Richard More (Parliamentarian)

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Richard More (c. 1576 – 6 December 1643) was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 to 1643. He supported the Parliamentary cause in the English Civil War.

Family background[edit]

More was the son of Robert More of Linley in Shropshire. In the early sixteenth century Richard More's grandfather had moved south to make his fortune at King Henry's court, but, in 1583, the family moved back to Shropshire. Richard More's birth date in not known, but is thought to be 1576, when the family had an estate in Barby, Northamptonshire.[1]

At ten years old Richard More could read the Old Testament in Hebrew. Despite this academic promise Richard did not go on to university, possibly because he married early, in 1592, to Sara Harris, daughter of a Shrewsbury merchant.[1] In 1602 Richard More was already master of the More estates, and in 1603 he added the manor of Downton,[2] a significant estate just over the border in Herefordshire. His father Robert died in 1604[1]

Richard More’s eldest son, Samuel, married a cousin, Katherine, in 1611. The marriage settlement was unusual in that Richard paid £600 sum to Katherine’s father, and took control of the family’s estate, at Larden near Much Wenlock, immediately after the marriage. At some time after this marriage, Samuel More became secretary to Edward, Lord Zouche,[3] one of the commissioners of the Virginia Company.,[4][5] During this time a rift developed between Samuel More and his wife with allegations of adultery by him stating that she had conceived four children with a longtime lover.[6] What followed was four rancorous years and twelve court appearances from 1616-1620 in which Samuel’s father Richard played a part, with him keeping the four children from their mother pending disposition of this case. By 1620, upon counsel from Lord Zouche among others, it was decided to place the children as indentured servants bound for Virginia - and they were placed about the ship Mayflower.[7] This all took place without the knowledge of their mother. As it happened, winter weather drove the ship north to Cape Cod Harbor where three of the four children perished that first winter. Of the More children sent on the Mayflower, only five-year-old Richard More survived.[8]

Later life[edit]

Richard More was active in trade in Bishop's Castle.[9] He was sheriff in 1619, and was elected to the corporation in 1623.[10] He was a Puritan and wrote on religious themes. After a local case of murder in 1633, a local clergyman wrote a pamphlet arguing that the murder was the result of Puritan fanaticism. This prompted More to write a pamphlet in reply titled "True Relation of the Murders" although he was refused licence to print the pamphlet until 1641. More was bailiff of the borough in 1637.[9]

In April 1640, More was elected Member of Parliament for Bishop's Castle in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Bishop's Castle for the Long Parliament in November 1640 and sat until his death in 1643.[11] He strongly supported the Parliamentary side and contributed plate to the cause. He was a committee member under the Scandalous Ministers Act and a member of the Shropshire Sequestration committee. In 1643 he published a translation of Clavis Apocalyptica by Joseph Mede.[9] He died the same year.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The More Children and The Mayflower’ & ‘Richard More of Shipton’ both by Donald F. Harris Ph.D: published by The Churchwardens of St James Parish Church, Shipton. These pamphlets are themselves a precis of three research papers published in ‘The Mayflower Descendant’, the magazine of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, Volume 43 July 1993 and Volume 44 January & July 1994.
  2. ^ The More Archive - held by Shropshire Council
  3. ^ Calendar of State Papers, vols. CXVI, p. 26, CXIX, p. 3, CLXIII, p. 26 (1620 through 1624) show Samuel More in Zouche's service as a private secretary
  4. ^ Donald F. Harris, PhD. The Mayflower Descendant (Pub. July 1994) vol. 44 no. 2 p. 112 par 3
  5. ^ The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles: With the Names of the Adventurers, Planters, and Governours from Their First Beginning, Ano: 1584. To This Present 1624. With the Proceedings of Those Severall Colonies and the Accidents That Befell Them in All Their Journyes and Discoveries. Also the Maps and Descriptions of All Those Countryes, Their Commodities, People, Government, Customes, and Religion Yet Knowne. Divided into Sixe Bookes. By Captaine John Smith, Sometymes Governour in Those Countryes & Admirall of New England: p. 128 - electronic version at: http://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/smith/smith.html#p21
  6. ^ Anthony R. Wagner. The Origin of the Mayflower Children: Jasper, Richard and Ellen More. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (July 1960) vol. 114 p. 163-168
  7. ^ Anthony R. Wagner The Origin of the Mayflower Children: Jasper, Richard and Ellen More. The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (July 1960) vol. 114 p. 164-167
  8. ^ David Lindsay, PhD., Mayflower Bastard: A Stranger amongst the Pilgrims (St. Martins Press, New York, 2002) pp 102-104 and pp. 25-27, 150-152
  9. ^ a b c Conal Condren George Lawson's 'Politica' and the English Revolution
  10. ^ John Burke A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain, Volume 3
  11. ^ Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. pp. 229–239. 
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Parliament suspended since 1629
Member of Parliament for Bishop's Castle
1640-1643
With: Robert Howard
Succeeded by
Isaiah Thomas
John Corbet