bowyer Diary, 119; SP14/18/46, ex inf. Kathleen Sommers.
  • 6. PCC 89 Harvey.