JONES, Richard (bef.1679-1736), of Ramsbury, Wilts.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. bef. 1679, 1st s. of Samuel Jones of Ramsbury by his w. Mary, 3rd s. of Richard Jones† (d. 1692) of Stowey Court, Chew Magna, Som. and yr. bro. and event. h. of Sir William Jones†, attorney-gen. 1675–9. m. (with £4,000) Mary (d. 1724), da. and h. of William Gifford (d. 1693), merchant, of Moulsford, Oxon., 3s. 2da.1
Sheriff, Wilts. 1701–2.
Having already inherited his uncle’s Ramsbury estate, Jones was by-passed in his father’s will in favour of his younger brother William, who took over the family’s principal seat at Chew Magna. A ‘personal friend’ of the 2nd Duke of Beaufort, of ‘many years’ standing’, Jones was admitted in 1709 to the ‘Board of Brothers’, and in the 1710 election helped manage the Duke’s electoral interest in Hampshire and Wiltshire. Presumably at Beaufort’s request, he was nominated by Lord Bruce (Charles*) as the Tory candidate at a by-election for Marlborough in 1712. Newspaper accounts of his return entitled him ‘Colonel’, probably a militia rank, though he may have been confused with a namesake who was a regular officer. The presence in the House of Robert Jones, Member for Glamorgan, makes it impossible to differentiate them in the Journals. The Bruces did not put him up again in 1713, since he had offended them by refusing to contribute to the expenses of his previous election – ‘he would not dip a finger in it’, reported Lord Bruce’s agent. In fact he relied on Beaufort, persuading the Duke to back him against Robert Pitt* in Salisbury with the claim that ‘many of that corporation’ had ‘invited him’ to stand against Pitt. In seeking approval of this interference from Lord Treasurer Oxford (Robert Harley*), Beaufort further alleged that Jones’s opposition to Pitt arose from a point of principle, to wit the ‘whimsical’ vote Pitt had cast against the French commercial bill (although the printed lists show Jones as not having voted). After considerable personal exertions by Beaufort, and the simple but telling recommendation of Jones as ‘a fox-hunter’, the anti-Pitt onslaught succeeded. Classed as a Tory in the Worsley list, Joneses is not known to have made a significant contribution to this Parliament (there were three other Mr Jones in the House). In March 1714 he may have been preoccupied with the by-election in Salisbury, for a meeting at the House regarding the election on the 13th he deferred as ‘inconvenient’.2
In the 1715 election Beaufort either could not or would not assist Jones at Salisbury, and without the countenance of the Bruces he was easily ‘put by’ at Marlborough, with the result that he did not stand again. His name was among those sent to the Pretender in 1721 as one likely to rally to the Stuart cause in the event of a rising. Jones died at Ramsbury in December 1736, but no will has been found.3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Authors: D. W. Hayton / Henry Lancaster
- 1. VCH Wilts. xii. 19; VCH Beds. iv. 160; F. A. Wood, Chew Magna, 178; Som. Wills, ser. 2, 52–53; Collinson, Som. ii. 90; PCC 185 Coker; Wilts. Arch. Mag. iii. 229.
- 2. Wilts. RO, 212B/5659; PCC 115 Foot; Beaufort mss at Badminton House, Beaufort to Jones, 4 Sept. 1710, same to Ld. Arundell, 15 Aug. 1713, same to George Pitt*, 20 Aug. 1713, Charles Becher to Ld. Bruce, 23 Jan. 1712; Add. 49360, f. 2; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 209, 211; Post Bag, 24–26 Jan. 1712; Brit. Mercury, 25–28 Jan. 1712.
- 3. HMC 15th Rep. VII, 218; P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, p. 149; London Mag. 1736, p. 701.