Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick

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The Earl of Warwick
2ndEarlOfWarwickColour.jpg
Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, circa 1640
Lord High Admiral
In office
1643 - 1645 – 1648 - 1649
Governor of Guernsey
In office
1643–1645
Commander of the Eastern Association
In office
1644–1645
Lord Lieutenant of Essex
In office
1625–1642
Member of Parliament
for Essex
In office
April 1614 – June 1614
Member of Parliament
for Maldon
In office
February 1610 – February 1611
Personal details
BornMay or June 1587
Leighs Priory, Essex
Died18 April 1658(1658-04-18) (aged 70)
Warwick House, Holborn
Resting placeHoly Cross Church, Felsted
NationalityEnglish
Spouse(s)(1) Frances Hatton (1605–1623)
(2) Susan Rowe (ca 1626-1646)
(3) Eleanor Wortley (1646-his death)
ChildrenAnne (1604-1642); Robert (1611–1659); Lucy (1615-after 1635); Frances (1621-1692); Charles (1623?–1673);
ResidenceWarwick House Holborn
Alma materEmmanuel College, Cambridge
OccupationColonial promoter, Puritan activist and sailor
Military service
Branch/serviceRoyal Navy
RankAdmiral
Battles/warsWars of the Three Kingdoms

Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick (5 June 1587 – 19 April 1658), Lord of the Manor of Hunningham,[1] was an English colonial administrator, admiral, and Puritan, who commanded the Parliamentarian navy during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

Personal details[edit]

Arms of Rich: Gules, a chevron between three crosses botonée or

Robert Rich, later Lord Holland, was the eldest son and third of four children born to Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick (1559-1619) and his first wife Penelope (1563-1607). His parents separated soon after Henry's birth, although they did not formally divorce until 1605, when Penelope married her long-time partner, Charles Blount, 8th Baron Mountjoy (1563-1606). Penelope was sister of the Earl of Essex, executed for treason in 1601, making Rich a cousin to future Parliamentarian general Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex.[2]

He had two sisters, Essex (1585-1658) and Lettice (1587-1619) and a younger brother Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland (1590–1649). He also had a number of half brothers and sisters, including Penelope (1592-?), Isabella, Mountjoy Blount, 1st Earl of Newport (1597-1666), and Charles (1605-1627). Almost certainly fathered by Charles Mountjoy, these children were brought up within the Rich family and appear in its pedigree, with the exception of Mountjoy, who was legitimised after his father's death.[3]

Robert Rich married three times, first in February 1605 to Frances Hatton (1590–1623) Lady of the Manor of Hunningham,[1] daughter and heiress of Sir William Hatton (1560–1597) Lord of the Manor of Hunningham,[1] formerly "Newport",[4] the granddaughter of Francis Gawdy. Their children included Anne (1604-1642), Robert (1611–1659), Lucy (1615-after 1635), Frances (1621-1692) and Charles (1623?–1673). Sometime before January 1626, he married Susan Rowe (1582–1646), a daughter of Sir Henry Rowe, Lord Mayor of London, and widow of William Holliday (c.1565–1624), Alderman of London, a wealthy London merchant and chairman of the East India Company. In March 1646, he made his third and last marriage to Eleanor Wortley (died 1667); neither of these produced children.[5]

Career[edit]

He succeeded to his father's title as Earl of Warwick in 1619. Early developing interest in colonial ventures, he joined the Guinea, New England, and Virginia companies, as well as the Virginia Company's offspring, the Somers Isles Company. Warwick's enterprises involved him in disputes with the British East India Company (1617) and with the Virginia Company, which in 1624 was suppressed as a result of his action.

In 1627 he commanded an unsuccessful privateering expedition against the Spanish.[6]

He sat as a Member of Parliament for Maldon for 1604 to 1611 and for Essex in the short-lived Addled Parliament of 1614.[7]

Slave trade[edit]

In late August 1619, one of the privateer ships sponsored by the Earl, the White Lion, arrived at Point Comfort, Virginia with 20 slaves from Ndongo in present-day Angola.[8][9] The Africans were sold to Governor George Yeardley and the Cape Merchant of the Colony of Virginia. The White Lion and the Treasurer had captured the Africans from the Portuguese slave ship São João Bautista bound for Veracruz. This marked the beginning of the American slave trade.

Colonial ventures[edit]

Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, portrait by Anthony van Dyck

Warwick's Puritan connections and sympathies gradually estranged him from the court but promoted his association with the New England colonies. In 1628 he indirectly procured the patent for the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and in 1631 he was granted the "Saybrook" patent in Connecticut. Forced to resign the presidency of the Council for New England in the same year, he continued to manage the Somers Isles Company and Providence Island Company, the latter of which, founded in 1630, administered Old Providence on the Mosquito Coast. Meanwhile, in England, Warwick opposed the forced loan of 1626, the payment of ship money, and Laud's church policy.[6]

His Richneck Plantation was located in what is now the independent city of Newport News, Virginia. The Warwick River, Warwick Towne, Warwick River Shire, and Warwick County, Virginia are all believed named for him, as are Warwick, Rhode Island and Warwick Parish in Bermuda (alias The Somers Isles). The oldest school in Bermuda, Warwick Academy, was built on land in Warwick Parish given by the Earl of Warwick; the school was begun in the 1650s (its early records were lost with those of the Warwick Vestry in a twentieth-century shipwreck), though the school places its founding officially in 1662. Warwick Academy

In September 1640 Warwick signed the Petition of Twelve to Charles I, asking the king to summon another parliament.[10]

Civil War period[edit]

In 1642, following the dismissal of the Earl of Northumberland as Lord High Admiral, Warwick was appointed commander of the fleet by Parliament.[11] In 1643 he was appointed head of a commission for the government of the colonies, which the next year incorporated Providence Plantations, afterwards Rhode Island, and in this capacity he exerted himself to secure religious liberty.[6]

As commander of the fleet, in 1648, Warwick retook the 'Castles of the Downs' (at Walmer, Deal, and Sandown) for Parliament, and became Deal Castle's captain 1648–53.[12] The subject was criticized for not recapturing the royalist fleet in 1648 when Prince Rupert suffered mutiny and disarray in Hellevoetsluis.[13] However, he was dismissed from office on the abolition of the House of Lords in 1649. He retired from national public life, but was intimately associated with the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, whose daughter Francis married his grandson and heir, also Robert Rich, in 1657 (the marriage was a short one as the grandson died the following year).[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hunningham, in A History of the County of Warwick: Vol. 6, Knightlow Hundred, ed. L F Salzman (London, 1951), pp. 117–120.
  2. ^ Smut 2004.
  3. ^ Usher 2004.
  4. ^ Aughterson 2004.
  5. ^ Kelsey 2004.
  6. ^ a b c d  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Warwick, Sir Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 349.
  7. ^ "RICH, Sir Robert (c.1588–1658), of Wallington, Norf., Hackney, Mdx. and Allington House, Holborn, Mdx.; later of Leez Priory, Essex". History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  8. ^ https://www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2019/07-08/virginia-first-africans-transatlantic-slave-trade/, 400 years ago, enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia
  9. ^ https://time.com/5653369/august-1619-jamestown-history/, The First Africans in Virginia Landed in 1619. It Was a Turning Point for Slavery in American History—But Not the Beginning
  10. ^ Kelsey 2004
  11. ^ 'July 1642: Ordinance for the Earl of Warwick to remain in his Command of the Fleet.', Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660 (1911), p. 12. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=55732. Date accessed: 13 April 2007.
  12. ^ 13 July 1648 – 'Taking of Walmer Castle' URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=25420#s6 Date accessed: 6 August 2007.
  13. ^ Richard J Blakemore and Elaine Murphy. (2018). The British Civil Wars at Sea, 1638-1653. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: The Boydell Press. pp. 149–152. ISBN 9781783272297.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick at Wikimedia Commons

Political offices
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Essex
jointly with The Earl of Sussex 1625–1629
The Earl of Portland 1629–1635
The Lord Maynard 1635–1640
The Earl of Carlisle 1641–1642

1625–1642
English Interregnum
Preceded by Custos Rotulorum of Essex
1640–1642
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
Preceded by Earl of Warwick
1619–1658
Succeeded by
Baron Rich
(descended by acceleration)

1619–1641