BELASYSE, Richard (c.1670-1729), of Lincoln’s Inn and Hampstead, Mdx.
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Family and Education
b. c.1670, o. s. of William Belasyse of Owton, co. Dur. by 2nd w. Catherine Brandling of Middleton, Yorks. educ. M. Temple 1689; I. Temple 1696; L. Inn 1699. m. lic. 14 Feb. 1701, aged 30, Margaret Marshall of St. Clement Dane, London, s.p. suc. fa. by 1681.1
Freeman, Durham 1702.2
?Groom porter at gate, 1702–d.3
Belasyse inherited an estate encumbered with debts and in 1693 released all his rights to Owton to his uncle Sir Henry Belasyse*. Thereafter he resided principally in London where, despite not being called to the bar of any of the three inns of court to which he was admitted, he established a legal practice, the success of which is suggested by his purchase in 1711 of over £3,000 of South Sea stock. Belasyse’s parliamentary aspirations were first evident in 1702 when he stood for Morpeth, presumably on his uncle’s interest, but he did not enter the Commons until returned for Mitchell in 1710. The ‘Hanover list’ classed him as a Tory, and in 1711 he was included among the ‘worthy patriots’ who had helped uncover the mismanagements of the previous ministry. On 3 Mar. 1711 he was granted a three-month leave of absence. He told on three occasions during the next session: against the expulsion of his uncle Sir Henry Belasyse (15 Feb. 1712); on the Tory side in the Carlisle election case (23 Feb.); and against the third reading of a rider, to exempt wills from being stamped, to the charitable uses bill (7 June). Belasyse was also involved in a more personal matter during this session, as he and his wife were signatories, in respect of their role as administrators of the deceased brother of Belasyse’s wife, to a petition heard by the House on 4 Apr. requesting the payment of arrears owed to officers in a marine troop. Belasyse was the first-named Member appointed to the committee ordered to consider this petition, but though the committee’s report recommending that the arrears be paid was agreed by the House on 24 May, no further action was taken. The matter was revived in the following session when a further petition, again signed by Belasyse and his wife, was heard by the Commons on 9 June 1713, but when the report upon this petition was considered ten days later it was ordered to lie on the table. Between April and June Belasyse managed through the House a bill for the ease of sheriffs. He appears to have become disillusioned with the ministry by this time, as on 6 May he voted against the French wines duty bill. Alternative versions of the list of the division of 18 June upon the French commerce bill have Belasyse voting both for and against this measure, the second of these lists classing him as ‘whimsical’. In the light of his vote of 6 May it seems most likely that Belasyse opposed the French commerce bill, and such a vote may well explain why he was dropped from Mitchell in favour of his uncle at the 1713 election. He did not stand for election again and little more is known of his life. Belasyse died in 1729, being buried at Hampstead on 14 May, and four years later his wife was granted administration of his estate.4