FREMAN, Ralph (c.1665-1742), of Aspenden Hall, Herts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



30 Dec. 1697 - 1727

Family and Education

b. c.1665, 1st s. of Ralph Freman, M.P., by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Aubrey, 1st Bt., of Llantrithyd, Glam. m. Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Thomas Catesby of Ecton, Northants., 3s. suc. fa. 1714.

Offices Held

Chairman of committee of privileges and elections 1710-13.


Freman was the great-grandson of a London merchant, who bought the manor of Aspenden in Hertfordshire at the beginning of the 17th century. A Hanoverian Tory, he is said to have refused an offer of a seat on the Admiralty board by George I on his accession.1 When it was moved that a loyal address should be presented on the outbreak of the rebellion in 1715, he proposed and the House agreed that at so important a juncture they should lose no time in drawing up an address but should forthwith lay the resolution before the King. Otherwise he spoke and voted consistently with the Opposition, securing the withdrawal of the peerage bill in April 1719 by a call of the House, which led a large number of Members to return to town to oppose it.2 After representing the county for 30 years, he was defeated by his brother-in-law, Charles Caesar, in 1727. According to his own account, when George II

came to the crown, his Majesty sent to him and told him he hoped that as he had always shown himself a friend to his family, he would be in the House in this first Parliament of his reign. Mr. Freman replied he did not think of standing, but if his Majesty thought it for his service, he would, but then he hoped his Majesty’s servants would not oppose him. The King replied they should on the contrary assist him. So down he went, but when the election came on he found the Government’s officers oppose him to a man in favour of Mr. Caesar, a much higher Tory than himself, who had gone all my Lord Bolingbroke’s length in Queen Anne’s reign, and whom the Jacobites now supported. Surprised at this, he caused those officers to be spoke to, who replied they dare not do otherwise, for it might cost them their employments. In a word, Mr. Freman lost the election, and being returned to London acquainted the King how he had been served. The King was very angry with Sir Robert. As he came out of his Majesty’s closet he met Sir Robert going in, who, stopping him, expressed his surprise that he had not carried his election, asked him how it was possible, and declared nothing had surprised and vexed him more. Mr. Freman replied, ‘Don’t ask me how I lost it, you know that better than I’, at which Sir Robert blushed up to his eyes, which, said Mr. Freman, is the only time I ever saw him blush.3

At the next general election Freman turned the tables on Caesar by joining with the Whigs to secure his defeat. He died 8 June 1742, aged 76.

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: A. N. Newman


  • 1. Worsley list.
  • 2. Pol. State, xvii. 427-8.
  • 3. HMC Egmont Diary, ii. 164-5.