BIDDULPH, Michael (1661-97), of Polesworth, Warws.
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Family and Education
b. 19 Nov. 1661, 1st s. of Michael Biddulph of Polesworth by Frances, da. and coh. of Dr John Kingston of London. educ. St. Catharine’s, Camb. 1678. m. Lucy, da. and h. of George Wale of Radwinter, Essex, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1673.1
The Biddulphs were London merchants, although the elder branch of the family acquired an estate at Elmshurst, Staffordshire in the 17th century and Biddulph’s father the manor of Polesworth in north Warwickshire through marriage. Little is known of Biddulph’s public career until he stood for Tamworth in 1690, although a remark that ‘the Presbyterians were for him the last time’ to spite Viscount Weymouth (Thomas Thynne†) suggests that he may have made an interest there in the election to the Convention. He had the support of most of the corporation and the neighbouring gentry in 1690 as the only Churchman capable of joining with Sir Henry Gough* to defeat Thomas Guy* and Sir Charles Wolseley, 2nd Bt.† After receiving many letters on his behalf, Weymouth declared his support for Biddulph and Gough, who were returned ahead of Guy.2
At the beginning of the new Parliament Biddulph’s name appears on a list marked by the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) where he was classed as doubtful, probably because he was a new Member. In the 1690–1 session Biddulph was named in third place to the committee of elections and privileges. In a list of December 1690 Carmarthen noted him as a likely supporter, possibly in relation to a projected attack upon him in the Commons. In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed Biddulph as a Court supporter. On 15 Jan. 1692 he moved that the House desire the dean of St. Paul’s to preach before them on the anniversary of Charles I’s execution, and was duly deputed to make the request himself. In February he managed the Earl of Suffolk’s estate bill through the House. When he carried the bill back to the Lords on 17 Feb. he also carried a message from the Commons to remind the Upper House of the bill for reducing interest. In the 1692–3 session he was appointed to another drafting committee. According to Samuel Grascome’s list of spring 1693 he was a Court supporter with a place or pension. In the 1693–4 session he was appointed to two drafting committees and told on 16 Feb. 1694 against passing a resolution against Lord Falkland (Anthony Carey*).3
Biddulph did not stand at the election of 1695, although he appears to have remained active in local politics, for he took the Association to be subscribed at Tamworth along with John Chetwynd*. He died on 26 July 1697, leaving his estate to the eldest of his young children, with £1,000 each to his three other children. His cousin, Anthony Biddulph of Ledbury, Hertfordshire, was appointed their guardian.4