EGERTON, Randolph (1618-81), of Betley, Staffs.
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Family and Education
b. 2 Nov. 1618, 1st s. of Sir Ralph Egerton of Betley by Frances, da. of Sir John Harington of Kelston, Som. m. (1) Penelope (d. 20 Mar. 1670), da. of Robert Needham†, 2nd Visct. Kilmorey [I], s.p.; (2) settlement 1 May 1673, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Henry Murray, groom of the bedchamber, of Berkhampstead, Herts., 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 1624.1
Capt. of ft. (royalist) 1642, maj.-gen. of horse by 1644; lt. 1 Life Gds. 1661, capt. 1666, maj. 1672, lt.-col. 1678-d.2
J.p. Staffs. July 1660-d., dep. lt. Aug. 1660-d.; jt. farmer of excise, Cheshire and Lancs. by 1661, Staffs. 1662-74; commr. for assessment, Staffs. 1661-80, corporations 1662-3, loyal and indigent officers, Staffs. and Westminster 1662.3
Trustee for country excise 1671-4.4
Egerton was descended from a younger son of the Cheshire family. His ancestors had been seated in Staffordshire since early in the 15th century, first representing the county in 1429. He had a distinguished military career in the Civil War, compounding on comparatively easy terms after helping to secure the surrender of Ludlow Castle. He was arrested in June 1650 for holding correspondence with Charles II, but released on bail three months later. He was in arms for the King under Sir George Booth in 1659. At the Restoration he raised a troop of horse to meet the King at Dover; but for the moment the wartime major-general had to be satisfied with a commission as lieutenant in the guards as reward for his loyalty. He was recommended as knight of the Royal Oak on the London list, with an estate valued at £1,000 p.a.; but a local estimate of £800 p.a. is to be preferred. He was held in high esteem by the Staffordshire gentry as ‘very loyal, orthodox and valiant; a wise, prudent man, but a good fellow’. He was returned as knight of the shire in 1661, and listed as a friend by Lord Wharton. But he was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament. He was named to 53 committees, and of his five recorded speeches two were merely brief personal explanations. In the first session he was named to the committee to report on the defects in the revenue, to consider the charges against James Philipps and to bring in a militia bill. In 1663 he helped to report on defects in the Act of Uniformity, to bring in a bill against Popery, to consider a bill for making the rivers Mersey and Weaver navigable and a petition from the loyal and indigent officers, and to receive proposals for regulating abuses in the excise. As an excise farmer, he was noted as a court dependant in 1664. Thereafter his activity declined, though he continued to take an interest in the loyal and indigent officers. His clumsy effort to procure evidence for the divorce of Lord Roos (John Manners) suggests that he was no Clarendonian, and in 1667 he was appointed to the committee to inquire into the sale of Dunkirk. On 28 Feb. 1668 he informed the House of the insolence of sectaries in Staffordshire, and was appointed to a committee to investigate the subject. Later in the same session he introduced a petition from the wife of Sir Robert Howard.5
Egerton’s name appears on both lists of the court party in 1669-71 as a court dependant. In the latter year he joined a syndicate headed by Sir William Bucknall for farming the entire excise outside London. When this concession was terminated in 1674, he was granted a pension on the excise as compensation. His last parliamentary committee was on 18 May 1675, when he was appointed to consider a complaint of breach of privilege committed by Lauderdale’s servants. But he was included on the list of officials in the autumn, and on the working lists, where he was noted as possessing influence over his colleague Sir Edward Littleton. On 25 Oct. he protested against the coupling of guardsmen and Popery by Michael Malet. Shaftesbury marked Egerton ‘thrice vile’, and in A Seasonable Argument he was described as ‘a captain in the guards [who] has had in boons £1,000’, which understates both his rank and his rewards. He was again on both lists of the court party in 1678, and on 30 Oct. told the House of a vaguely sinister conversation with Lord Castlemaine (Roger Palmer) about Coleman. Blacklisted in the ‘unanimous club’, he never stood again. He died on 20 Oct. 1681 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His only son died in childhood, but his widow married Charles Egerton†, a younger son of the second Earl of Bridgwater.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: A. M. Mimardière
- 1. Wards 7/70/193; Misc. Gen. et Her. (n.s.), iv. 193; Scots Peerage, iii. 399; Westminster Abbey Reg. (Harl. Soc. x), 218, 354.
- 2. P. Young, Edgehill, 214; Bulstrode Pprs. 243.
- 3. T51/11/17; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 427, 639; iii. 833; vi. 682; T. Pape, Restoration Govt. and Newcastle-under-Lyme, 17.
- 4. Cal. Treas. Bks. iii. 832.
- 5. Hist. Pirehill (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. n.s. xii), 216-17; Gentry of Staffs. (Staffs. Rec. Soc. ser. 4), ii. 14; Cal. Comm. Comp. 1521; CSP Dom. 1650, pp. 208, 255; 1659-60, pp. 94, 147; HMC 5th Rep. 150; Milward, 46-47, 201, 281; Grey, i. 147.
- 6. E. Hughes, Studies in Admin. and Finance, 148; Grey, iii. 337; vi. 122; PCC 32 Cottle; Hist. Pirehill, 214.