LINDFIELD, Gilbert (d.1680), of Upper Brook Street, Ipswich, Suff.
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Family and Education
m. Bridget, da. of John Smythier, merchant, of Ipswich.2
Chamberlain, Ipswich 1652-3, common councilman 1658, portman 1663, bailiff 1665-6, 1671-2, 1678-9; capt. of militia ft. Suff. by 1661, maj. by 1676; commr. for assessment, Ipswich 1663-d., recusants Suff. 1675.3
Nothing is known of Lindfield’s origins, but he married the daughter of an Ipswich portman, and became one of the strongest supporters of the Restoration on the corporation. He signed the Suffolk petition for a free Parliament, helped to set up the royal arms in the town hall, and was reappointed ‘portman’, or alderman, in the charter of 1665. An innkeeper by trade, his premises at the sign of the Greyhound were of moderate dimensions, with only nine hearths; but they were licensed to retail wine, and chosen by the commissioners for the royal aid for the county as their meeting-place in 1665. He was himself a militia officer and one of the most active members of the corporation, being among those chosen to strike copper farthings for local use in 1669.4
Lindfield was first returned for the borough at a by-election to the Cavalier Parliament, taking his seat on 3 Feb. 1674. A moderately active Member, he was named to 35 committees, none of them of major political significance. The first was for a Suffolk charity bill sponsored by Sir John Pettus. One of the comparatively few genuine ‘burgesses’ in the House, he was chiefly interested in naturalization bills, the suppression of pedlars, and the export of wool and leather. A court supporter, he was entrusted on the working lists to the management of the Speaker (Edward Seymour), but Sir Richard Wiseman apparently doubted his reliability. Shaftesbury classed him as ‘doubly vile’, and he was on both lists of the court party in 1678. Although blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’, he was twice re-elected in 1679. In the first Exclusion Parliament Shaftesbury marked him ‘vile’. His only committee was on the bill for exporting leather, and he voted against the committal of the exclusion bill. The corporation granted him £20 in 1680 for his services in Parliament, but he may never have taken his seat in the second Exclusion Parliament. A new writ was ordered on 8 Dec.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Paula Watson
- 1. New writ.
- 2. F. Haslewood, Mon. Inscriptions from St. Matthew’s, 2.
- 3. East Anglian, n.s. ii. 99; iv. 218; vii. 91, 186, 347; viii. 302; information from Mr W. Serjeant, Suff. County Archivist.
- 4. Suff. and the Gt. Rebellion (Suff. Rec. Soc. iii), 129; East Anglian n.s. vi. 318; vii. 373; viii. 12; R. Canning, Principal Charters of Ipswich, 33; Hearth Tax Returns (Suff. Green Bks. xi), 171; Add. 39246, f. 21.
- 5. Add. 25335, f. 9.