Sir Basil Firebrace, 1st Baronet

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Sir Basil Firebrace, 1st Baronet (1652 – 7 May 1724) was a supplier of wines to the royal household, Sheriff of London, and MP for Chippenham, Wiltshire, from 1690 to 1692. He was prosecuted for fraud and bribery, acquitted, and created a baronet in 1698.

Early life[edit]

Firebrace was the second son of Sir Henry Firebrace, a courtier to both Charles I and Charles II, and Elizabeth Dowell; he was born in 1652.[1]


Firebrace became a vintner and supplier of wines to the royal household.[2] He was Sheriff of London in 1687, and knighted; he was also appointed Colonel of the Orange Regiment of the London militia.[1] He was admitted into the Worshipful Company of Vintners the following year and became an Alderman for Billingsgate.[3][4]

He was elected MP for Chippenham as a Tory on 9 December 1690, but the election was declared void almost a year later, on 1 December 1691, and was re-run on 14 December. He again won but an election petition unseated him in favour of Thomas Tollemache on 22 January 1692.[5] In 1694 he purchased West Lodge, Enfield Chase, where he resided until 1716.[6]

Contemporary pamphlet detailing Parliamentary proceedings against Firebrace and others

Firebrace also became a prominent figure in the East India Company[7] and was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Parliament for bribery and fraud in relation to its activities.[8][9] In April 1695 the House of Lords ordered that he be kept in "close confinement", having no contact with other prisoners.[10] He was perhaps more of a go-between than a principal,[11] and although criticised for his entrepreneurialism, he was eventually acquitted of all charges.[12]

He was appointed 1st Baronet Firebrace in 1698 by King William III.,[13] was bankrupted in 1701 and again imprisoned, for stabbing a creditor.[2]

Marriage and family[edit]

He married Elizabeth, the daughter of merchant Thomas Hough on 7 September 1671, at St Margaret's, Westminster.[1]

They produced five children, two of whom, Basil and Thomas, died in infancy.[6] Of the survivors, Hester (c. 1675- c.1725) married Basil Feilding, 4th Earl of Denbigh, Charles (1680–1727) later inherited the baronetcy[13] and their final child, George, was born in 1681.[6]

Firebrace died on 7 May 1724;[2] W. H. Auden was among his descendants.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Fabian – Fyge". British History Online. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Wright, Stephen (September 2004). Firebrace, Sir Henry (1619/20)-1691. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Beaven 1908, pp. 168–195
  4. ^ Beaven 1908, pp. 75–119
  6. ^ a b c "Basil Firebrace b. 1652 Westminster, London, England d. 7 May 1724". Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  7. ^ Hayton, David; Eveline Cruickshanks; Stuart Handley (2002). The House of Commons, 1690–1715. 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 12. Retrieved 4 May 2010.  line feed character in |publisher= at position 21 (help)
  8. ^ West Lodge
  9. ^ "An exact collection of the debates and proceedings in Parliament,[CORRUPTION.] – Bernard J Shapero Rare Books". Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  10. ^ "House of Lords Journal Volume 15 – 25 April 1695". Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Online Library of Liberty – BOOK I.: 1527–1707. – The History of British India, vol. 1". Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Lundy, Darryl. " – Person Page 2627". Retrieved 4 May 2010. [unreliable source]
  14. ^ "Sir Basil Firebrace Bt MP – I904 – Individual Information – PhpGedView". Retrieved 4 May 2010. 


Parliament of England
Preceded by
Richard Kent
Alexander Popham
Member of Parliament for Chippenham
With: Alexander Popham
Succeeded by
Thomas Tollemache
Alexander Popham
Baronetage of England
New creation Baronet
(of London)
Succeeded by