OLIVER, Richard (fl.1620-1638), of St. Clement Danes, Westminster

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



6 Mar. 1626

Family and Education

m. Anne, ?da. of Edmund Porter of Mickleton, Glos.,1 at least 1da.2

Offices Held

Recvr.-gen. to George Villiers, 1st marq. (later 1st duke) of Buckingham by 1621-8,3 commr. for Buckingham’s estate by 1627-8;4 ?servant of William Feilding, 1st earl of Denbigh by 1630-at least 1638.5

Recvr. royal revenues, Yorks. 1628-at least 1636;6 kpr. Hartwell Park, Northants. 1629-at least 1630.7


Nothing is known of this Member’s parentage or background. He was not the Richard Oliver of East Norton in Leicestershire who was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1571 and died in 1625,8 nor was he the Richard Oliver of Spraxton in Somerset, who described himself as a yeoman in the 1620s.9 It seems unlikely that he was the Richard Oliver who served as a yeoman of the guard in 1609.10 This Member receives no mention until December 1620, when he was returned for the junior seat at Buckingham. His patron was almost certainly Buckinghamshire’s lord lieutenant, George Villiers, marquess (and later duke) of Buckingham, whose service he entered. Indeed, from at least November 1621 until the favourite’s death in August 1628 he was Buckingham’s receiver-general.

Oliver subsequently represented Buckingham in all the remaining parliaments of the 1620s except that of 1626, when he made way for the duke’s client Sir John Smyth III after the latter failed to get in at Rochester. Although not able to represent Buckingham in 1626, he was subsequently returned for Tiverton after his fellow Buckingham client John Drake plumped for Devon. Oliver was appointed to a legislative committee concerned with the New River on 22 Mar. 1624, but other than that he left no trace on the records of any of the parliaments in which he sat.11

During Buckingham’s absence in Spain in 1623, the favourite’s elder half-brother, Sir Edward Villiers*, interceded on Oliver’s behalf with secretary of state Sir Edward Conway I* regarding ‘a business concerning brokers’. Villiers explained that Oliver, who was ‘much esteemed’ by Buckingham, was too busy on his master’s business to attend to his own affairs.12 ‘Dick’ Oliver was certainly a pivotal figure in Buckingham’s financial affairs, for in May 1626, at the height of the parliamentary impeachment proceedings against the duke, Buckingham conveyed his entire estate to Oliver and Thomas Fotherley* as a means of keeping it from the clutches of his enemies.13 In April 1628 Oliver, aided by his brother-in-law and fellow Buckingham client Endymion Porter†, purchased the receivership of Yorkshire for £630 from Sir Arthur Ingram*.14 This brought him into conflict with John Bland and Robert Edwards, who claimed to be the rightful holders of this office. The dispute was referred to the arbitration of the lord keeper (Sir Thomas Coventry*) and the lord treasurer (Sir James Ley*), who ruled that Oliver should pay the complainants £350 by way of compensation. Bland subsequently tried to continue collecting the queen’s revenues in Yorkshire, which he claimed were not covered by Oliver’s grant, but in March 1629, following fresh appeals on both sides, he was ordered to desist.15

Oliver was one of the executors of Buckingham’s will, in which the duke left him £1,000 in cash; as late as 1635 this money had not been paid.16 Following his master’s death, he may have transferred his services to Buckingham’s brother-in-law, William Feilding, 1st earl of Denbigh, with whom he was associated in several property transactions during the 1630s.17 He also became a royal servant, for in July 1629 the king appointed him keeper of Hartwell Park, in Northampton, although he had evidently been carrying out the duties of this office for at least a year.18 The grant assigned a reversionary interest to Charles Porter, second son of Oliver’s brother-in-law, but by the following year Oliver and Endymion Porter, who purchased the park from the king, had fallen out over it.19 Oliver disappears from the record after June 1638, when he was party to a mortgage agreement with Denbigh and another man. He may have continued to hold the receivership of Yorkshire until 23 June 1640, when it was granted to Thomas and John Bland in survivorship.20

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. CSP Dom. 1629-31, p. 273; Warws. RO, CR/2017/D151.
  • 2. C142/535/115; ALEXANDER MORE.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 307; 1628-9, p. 227.
  • 4. Bodl. Eng. Misc. C.208, ff. 171v-2; CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 44.
  • 5. Warws. RO, CR/2017/D148, D151.
  • 6. C66/2468/9; CSP Dom. 1635-6, p. 325.
  • 7. CSP Dom. 1629-31, pp. 21, 273.
  • 8. J. Nichols, Leics. iii. 489-90; M. Temple Admiss.; C2/Jas.I/O2/15; C142/419/64.
  • 9. C2/Jas.I/O3/33; C78/246/18; C78/253/14; C78/415/4.
  • 10. C2/Jas.I/O1/66.
  • 11. CJ, i. 745a.
  • 12. SP16/148/36.
  • 13. WARD 7/77/171. We are grateful to Roger Lockyer for this ref.
  • 14. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 581; A.F. Upton, Sir Arthur Ingram, 175.
  • 15. APC, 1628-9, p. 28; SP16/139/81.
  • 16. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 310; R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 460; Add. 71606A, f. 6.
  • 17. Warws. RO, CR 2017/D6, D148, D150-1.
  • 18. CSP Dom. 1628-9, p. 191.
  • 19. Ibid. 1629-31, p. 273; G. Baker, Hist. and Antiqs. of Northants. ii. 184.
  • 20. C66/2879/43. We are grateful to John Sainty for this ref.