Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Baronet, of Great Lever

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Orlando Bridgeman

Portrait by Pieter Borsseler
Born(1606-01-30)30 January 1606
Died25 June 1674(1674-06-25) (aged 68)
OccupationEnglish politician
Ceremonial purse at Weston Park, used by Sir Orlando as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, 1667–1672, and shown in his portrait above

Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Baronet, SL (30 January 1606 – 25 June 1674) was an English common law jurist, lawyer, and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 to 1642. He supported the Royalist cause in the Civil War.

Early life and education[edit]

Bridgeman was the son of John Bridgeman, Bishop of Chester, and his wife Elizabeth Helyar, daughter of Reverend William Helyar. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1624.[1] The same year, Bridgeman became a fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple.


Monument in St Mary's church, Teddington

Bridgeman worked as a barrister until 1632, and was named vice chamberlain of Chester in 1638. In 1640, he was appointed Attorney of the Court of Wards in 1640, and Solicitor-General to Charles, the Prince of Wales.

In April 1640, Bridgeman was elected Member of Parliament for Wigan in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Wigan for the Long Parliament in November 1640.[2] He rallied to the royal cause and in 1642 assisted Lord Strange at Chester against the parliamentary forces. As a result, he was disabled from sitting in parliament on 29 August 1642.[3]

He was knighted by the King, Charles I, in 1643.

From 1644 to 1646, Bridgeman was Custos Rotulorum of Cheshire. In 1645, he was Commissioner at the Treaty of Uxbridge on behalf of the King.[4] He compounded for his delinquency in 1646.

On 30 May 1660, Bridgeman was made Serjeant-at-Law, and two days later Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. The following week, on 7 June 1660, he was created a Baronet, of Great Lever, in the County of Lancaster. From 1660 to 1668, Bridgeman was Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and from 1667 to 1672 Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, resigning because he refused to apply the Great Seal to the Royal Declaration of Indulgence, which he regarded as too generous to Catholics. In 1668, he was a member of the New England Company. In his final years, Bridgeman appointed the priest, theologian, and metaphysical poet Thomas Traherne (c. 1637 – 1674) as his private chaplain at Teddington and supported the publication of his writings. Bridgeman died aged 65 in Teddington, Middlesex and was buried there.

Bridgeman was highly regarded in his time for his participation in the trial of the regicides of King Charles I in 1660, and also for devising complex legal instruments for the conveyance of estates in land. Among Bridgeman's most enduring inventions was a device for the 22nd Earl of Arundel, which led to the creation in the Duke of Norfolk's Case, 3 Ch. Ca. 1, 22. Eng. Rep. 931 (Ch. 1681), of the Rule Against Perpetuities. Following the Great Fire of London he was one of the judges appointed to resolve disputes about property arising from the fire.[citation needed]


Bridgeman married twice, firstly Judith Kynaston, daughter of John Kynaston, on 30 January 1627 or 1628. They had two children:

  • Mary Bridgeman, married, firstly Sir Edward Morgan, married secondly Richard Hanbury
  • Sir John Bridgeman, 2nd Baronet (1631–1710)

Secondly he married Dorothy Saunders, daughter of John Saunders. They had three children:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bridgman, Orlando (BRGN619O)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  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. 229–239.
  3. ^ The Parliamentary Or Constitutional History of England: Being a Faithful Account of All the Most Remarkable Transactions in Parliament, from the Earliest Times. Collected from the Journals of Both Houses, the Records, ... Vol. 9. 1753. p. 17. Retrieved 17 March 2022 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Rushworth, John (1721) [orig. before 1690]. "Historical Collections: The treaty at Uxbridge, 1645". In Browne, D (ed.). Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 5, 1642-45. London: University of London. pp. 787–843. Retrieved 20 May 2020 – via British History Online.
  • "thePeerage". Retrieved 29 November 2006.
  • J. Dukeminier; J. Krier (2006). Property, Sixth Edition. Aspen. p. 241, footnote.

External links[edit]

Parliament of England
Parliament suspended
Title last held by
Edward Bridgeman
Member of Parliament for Wigan
With: Alexander Rigby
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Custos Rotulorum of Cheshire
Title next held by
The Lord Delamer
Preceded by Lord Keeper of the Great Seal
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Succeeded by
Baronetage of England
New creation Baronet
(of Great Lever)
Succeeded by
John Bridgeman