Richard Pepys

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Sir Richard Pepys (2 July 1589 – 2 January 1659) was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1640 and was Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. He was a great-uncle of Samuel Pepys the diarist.

Pepys was born at Bunstead, Essex the son of John Pepys of Cottenham, Cambridgeshire and his wife Elizabeth Bendish, daughter of John Bendish of Bowes Hall, Essex. He entered Middle Temple in 1609 and was called to the bar in 1617. He was a bencher of his inn in 1636 and acted as reader in 1640.[1]

In April 1640, Pepys was elected Member of Parliament for Sudbury in the Short Parliament .[2] He was active in local government, attending meetings of the County Committee for Suffolk between 1642 and 1648.[3] He acted as treasurer of the Middle Temple in 1648.[1] He was appointed Baron of the Exchequer on 30 May 1654 and became Serjeant-at-Law at the same time. He was appointed Chief Justice of Ireland in 1654[4] between 22 August [5] and 3 November.[6] He sat in court with Miles Corbet on occasion and was also appointed chief justice of the Upper Bench and commissioner of the great seal in 1655. He was on the circuit in Ulster in early 1657. In 1658, he presented books to the Inner Temple. He died suddenly in 1659 and was buried in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.[1]

Pepys married firstly Judith Cutte, daughter of Sir William Cutte of Arkesden, in 1620. He married secondly, Mary Gosnold daughter of Bartholomew Gosnold, who played a major part in the establishment of Virginia, and his wife Mary Goldinge.[7] He had three sons and three daughters and was an ancestor of the Earl of Cottenham.[1] From the Diary of Samuel Pepys, we know that the great diarist, Richard's first cousin once removed, was on friendly terms with at least one of his sons, also called Samuel, and two of his daughters, Elizabeth Strudwick and Judith Scott, who died in 1664. Pepys was grieved at the death of Judith, "a good woman", the more so since like so many of the Pepys family of their generation, she was childless: "it is a sad consideration how the Pepys's do decay."


  1. ^ a b c d F. Elrington Ball The Judges in Ireland, 1221-1921
  2. ^ 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. onepage&q&f&#61, false 229–239.
  3. ^ Alan Milner Everitt Landscape and community in England
  4. ^ Osborough, W. N. "Pepys, Richard (c.1588–1659)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/21905. |access-date= requires |url= (help) (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ Robert Dunlop Ireland Under the Commonwealth P443
  6. ^ Robert Dunlop Ireland Under the Commonwealth P455
  7. ^ John Frederick Dorman Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5: Families G-P
  • Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition
  • Samuel Pepys, Diary
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Parliament suspended since 1629
Member of Parliament for Sudbury
With: Sir Robert Crane, 1st Baronet
Succeeded by
Simonds d'Ewes
Sir Robert Crane, 1st Baronet
Legal offices
Preceded by
Vacant - last held by Sir George Shurley
Lord Chief Justice of Ireland
Succeeded by
John Santhey