Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 63.djvu/149

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(Addit. MS. 5755, fol. 143). He was a man of learning, and Thomas Newton (1542?–1607) [q. v.] complimented him on his many accomplishments in an epigram addressed ‘Ad eruditiss. virum Robertum Wrightum, nobiliss. Essexiæ comitis famulum primarium.’ Latin verses prefixed to Peter Baro's ‘Prælectiones in Jonam’ (1579) are also assigned to Wright. He died about 1596 (cf.Devereux, Lives of the Devereux Earls of Essex).

Another Robert Wright (1556?–1624) was son of John Wright of Wright's Bridge, Essex. He matriculated as a pensioner of Trinity College, Cambridge, on 21 May 1571, and graduated B.A. 1574, and M.A. 1578. He was an ardent Calvinist, and received ordination at Antwerp from Villiers or Cartwright in the Genevan form. At Cambridge he became acquainted with Robert, second lord Rich, and about 1580 acted as his chaplain in his house, Great Leighs, Essex, where he held religious meetings (Strype, Aylmer, pp. 54 seq.). He was incorporated M.A. of Oxford on 11 July 1581. After several efforts on Bishop Aylmer's part to obtain the arrest of Wright, he and his patron were examined in the court of ecclesiastical commission in October 1581 in the presence of Lord Burghley. It was shown that Wright had asked, in regard to the solemnisation of the queen's accession day (17 Nov.), ‘if they would make it an holy day, and so make our queen an idol.’ Wright was committed to the Fleet prison. Next year the prison-keeper on his own authority permitted him to visit his wife in Essex, but complaint was made of this lenient treatment to Lord Burghley. Wright appealed for mercy to Burghley, who replied by informing him of the charges brought against him. Wright sent a voluminous answer (Strype, Annals, iii. ii. 228). He seems to have returned to prison and remained there till September 1582, when he declared his willingness to subscribe to ‘his good allowance of the ministry of the church of England and to the Book of Common Prayer.’ After giving sureties for his future conformity, he was released. He was subsequently rector of Dennington, Suffolk, from 1589 till his death in 1624.

[Wood's Athenæ Oxon. iv. 800, Fasti, i. 215; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 223; Laud's Works; Gardiner's Registers of Wadham College; Beresford's Lichfield in Diocesan Histories, p. 235; Foster's Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Strype's Works.]

S. L.

WRIGHT, alias Danvers, ROBERT, called Viscount Purbeck (1621–1674). [See Danvers.]


WRIGHT, Sir ROBERT (d. 1689), lord chief justice, was the son of Jermyn Wright of Wangford in Suffolk, by his wife Anne, daughter of Richard Bachcroft of Bexwell in Norfolk. He was descended from a family long seated at Kelverstone in Norfolk, and was educated at the free school at Thetford, graduating B.A. from Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1658 and M.A. in 1661. He entered Lincoln's Inn on 14 June 1654, and after being called to the bar went the Norfolk circuit. According to Roger North (1653–1734) [q. v.] he was ‘a comely person, airy and flourishing both in his habits and way of living,’ but a very poor lawyer. He was a friend of Francis North (afterwards Baron Guilford) [q. v.], and relied implicitly on him when required to give a written opinion. Although by marrying the daughter of the bishop of Ely he obtained a good practice, ‘his voluptuous unthinking course of life’ led him into great embarrassments. These he evaded by pledging his estate to Francis North, and afterwards mortgaging it to Sir Walter Plummer, fraudulently tendering him an affidavit that it was clear of all encumbrances. On 10 April 1668 Wright was returned to parliament for King's Lynn (cf. Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1667–8, pp. 335, 339). In 1678 he was appointed counsel for the university of Cambridge, and in August 1679 he was elected deputy recorder of the town. In October 1678 he fell under suspicion of being concerned in the popish plot, Coleman having been in his company the Sunday before he was committed. On 31 Oct. the matter was brought by the speaker before the House of Commons, which ordered Wright's chambers in Lincoln's Inn and his lodgings to be searched. As nothing was found to incriminate him, he was declared completely exculpated (Journals of the House of Commons, ix. 524–5). In Easter 1679 he was made a serjeant, and on 12 May 1680 he was made a king's serjeant (Luttrell, Brief Historical Relation, i. 43). He was knighted on 15 May, and in 1681 was appointed chief justice of Glamorgan.

At this time his fortunes were at low ebb. He had made the acquaintance of Jeffreys, and had acquired his regard, it is said, by his ability as a mimic. He went to him and implored his assistance. Jeffreys had recourse to the king, and in spite of the objections of Francis North, who was then lord keeper of the great seal, procured his nomination on 27 Oct. 1684 as a baron of the exchequer (ib. i. 318). On 10 Feb. 1684–5 he was elected recorder of Cambridge. James II selected him to accompany Jeffreys on the western assize after Mon-