About Sir Henry Widdrington, MP
1661 - Dec. 1665
Family and Education
2nd s. of Lewis Mautlaine alias Widdrington of Cheeseburn Grange, Stamfordham by Catherine, da. and h. of William Lawson of Washington, co. Dur.; bro. of Sir Thomas Widdrington. m. by 1645, Mary, da. and h. of John Swinburne of Black Heddon, 8s. 2da. Kntd. bef. 21 Jan. 1662; suc. bro. 1664.1
Maj. of horse (royalist) 1642-3.2
J.p. Northumb. July 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d.; dep. lt. Newcastle-upon-Tyne Aug. 1660-d.; commr. for loyal and indigent officers, Northumb. 1662.
Widdrington married the daughter of a Roman Catholic neighbou. Unlike his elder brother he was a Royalist in the Civil War, though he laid down his arms as early as March 1643. He surrendered to Fairfax in August 1644, took the Covenant, and compounded for £200. On a further payment of £30 in 1651 he was discharged by the committee for the advance of money. He petitioned successfully for exemption from the decimation tax in 1656, on the grounds that he had changed sides, and acted as a commissioner for the trial of offenders against the state.3
Widdrington was returned for Morpeth on his brother’s interest at the general election of 1661. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was named to thirteen committees, none of which was of much political importance. He was probably knighted during the Christmas recess, and when the House resumed he was among those appointed to consider the bill to prevent theft and rapine on the northern borders, and Lord Widdrington’s estate bill. He sold part of his estate for £1,150 about this time, and claimed privilege on 25 July 1663 against a certain Daniel Osborne, who had sued him to an exigent. The Black Heddon property of 760 acres, two-thirds of which was rough pasture, was rated at £280 p.a. for taxation purposes, and when his brother died he succeeded only to Cheeseburn Grange. Although he must have conformed, he probably remained an Independent at heart, for in July 1665 he was said to have attended a seditious meeting in Muggleswick Park, afterwards throwing an inconvenient witness into Morpeth gaol, where he was ‘beaten, imprisoned, and almost starved’. He was added to the committee of elections and privileges on 9 Feb. 1665, but there is no evidence that he attended the Oxford session, and on 5 Dec. he was buried at Stamfordham. His children followed their mother’s religion, and no later member of the family entered Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Authors: Gillian Hampson / Eveline Cruickshanks
Notes 1. Misc. Gen. et Her. (ser. 4), iii. 158-60; CJ, viii. 348.
2. Royalist Comps. (Surtees Soc. cxi), 373. 3. Hodgson, Northumb. pt. 2, i. 232-3; Royalist Comps. 373-5. 4. Hist. Northumb. iv. 296; vii. 196, 218; xii. 335; xv. 266; Hodgson, pt. 3, i. 330; CSP Dom. 1664-5, pp. 482-3; 1665-6, p. 44.