BEKE, Richard (1630-1707), of Dinton, Bucks.
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Family and Education
bap. 8 Sept. 1630, 1st s. of Henry Beke of Haddenham, Bucks. by Frances, da. of John Billiard of Notts. m. (1) 7 Feb. 1656, Lavinia (d. 1658), da. of Roger Whetstone of Whittlesey, Cambs., s.p.; (2) lic. 1 July 1667, Jane, da. of Ld. Charles Powlett of Abbott’s Anne, Hants, s.p.; (3) 10 Feb. 1684 (with £1,200), Elizabeth (d. 1737), da. of Sir Thomas Lee, 1st Bt.*, sis. of Thomas Lee*, 3da. suc. fa. 1654.1
Capt. of horse 1651, maj. 1656–9, lt.-col. Life Gds. 1659–60; lt.-col. of horse 1690; commr. appeals in excise 1689–d.2
Freeman, Chipping Wycombe 1691.3
Beke, whose first wife was Cromwell’s niece, had been an officer in the New Model Army, and was known as ‘Major Beke’ for the rest of his life. He was probably a Dissenter and possessed sufficient political influence with some of the county’s leading Whigs to ensure election to the Convention of 1689 and the following Parliament. At the Revolution he was granted a post in the excise, worth £200 p.a. Then in July 1690 he was commissioned in a regiment of horse raised in the city of London by the Marquess of Winchester (Charles Powlett I*). In the 1690 Parliament Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) classed him as a Whig. He was appointed to two committees of inquiry in October 1690, both relating to military matters. Robert Harley* classed him as a Country supporter in April 1691. He was listed as a government supporter in an analysis of March–December 1692 and by virtue of his office he appears as a placeman on various lists of 1692–3, including that by Samuel Grascome. There seems little doubt from snippets of correspondence that Beke’s associates were local Whigs such as Hon. Thomas Wharton*, Richard Hampden I* and his ‘cousin’ and neighbour, Simon Mayne*. In the 1694–5 session Henry Guy* included him on a list of ‘friends’, which probably indicated his likely support for Guy, who was then under attack in the Commons. On 1 May 1695 he was teller against a motion to grant bail to Sir Thomas Cooke*.4
Re-elected in 1695, in the opening session of the new Parliament he was forecast as likely to support the Court in a division of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade, signed the Association, and voted for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. Returned again in 1698 he was classed as a member of the Court party and a placeman in about September 1698, and voted on 18 Jan. 1699 against the disbanding bill. In February 1700 it was noted that he had not come to London owing to ill-health and in June he was reported to be about to resign his place in the excise because place legislation had made it incompatible with a seat in the House. However, in the event he preferred to resign his seat in the Commons. He appears to have ceased to act as a j.p. at about this time, but presented a sacramental certificate to the quarter sessions in Buckinghamshire at the start of Anne’s reign. In 1706 he was still residing at Dinton. He died on 29 Nov. 1707.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley
- 1. Top. and Gen. iii. 158–63, 172, 177; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 110; Bucks. Recs. vi. 25.
- 2. Treas. Bks. ix. 110; xxi. 512.
- 3. First Wycombe Ledger Bk. ed. Greaves (Bucks. Rec. Soc. xi), 233.
- 4. Add. 34730, f. 145; BL, Verney mss mic. 636/47, John Verney* (Ld. Fermanagh) to Sir Ralph Verney, 1st Bt.†, 11 Nov. 1693.
- 5. Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 426; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 661; Bucks. Sess. Recs. ii. 344, 454; Bucks. Dissent and Par. Life 1669–1712 ed. Broad (Bucks. Rec. Soc. xxviii), 228; Top. and Gen. 163.