HILL, Sir Roger (1642-1729), of Denham, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. 19 June 1642, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Roger Hill of Poundisford, Som., being o. surv. s. by 2nd w. Abigail, da. of Brampton Gurdon† of Assington, Suff. educ. Jesus, Camb. 1658; I. Temple 1658, called 1666. m. 11 July 1667, Abigail (d. 18 Aug. 1737), da. of John Lockey of Holmshill, Ridge, Herts., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 2da. suc. fa. 1667; kntd. 18 July 1668.1
Gent. of the privy chamber 1668-85; filazer of c.p. by 1669-?74; freeman E. I. Co. 1679.2
Commr. for assessment, Bucks. 1673-80, 1689-90, sheriff 1673-4, j.p. 1689-93, 1702-d., dep. lt. Feb.-June 1702.3
Although Hill claimed descent from a medieval knightly family and assumed their arms, his first certain ancestor was a Taunton merchant under Henry VIII. Two members of the family sat for the borough in Elizabethan Parliaments. Hill’s father, who represented Bridport in the Long Parliament, refused to take part in the King’s trial, but continued to sit in the Rump and became a judge during the Protectorate.4
Hill himself as a child witnessed the execution of Charles I, and perhaps in consequence was described in 1661 as ‘very cavalierish ... as if he had been bred up in the use of it. If he lose his father’s favour, woe to him.’ But he was to develop into a violent Whig, who did not become a j.p. until the Revolution. He sold Poundisford and bought Denham manor and other properties from (Sir) William Bowyer in 1670. Marked ‘honest’ by Shaftesbury in 1679, he was returned to the first Exclusion Parliament for Amersham, some 12 miles from Denham, but sat only on the committee for the better attendance of Members. He voted for exclusion. Barillon described Hill as an officer under Cromwell, perhaps confusing him with his father, and included him among the ‘most considerable Members of the Lower House ... vehement against the Court’. Successful again in August, Hill was an active Member of the second Exclusion Parliament. He made no recorded speeches, but was appointed to 12 committees, including those to receive information concerning the Popish Plot, and to repeal the Corporations Act. He was defeated in 1681 by the powerful Drake interest, which ignored the decision of the House to restrict the franchise to scot and lot payers only.5
After the Rye House Plot, Hill was described as ‘a late untoward commoner, who has at all times vented himself most bitterly against the Government’. He was suspected of harbouring arms and traitors, and his house was searched by Samuel Starkey, but nothing was proved against him. Through Ralph Montagu he came to terms with Sir William Drake, and again unsuccessfully contested Amersham in 1685, when Judge Jeffreys referred to him as ‘a horrid Whig’ and ‘a fierce exclusioner’. He lent the Government £3,000 in that year, perhaps to buy his peace. He was mentioned as a possible candidate for Buckinghamshire in 1688, but James II’s electoral agents did not fully understand his ‘sentiments’. Although he supported the Revolution, he may have doubted its stability, for in 1689 he advanced only £500 to the new regime, compared with his investment of £2,000 in the East India Company. He did not sit in any of William III’s Parliaments, partly because of a breach with the Wharton interest. He was buried at Denham on 29 Dec. 1729. His epitaph attests his fidelity to liberty and the Protestant religion. His sons did not long survive him, and the Denham estate passed to his great-grandson, Benjamin Way†, who was returned for Bridport in 1765.6
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar
- 1. A.M. W. Stirling, Ways of Yesterday, 30-31, 43-45.
- 2. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 179; Cal. Ct. Mins. E.I. Co. ed. Sainsbury, xi. 323.
- 3. Bucks. Sess. Recs. ed. Le Hardy, i. 510; CSP Dom. 1700-2, p. 519; 1702-3, p. 390.
- 4. Vis. Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 50-51; Keeler, Long Parl. 215.
- 5. East Anglian, v. 5; VCH Bucks. iii. 258, 279; PRO 31/3, bdle. 146, f. 26; CJ, ix. 677.
- 6. CSP Dom. July-Sept. 1683, p. 378; 1685, p. 122; Add. 46500; Bodl. Carte 40, f. 172; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. x, pp. 403,423; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 2179; ix. 1986; Bucks. RO, Hill diary, ff. 51 53; Add. 22185, f. 14; Lip-scomb, Bucks. iii. 456.