BRIDGEMAN, Sir Orlando, 2nd Bt. (1678-1746), of Bloomsbury Square, Mdx.; Coventry, Warws. and Bowood, nr. Calne, Wilts.
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Family and Education
bap. 27 Apr. 1678, o. s. of Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Bt.†, of Little Park Street, Coventry and Ridley, Cheshire, by Mary, da. of Sir Thomas Cave, 1st Bt., of Stanford Hall, Northants. educ. Rugby 1689; Trinity, Oxf. 1694. m. lic. 15 Apr. 1702 (with £10,000), Susannah (d. 1747), da. of Sir Francis Dashwood, 1st Bt.*, 3s. (2 d.v.p.) 2da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 20 Apr. 1701.1
Clerk of household to the Prince of Wales 1716–27; ld. of Trade 1727–37; gov. Barbados 1737–8.
Bridgeman, a grandson of Charles II’s lord keeper, succeeded to his father’s baronetcy and estates in 1701, a year or so after attaining his majority, and in 1702 made a financially advantageous match with a daughter of the wealthy City merchant, Sir Francis Dashwood. As part of the marriage settlement Bridgeman acquired Wanstead, one of Dashwood’s manors in Essex, which for a while he used as his main country residence but later sold. From his father he had inherited Bowood, a lease from the crown which was renewed in 1702. His father had been a well-known figure in Coventry where the family had an appreciable interest, and in 1705 Bridgeman himself put up as a Whig candidate there. Though defeated, he and his partner petitioned and succeeded in having the election declared void. Despite a ‘very vigorous opposition’, they succeeded in reversing the previous result in a second contest in February 1707. Bridgeman was classed as a Whig in two lists of early 1708, and was re-elected at Coventry in the election of May that year. The losing Tory candidates petitioned, and when the matter was considered before the elections committee in March 1709 he was confronted with accusations of bribery and a compromising report that he had told the sheriffs that ‘could he be returned by any majority, there would be a Parliament would do anything for him’. Notwithstanding, the opinion of the House carried in his favour. He was listed as having voted both for the naturalization of the Palatines and for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. Defeated at Coventry in 1710 as a result of the Tory resurgence in the city, he did not stand in 1713. In 1715 he was successful at the Wiltshire borough of Calne, where he exercised some influence by virtue of his seat at nearby Bowood.2
Bridgeman was afterwards a close supporter of Walpole and in 1727 was rewarded with a place on the Board of Trade. However, his building activities at Bowood, on which he had acquired the fee simple in 1727, brought escalating financial difficulty upon him. In 1738, shortly after obtaining the governorship of Barbados, he feigned his own suicide by drowning. He was later found, however, in October at an inn at Slough where he had taken refuge. He was buried on 5 Dec. 1746, having died in Gloucester gaol.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. IGI, Warws.; Colls. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. ii. 238, 250–1; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xli. 503–6; Rugby Sch. Reg. ed. Solly, i. 11; Bodl. D. D. Dashwood (Bucks.) mss A2, f. 15; St. Botolph Bishopsgate Regs. ii. 362, 427.
- 2. Colls. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. 251; Wilts. Arch. Mag. xli. 412, 423, 504; Beaufort mss at Badminton House, Edward Hopkins* to [Ld. Coventry], 20 Feb. 1707; Add. 36868, ff. 9–10.
- 3. HMC Egmont Diary, ii. 510; Wilts. Arch. Mag. 505; Gent. Mag. (1746), p. 668.