BRIGHT (formerly LIDDELL), John (1671-1735), of Badsworth, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1698 - 17 Jan. 1700
1 Feb. 1700 - Nov. 1701

Family and Education

b. 23 Mar. 1671, 2nd s. of Henry Liddell*.  educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1689, MA 1690; M. Temple 1689.  m. Cordelia, da. of Samuel Clutterbuck, of Hydes, Ingatestone, Essex, common councilman of London, 4s. (3 d.v.p.) 3da. (2 d.v.p.).  suc. maternal gdfa. at Badsworth and assumed name of Bright 1688.1

Offices Held


Settled in the neighbourhood of Pontefract since the 15th century, the Brights were a wealthy West Riding family. In the early 17th century their Yorkshire estates were said to be worth £1,000 p.a. During the Civil Wars John Bright† had been one of the West Riding’s leading Parliamentarians, and his loyalty to the Commonwealth extended to assisting the suppression of Sir George Booth’s† rising of 1659. The following year, however, Bright supported the Restoration and in July 1660 was granted a baronetcy. The death of his only son six years later meant that when the baronet died in September 1688 he was succeeded in his estates by the second and third sons of his eldest daughter, who had married the leading Durham colliery owner Henry Liddell. The Carbrook estates were settled upon Henry, while the remainder of the estate was inherited by John. Upon gaining his grandfather’s estate John Liddell assumed the surname Bright.2

John Bright (as he was now known) successfully contested Pontefract in 1698. In about September a comparison of the old and new Commons classed him as a Country party supporter, but on 18 Jan. 1699 he voted against the third reading of the disbanding bill. He was otherwise an inactive Member, and on 11 Dec. was sent for in custody, having been absent from a call of the House. He was discharged the following day. At the beginning of this session Robert Monckton* had renewed his petition against Bright’s election at Pontefract, and when on 17 Jan. 1700 the House considered the report Bright’s election was voided and a new writ ordered. At the consequent by-election Bright again defeated Monckton. He continued to make little impression upon the records of the House, though an analysis of the House dating from early 1700 listed him in the interest of the Junto. Bright retained his seat at the first election of 1701, his only recorded activity in this Parliament being to tell on 15 Apr. 1701 in favour of a Whig attempt to delay consideration of the report upon the East Retford election.

Bright ‘declined standing’ at the second 1701 election, and does not appear to have stood for Parliament again. He was, however, active in the Whig interest at the 1708 Pontefract election, Bright and his former adversary Monckton being ‘sent’ to the borough by the Duke of Newcastle (John Holles†) to assist attempts to unseat Sir John Bland, 4th Bt.* His continuing partisan loyalties were also evident in February 1715. Lord Carlisle (Charles Howard*) requested that Bright investigate allegations that the Tory Sir Arthur Kaye, 3rd Bt.*, had circulated copies of The English Advice to Freeholders of England at the West Riding’s quarter sessions. Carlisle hoped that if Bright could prove the charge Kaye would be expelled from the Commons. Little more is known of Bright until his death. Family and local historians have customarily fixed the date of this as 1737, but two contemporary obituaries state that Bright died at Badsworth on 6 Oct. 1735. He was succeeded by his only surviving son, Thomas.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Richard Harrison


  • 1. J. Foster, Peds. of Yorks. Fams. i. (Bright); Surtees, Dur. ii. 213; J. R. Woodhead, Rulers of London (London and Mdx. Arch. Soc.), 49; J. Hunter, Hallamshire ed. A. Gatty, 417–18.
  • 2. W. S. Porter, Notes on Hallamshire Fam. of Bright, 2–7; DNB (Bright, Sir John).
  • 3. W. Yorks. Archs. (Leeds), Temple Newsam mss TN/C9/150, William Lowther II* to Ld. Irwin (Arthur Ingram*), 17 Nov. 1701; Bagot mss at Levens Hall, Bland to James Grahme*, 25 May 1708; HMC Portland, v. 507–8; Boyer, Pol. State, l. 447; London Mag. 1735, p. 571.