Roger Newdigate

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Sir Roger Newdigate in the Library at Arbury by Arthur Devis

Sir Roger Newdigate, 5th Baronet (30 May 1719 – 23 November 1806) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1742 and 1780. He was a collector of antiquities.[1]

Early life[edit]

Newdigate was born in Arbury, Warwickshire, the son of Sir Richard Newdigate, 3rd Baronet (who died in 1727) and inherited the title 5th Baronet and the estates of Arbury and of Harefield in Middlesex on the early death of his brother in 1734. He was educated at Westminster School and University College, Oxford, where he matriculated in 1736, and graduated M.A. in 1738;[2] he contributed greatly to the university throughout the remainder of his life. He is best remembered as the founder of the Newdigate Prize on his death[3] and as a collector of antiques, a number of which he donated to the University. The prize for poetry helped make the names of many illustrious writers.

Political career[edit]

From 1742 until 1747, he served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Middlesex, and in 1751, he began a 30-year tenure as an MP for Oxford University.[4]

Arbury Hall c.1880

He lavished attention on the Elizabethan Arbury Hall which he rebuilt over a period of thirty years in splendid Gothic Renaissance style, engaging the services of the architect Henry Couchman.

Private life[edit]

He married, firstly Sophia Conyers in 1743, and secondly Hesther Margaret Munday in 1776. Both marriages were childless and on his death in 1806 the baronetcy became extinct. Arbury Hall and Harefield passed to Francis Parker (1774 – 1862) of Kirk Hallam, Derbyshire, a distant cousin of the 5th Baronet, who then adopted the additional name of Newdigate. Francis Parker moved into Arbury Hall and married Lady Barbara Maria Legge, daughter of George Legge, 3rd Earl of Dartmouth in 1820.


Sir Roger was immortalised in fiction in George Eliot's Scenes of Clerical Life, where he appears as Sir Christopher Cheverel in Mr Gilfil's Love Story.[5]


  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Newdigate, Sir Roger" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Foster, Joseph (1888–1892). "Newdigate, (Sir) Roger (Bart.)" . Alumni Oxonienses: the Members of the University of Oxford, 1715–1886. Oxford: Parker and Co – via Wikisource.
  3. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica, Newdigate Prize". Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  4. ^ "NEWDIGATE, Sir Roger, 5th Bt. (1719-1806), of Arbury, Warws. and Harefield, Mdx." History of Parliament Online. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  5. ^ Cooke, George Willis. George Eliot: A Critical Study of her Life, Writings and Philosophy. Whitefish: Kessinger, 2004. [1]
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
William Pulteney
Sir Hugh Smithson, Bt
Member of Parliament for Middlesex
With: Sir Hugh Smithson, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir Hugh Smithson, Bt
Sir William Beauchamp-Proctor, Bt
Preceded by
Viscount Cornbury
Peregrine Palmer
Member of Parliament for Oxford University
With: Peregrine Palmer 1751–1762
Sir Walter Bagot, Bt 1762–1768
Sir William Dolben, Bt 1768
Francis Page 1768–1780
Succeeded by
Francis Page
Sir William Dolben, Bt
Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Edward Newdigate
(of Arbury)