HALFORD, Richard (1662-1742), of Edith Weston, Rutland
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Family and Education
b. c.1662, 1st s. of Charles Halford of Edith Weston, high sheriff, Rutland 1665, by Elizabeth (d. 1695), da. and coh. of Thomas Michell of South Witham, Lincs. educ. L. Inn 1679. unm. suc. fa. 1696.1
A branch of the Leicestershire Halfords had settled in Rutland in 1601 when Richard Halford’s great-grandfather purchased the manor of Edith Weston. Halford himself was first returned to Parliament in 1698 and thereafter stood at every election until his eventual defeat in 1713. His sparse contributions to the parliamentary record indicate that he was an archetypal, long-serving Tory backwoodsman. An analysis of the parties in about September 1698, classified him as belonging to the ‘Country’ party. Leave of absence was granted him for health reasons on 17 Feb. 1699. He was blacklisted as having opposed the preparations for war in 1701, then on 26 Sept. 1702 voted for the resolution vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the impeachments of William III’s Whig ministers, and on 13 Feb. 1703 opposed agreement with the Lords’ amendments to the bill extending the time for taking the Abjuration. Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†), with whom he was on friendly terms, listed him in mid-March 1704 as a likely supporter in the event of a parliamentary attack over his handling of the Scotch Plot; and two forecasts in the autumn of 1704 noted him a ‘probable supporter’ of the Tack, in support of which he duly voted on 28 Nov. He was marked as a Tory in annotated lists of the 1705 and 1708 Parliaments. In the division of 25 Oct. 1705 he voted against the Court candidate for the Speakership, and in 1710 he opposed the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell.2
Halford lost his seat in 1710, but, probably with assistance from Lord Nottingham, regained it in January 1711 on petition, after his complaints against Hon. John Noel* of ‘corrupt practices’ and the polling of ‘unqualified persons’ were considered at the bar. He was a well-wisher to the Tory Sir Thomas Cave, 3rd Bt.*, in the Leicestershire by-election in February. Under the Tory ministry he featured in the 1710–11 session as a ‘worthy patriot’ who approved the exposure of the ‘mismanagements’ of the previous Whig ministry, and was a member of the October Club. At the 1713 election Halford could no longer benefit from the support of Lord Nottingham in view of the Earl’s new alliance with the Whigs. He none the less tried campaigning singly and on his own interest, but was defeated. Nottingham’s assumption shortly afterwards that ‘Mr Halford in all probability will attempt it no more’ was to prove correct.3
Halford lived on in retirement, dying on 28 Sept. 1742, aged 80. His funerary monument pays tribute to his hospitality to friends and generosity towards the poor, his modest but cultured disposition and his high regard for the Church of England. To the poor of Edith Weston he bequeathed £30.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Andrew A. Hanham
- 1. Vis. Rutland (Harl. Soc. lxxiii), 29; Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. l), 438; Nichols, Leics. ii. 876.
- 2. VCH Rutland, ii. 63.
- 3. Leics. RO, Finch mss, Nottingham to Ld. Finch (Daniel), 21 Oct. 1710, same to Ld. Guernsey (Hon. Heneage Finch I*), 13 Sept. 1713; Leics. RO, Braye mss 23D57/2846, 2862, Ld. Denbigh et al. to Cave, 6 Feb., Halford to same, 11 Feb. 1711; BL, Verney mss mic. M/636/54, Ld. Fermanagh (John Verney*) to Ralph Verney†, 18 Jan. 1711; Bodl. Carte 117, f. 441.
- 4. Nichols, ii. 868; VCH Rutland, ii. 66.