Richard was the oldest son of Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Baron Skelmersdale and his wife Mary Elizabeth Taylor. Richard was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford. He lived with his family at Blythe Hall, Lathom, Lancashire, part of the Lathom estate owned by his family.
He was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 1826, and was elected at the 1835 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Lancashire. He was re-elected in 1837 and returned without a contest in 1841, and held the seat until his death from influenza in 1844, aged 42.
He married Jessy Brooke (1812–1892), the daughter of Sir Richard Brooke, 6th Baronet Brooke of Norton. They had one son, the Conservative politician Edward Bootle-Wilbraham, 1st Earl of Lathom, and three daughters.
- G. E. C. (G. E. Cokayne) ed. by George H. White. The Complete Peerage. (London: St. Catherine Press, 1953) Vol. XII, Part 1, p. 1.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "L" (part 1)
- "Skelmersdale, Baron (UK, 1828)". Cracroft's Peerage. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "No. 18344". The London Gazette. 16 March 1827. p. 630.
- "No. 19234". The London Gazette. 30 January 1835. p. 169.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 411. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
- "No. 19538". The London Gazette. 5 September 1837. p. 2343.
- "No. 19998". The London Gazette. 13 July 1841. p. 1811.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Richard Bootle-Wilbraham
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
George William Wood
|Member of Parliament for South Lancashire
1835 – 1844
With: Lord Francis Egerton
Lord Francis Egerton