WRIGHT, Robert (c.1549-1611), of Shrewsbury, Salop and Richmond, Surr.
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Family and Education
b. c.1549, 1st s. of Peter Wright of Shrewsbury. educ. Shrewsbury 1562; Trinity Coll. Camb. BA 1571, MA 1574, BD 1580. m. Dorothy, da. of Sir Richard Walwyn of Much Marcle, Herefs., wid. of John Farnham of Nether Hall, Leics., s.p. Kntd. 1605.1
Tutor to Earl of Essex by 1576, then steward, finally clerk of his stable by 25 Dec. 1596.2
Wright was the son of a shoemaker and grandson of a husbandman. His education enabled him to attach himself to the Earl of Essex, and he was described by Sir James Whitelock in his Liber Famelicus as a ‘grave and sober man’ who had ‘attained by his virtue to good estate and quality’. As steward to Essex he had excellent perquisites. He received considerable grants of land on behalf of the Earl, on which his name was usually coupled with those of Thomas Crompton and Gelly Meyrick. By 1595 he had twice sat in the Commons, each time in a seat provided by his patron. He was directly nominated at Tamworth after Essex had obtained a new charter for the borough appointing himself high steward. At Shrewsbury, a more delicate approach was necessary. Essex recommended Wright to the bailiffs at a time when the town had recently incurred his displeasure, and they complied with his request ‘notwithstanding earnest suit made for others’. Before the election, the bailiffs entertained Wright with ‘wine, sugar, biscuits, marmalade, codlings and rosewater’.3
It is surprising that Wright’s ‘unspotted love’ for Essex did not involve him in his patron’s fall. He apparently even retained his office of clerk of the stable. In his will, dated 21 Nov. 1608, he asked to be buried ‘without any solemnity’ and, ‘again and again in ... humblest devotion’, commended his soul to the Trinity. The major part of his property he left to his wife, though there were substantial bequests to his brother Richard, his sister Lucy Studley and their children, the boys receiving his books, the girls his bolsters and bedding. £150 was set aside for the almshouses of Richmond. An inquisition post mortem was held in 1611.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xii. 196-7; H. E. Forrest, Shrewsbury Burgess Roll, 48.
- 2. HMC Hatfield, ii. 215; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 322.
- 3. CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 696; 1591-4, pp. 9, 180; 1595-7, p. 61; Neale, Commons, 237-8; HMC 15th Rep. X, 56-7; Owen and Blakeway, Hist. Shrewsbury, i. 550; Early Chrons. Shrewsbury, ed. Leighton, 825-6; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 4), xii. 197.
- 4. PCC 29 Wingfield; C142/313/93.