BRIDGER, Richard (1620-99), of Coombe Place, Hamsey, Suss.
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Family and Education
bap. 13 Feb. 1620, 1st s. of Henry Bridger of Ashurst by Jane, da. of John Ravenscroft of Horsham. educ. Magdalen Hall, Oxf. 1638; I. Temple 1640. m. settlement 23 Mar. 1652 (with £1,300), Frances, da. of Walter Burrell of Cuckfield, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da. suc. fa. 1657.1
J.p. Suss. July 1660-July 1688, Nov. 1688-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-4, 1673-80, 1690, sewers, rapes of Lewes and Pevensey Sept. 1660; capt. of militia horse, Suss. by 1662, maj. of ft. by 1674, lt.-col. ?1689-bef. 1697-d.2
Bridger came from a West Sussex yeoman family which achieved gentry status only in the 17th century. He was in arms for the King in the Civil War, but submitted to Parliament in December 1645, and was fined £60. Even before his father’s death the decimators assessed him at £300 p.a. In 1658 he bought Coombe Place, two miles north-west of Lewes, with 207 acres, for £2,400. He was returned to the three Exclusion Parliaments for the borough, where his popularity was such that none of his elections cost him more than a hogshead of cider. He was marked ‘honest’ by Shaftesbury, but was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill, served on no committees, and made no speeches. He was approved as a candidate for the next Parliament by the Sussex dissenters in September 1681, and held his seat in 1685. He was appointed to his first committee in James II’s Parliament, that on the bill to prohibit the import of gunpowder. To the lord lieutenant’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws:
He can give no answer to the first question till he hears the debates in Parliament. ... He shall give his vote for the elections of Members of Parliament of known loyalty. ... He will live quietly with all sorts of persons, if he be suffered so to do.
He was removed from local office, but his confidence in his re-election proved fully justified. He again left no trace on the records of the Convention, and did not vote for the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He was buried at Warminghurst on 8 Jan. 1699, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: B. M. Crook
- 1. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. lxxxix) 17; F. W. Steer, Shiffner Archives, 11.
- 2. C181/7/55; Kent AO, U269/C46/5; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 473; Suss. Arch. Colls. xliii. 19.
- 3. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 156; SP23/176, pp. 629, 637, 642; Thurloe, iv. 240; Shiffner Archives, p. vi; Suss. Arch. Colls. xvii. 89; CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 473; W. C. Renshaw, Byne Fam. 65.