KENT, Richard (c.1642-90), of Westminster and Corsham, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1642, 3rd s. of Robert Kent of Winterbourne Dauntsey, Wilts. by his w. Dorothy. m. 13 Feb. 1666, aged 23, Bridget (d. 1692), da. of one Harris of Covent Garden, Westminster, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.1
Clerk of the Pay Office 1661–74; receiver-gen. and cashier of excise 1674–76, commr. 1675–76; receiver-gen. and cashier of customs 1677–89; six clerk in Chancery July–Aug. 1682.2
Common councilman, London by 1690.
Kent, whose uncle, William Kent, had represented Devizes under James I, was descended from a minor gentry family of Boscombe in south Wiltshire. He was plucked from relative obscurity by Sir Stephen Fox*, whose Wiltshire estate lay close to that of Kent’s family, and this connexion was later strengthened by Kent’s sister’s marriage to Fox’s nephew Nicholas, paymaster of the forces under Charles II. Kent remained in Fox’s service until at least 1674, by which time he had established a banking partnership with Charles Duncombe*. In 1677, he became cashier of customs, with a salary of £1,000 p.a. He resigned this office in February 1689 to Fox’s nephew Thomas, either for a financial consideration or through declining health. He certainly received from the Treasury ‘some allowance for his additional trouble of receiving the new impositions, which were granted in the time of the late King James . . . besides his salary’.3
Kent was returned at Chippenham on his own interest, as the owner of Sheldon and Corsham manors which he had purchased from Sir Edward Hungerford* in 1684. Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) marked him as a Tory and as a probable Court supporter in a list of March 1690, and at the same time Kent was included in a group of City Tories to be canvassed about the proposed loan of £100,000 to the crown. Elected as one of the commissioners of accounts in the following May, with the fewest votes of the successful candidates, he excused himself from serving, ‘acquainting the House, that he was [i.e. had been] one of the accountants to their Majesties’.4
Kent made his will on 14 Mar. 1689. Asking to be buried ‘without pomp or ostentation’, he left his wife an annuity of £500 to be derived from his scattered estates in London, Middlesex and Wiltshire. Further bequests of £1,200 were made to other relatives, while £10,000 was to be provided for his daughter’s portion. Kent also set aside £2,000 to be used in alternate years for the poor of Winterbourne Dauntsey, his birthplace, and Winterbourne Earls, a neighbouring village, and he made provision for an additional £8,000 to be raised from his estate should he die before securing this sum for his charity. His son having predeceased him, Kent instructed Fox, an executor, to purchase further property to be settled on his nephew, John Kent. Within three years John had sold the Chippenham manors to Richard Lewis*. Kent died on 23 Nov. 1690 and was buried next to his son in Corsham.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: D. W. Hayton / Henry Lancaster
- 1. Wilts. N. and Q. vii. 232–3; St. Mary Somerset Reg. (Harl. Soc. lix), 223.
- 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 265, 685; iv. 254, 326, 807; C. Clay, Public Finance and Private Wealth, 141–3; T. D. Hardy, Principal Officers of Chancery, 111.
- 3. VCH Wilts. xv. 57; Clay, 81–82, 107, 176, 234–5; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 2168; HMC Lords, iii. 415.
- 4. Clay, 179; Dorset RO, Fox-Strangways mss, Sir Peter Rich† to Fox, 17 Mar. 1690; Chandler, ii. 382.
- 5. Wilts. N. and Q. 233–5; Aubrey and Jackson, Wilts. Colls. 79; PCC 47 Vere.