Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 2nd Baronet
He was the oldest son of Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Baronet and his wife Mary Cave, daughter of Sir Thomas Cave, 1st Baronet. His sister Penelope was married to Thomas Newport, 1st Baron Torrington. Bridgeman was educated at Rugby School in Warwickshire and went then to Trinity College, Oxford, where he matriculated in 1694. He succeeded his father as baronet on the latter's death in 1701.
Bridgeman entered the British House of Commons following the Acts of Union in 1707, sitting as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Coventry in the first Parliament of Great Britain until 1710. Five years later, he stood for Calne until 1722. Bridgeman represented Lostwithiel from a by-election in 1724 until the general election of 1727, when he was also successful for Blechingley, for which he chose to sit until 1734. He was afterwards returned to the House for Dunwich, a seat he held for the next four years.
In 1716, Bridgeman was appointed Auditor General to George, Prince of Wales, serving until the latter's accession to the throne in 1727. He then joined the Board of Trade as a commissioner, an office he held until 1738.
In 1737, Bridgeman was nominated Governor of Barbados, but disappeared before sailing. He left farewell letters to his family and to the king. On 10 June 1738, a body was found drowned in the Thames near Limehouse and because it had been disfigured by the water, the body was falsely identified as Bridgeman's.
Sir Orlando Bridgeman who, instead of going to his government of Barbados conferred on his last winter, made his escape (as he hoped) from the world, to avoid his creditors, by pretending to make himself away, and accordingly gave it out that he had drowned himself, was ferreted out of his hole by the reward advertised for whoever should discover him, and seized in an inn at Slough, where he had ever since concealed himself.
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