BIGG, Richard (c.1675-1731), of Wallingford, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. c.1675, 1st s. of David Bigg of Wallingford by his w. Mary. educ. Corpus Christi, Oxf. matric. 8 Mar. 1692, aged 16, BA 1695, MA 1698. m. (1) Anne (d. 1711), da. and h. of Thomas Renda*, 1da.; (2) 28 Sept. 1730, Elizabeth Breedon, prob. da. of John Breedon of Bere Court, Pangbourne. suc. fa. ?1700.1
Alderman, Wallingford 1700, mayor 1702, 1711, 1722, 1725; freeman, Reading 1702.2
Bigg’s paternal grandfather, Walter, served as Member for Wallingford in 1659, having previously had an active career as a major in the Parliamentarian army, a Presbyterian elder, sheriff of London and master of the Merchant Taylors’ Company. Upon his death in 1659 he left his property in St. Giles-in-the-Fields and in Berkshire to his elder son, David; the younger son, John†, inherited property in Huntingdonshire and sat for the county town in the Convention of 1689. David Bigg consolidated his position in Wallingford, serving as mayor on five occasions between 1672 and 1692, and as sheriff of the county in 1685. He was a Tory in politics, and his answers to King James’s ‘three questions’ possibly reflect his Presbyterian background, as he agreed to support the repeal of the Penal Laws but equivocated over the Test Acts. During James II’s reign he leased more land from the corporation in Wallingford and in 1690 secured a private Act which enabled him to sell most of his houses in St. Giles-in-the-Fields in order to make further purchases of property near his residence. This Act was managed in the Commons by Charles Hutchinson* and Simon Harcourt I*, the future Tory lord chancellor. Richard Bigg’s associations were to be with the Tories when he entered Parliament.3
Having succeeded his father some time around the beginning of 1700, Bigg quickly established his own position in Wallingford, serving as mayor in 1702. His Tory contacts were further strengthened by his marriage to the heiress of Thomas Renda, lessee of Wallingford Castle. It seems probable that Renda supported Bigg’s claims to a seat in 1713, as he did not then stand himself. Bigg was classed as a Tory on the Worsley list of 1713, but was inactive in the House. He lost his seat in 1715 and did not stand again. His will of November 1730 made provision for his mother and wife, most of his estates being placed in trust for the benefit of his only daughter and heiress, Elizabeth, the wife of John Cottingham.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. PCC 20 Noel, 82 Richmond; IGI, Berks.; VCH Berks. iii. 304.
- 2. Berks. RO, Wallingford bor. statute bk. 1648–1766, f. 187v; R/AC1/1/19, f.64v; J. K. Hedges, Hist. Wallingford, ii. 230–1.
- 3. C. M. Clode, Early Hist. Merchant Taylors’ Co. ii. 347; PCC 20 Noel, 514 Pell; VCH Hunts. ii. 235; iii. 63; Hedges, 230–1; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1883), 169; CJ, x. 433.
- 4. PCC 88 Isham; Hedges, 382.