Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Newdigate, Richard

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NEWDIGATE, Sir RICHARD (1602–1678), judge, born on 17 Sept. 1602, was younger son of Sir John Newdigate of Arbury, in the parish of Chilvers Coton, Warwickshire, by Ann, eldest daughter of Sir Edward Fitton of Gawsworth, Cheshire, bart. John Newdegate [q. v.] was his grandfather. Matriculating at Trinity College, Oxford, on 6 Nov. 1618, he left the university without a degree, and entered in 1620 Gray's Inn, where he was called to the bar in 1628, elected an ancient in 1645, and a bencher in 1649.

Newdigate was counsel with Prynne and Bradshaw on behalf of the state in the proceedings taken against Connor Maguire, second baron of Enniskillen [q. v.], and other Irish rebels in 1644–5. He was also one of the counsel for the eleven members impeached by Fairfax in June 1647. On 9 Feb. 1653–4 he was called to the degree of serjeant-at-law, and on 31 May following was made a justice of the upper bench, in which capacity he was placed on the special commission for the trial of the Yorkshire insurgents on 5 April 1655. He declined to serve, on the ground that levying war against the Protector was not within the statute of treason, and in consequence was removed from his place (3 May), and resumed practice at the bar. He was, however, reinstated before 26 June 1657, when he attended, as justice of the upper bench, the ceremony of the reinvestiture of the Protector in Westminster Hall.

Newdigate was continued in office during Richard Cromwell's protectorate, and after his abdication, and on 17 Jan. 1659–60 was advanced to the chief-justiceship of the upper bench. Anticipating his dismissal on the Restoration, he suffered himself to be returned to the Convention parliament. On 5 April 1660 he was among the ‘old serjeants remade.’

Thenceforward his life, if uneventful, was prosperous. His professional gains enabled him in 1675 to add to the manor of Arbury, to which he had succeeded in 1642 on the death of his elder brother, that of Harefield, Middlesex, the ancient seat of his family, which had been alienated in the preceding century [see Anderson, Sir Edmund, ad fin.] On 24 July 1677 a baronetcy was conferred upon him without payment of the ordinary fees. He died at Harefield Manor on 14 Oct. 1678, and was buried in Harefield parish church, where a splendid monument was raised to his memory.

Newdigate married, in 1631, Juliana, daughter of Sir Francis Leigh, K.B., of King's Newnham, Warwickshire, and had issue six sons and five daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Richard (d. 1710), whose son, Sir Richard, third baronet, was father of Sir Roger [q. v.]

[Wotton's Baronetage, vol. iii. pt. ii. p. 624; Burke's Extinct Baronetages; Douthwaite's Gray's Inn, p. 73; Noble's Cromwell Family, i. 438; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Whitelocke's Mem. pp. 106, 259, 591, 625, 678; Cobbett's State Trials, iv. 654, 856; Cal. State Papers, 1654 p. 40, 1655 pp. 106, 117; Thurloe State Papers, iii. 359, 385; Godwin's Hist. of the Commonwealth, iv. 179, 180; Burton's Diary, ii. 512; Members of Parl. Official List; Siderfin's Reports, pt. i. p. 3; Foss's Judges; Campbell's Chief Justices.]

J. M. R.