NEWPORT, Hon. Richard I (1644-1723), of Eyton-upon-Severn, Salop.
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Family and Education
b. 3 Sept. 1644, 1st s. of Francis Newport†, 2nd Baron Newport and 1st Earl of Bradford, by Lady Diana, da. of Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1661, MA 1661. m. 20 Apr. 1681, Mary, da. and coh. of Sir Thomas Wilbraham, 3rd Bt.†, of Weston-under-Lizard, Staffs., 6s. 5da. Styled Lord Newport from 11 May 1694. suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Bradford 19 Sept. 1708.1
Equerry and gent. privy chamber 1665–85; PC 8 Feb. 1710.
Freeman, Much Wenlock 1680, Ludlow 1695; ld. lt. Salop 1704–12, 1714–d.; custos rot. 1708–12, 1714–d.; ld. lt. and custos rot. Mont. by 1708, by 1716–d.2
Newport’s family occupied a leading position among the Shropshire Whigs: he himself had consistently taken the Whig side in politics since going over from Court to opposition in the mid-1670s, and was listed as a Whig by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) in an analysis of the House of March 1690, and as a Court supporter by Robert Harley* in April 1691. An inactive Member, he seldom even attended Parliament, preferring to spend most of his time at home. He was absent during the second session of the Parliament of 1690–5, and again during the third session, when, after having been given leave of absence for three weeks on 17 Dec. 1691, he went off to Shropshire and did not return. On 16 Jan. 1692 his uncle, Hon. Andrew Newport*, wrote to tell him that he had been
excused for not appearing upon the call of the House on Thursday last, and I hope for the same success upon this day sennight when the House is ordered to be called again, but should be sorry your indisposition should continue so long: however I wish you would procure another letter from the doctor that I may have it upon Friday next the day before the call.
It is certain that Newport did not leave Shropshire until the end of February, if at all during the remainder of this session. He stayed at home during the next session too, at least until January 1693; and when the House was called over on 4 Dec. following he was one of a number of Members whose absence was excused for one week only, after which he would be required to attend.3
None the less, Newport’s influence with the ministry was such that in July 1693 he secured the exclusion of a prominent local Tory from the lieutenancy of Shropshire, and a year or so later he and his father were able to save a Whig friend, Richard Corbet*, from being appointed sheriff of the county. In Grascome’s list of 1693–5 Newport appears as a Court supporter. Forecast as likely to support the Court in the division of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade, he signed the Association without delay, and voted in March for fixing the price of guineas at 22s. He was again listed as a Court supporter in 1698.4
Newport did not stand for re-election in 1698, nor thereafter, but he continued to take an active part in elections in Shropshire. In 1704 he succeeded his father, an octogenarian, as lord lieutenant, and after his father’s death he became the acknowledged leader of the Whig interest in the county. As lord lieutenant he was responsible for communicating in April 1710 to the secretary of state, Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*), a representation of ten Whig gentlemen of Shropshire, complaining against the way in which Tories in Shrewsbury had gone about promoting an address to the Queen in favour of Dr Sacheverell. In May 1711 Lord Chancellor Harcourt (Simon I*) included Newport, now Earl of Bradford, in a list of ‘Whig lords’ still not dismissed from the high positions they held in local government, and the following year Newport was removed from his post as lord lieutenant of Shropshire. He died ‘at his house in Soho Square’ on 14 June 1723.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Mont. Colls. xx. 62.
- 2. Salop RO, Forester mss, copy of Much Wenlock corp. bk.; Salop RO, Ludlow bor. recs. min. bk. 1690–1712; HMC Lords, n.s. viii. 109, 408–9.
- 3. Add. 7080, ff. 1, 3, 10, 22, 30–39.
- 4. Add. 70235, Sir Edward* to Robert Harley*, 28 July 1693; Bradford mss at Weston Park, Richard Corbet* to Orlando Bridgeman I*, 5, 16 Nov. 1694, 5 Jan. 1695.
- 5. Bradford mss, John to Sir John Bridgeman, 19, 25 Nov. 1701, Newport to Richard Corbet, 4 Feb. 1708; Forester mss, Sir William Forester* to George Weld*, 15, 25 July, 5 Aug. 1710; Letter to Rt. Hon. the Earl of Bradford, Ld. Lt. Co. of Salop; HMC Portland, iv. 694; The Gen. n.s. vi. 22.