Roberts, William (1605-1662) (DNB00)

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ROBERTS, Sir WILLIAM (1605–1662), parliamentarian, born in 1605, was the second son of Barne Roberts (d. 1610) of Willesden, and of Mary, daughter of Sir William Glover, alderman of London. He entered at Gray's Inn on 7 Aug. 1622 (Foster, Reg. of Gray's Inn), and on 18 May 1624 he was knighted by James I at Greenwich (Metcalfe, Knights). Under Charles I he served on various commissions, for compounding with delinquent importers of gold and silver thread (State Papers, Dom. James I, cccvi. No. 25, 1635) and for enforcing the practice of the long bow (ib. ccclv. 78, 5 May 1637). But on the outbreak of the civil war he appears to have immediately sided with the parliamentary party. He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of the county of Middlesex, and as such was ordered to receive the money collected for the relief of Brentford against the king (State Papers, Car. I, ccccxciii. 12, 20 Dec. 1642). On 15 Nov. 1644 he was directed to draw out three hundred men of the trained bands to suppress the rising at Windsor. There is no authority for the statement that he was a regicide. He continued, however, in minor employment, appeared in May 1650 as head of the Middlesex militia (Council Book, Record Office, I. lxiv. 344), and on 1 April 1652 he was placed on the commission for removing obstructions in the sale of episcopal and crown lands (Commons' Journals, vii. 113; cf. Whitelocke, Memorials, p. 274). The record of his purchases of church lands is extensive. He bought the manor of Witherington, Northampton, belonging to the bishopric of Peterborough (Collectanea Topogr. et Geneal. i. 284; Addit. MS. 9049); the prebendal manors of Neasden and Chambers or Chamberlainwood (Willesden) in 1649, and of Harlesden, and he enclosed about two acres of waste belonging to the prebend of Neasden (Lysons, Environs of London, iv. 644, iii. 613). On 10 June 1653 power was given to him to provide a minister for the church of Kingsbury in Middlesex by the committee of plundered ministers (Council Book, Record Office, I. lxix. 256). In the same month he acted as one of the commissioners for the sale of forfeited estates (ib. lxix. 315, 15 June 1653). On 1 Nov. 1653 he was appointed a member of the council of state (Commons' Journals, vii. 134). He was a commissioner for appeals in excise at a salary of 300l. per annum (11 April 1654) (Cal. State Papers, 1654, pp. 87, 343), a commissioner for the sale of crown lands (ib. p. 341), and from 1656 onwards an auditor of the exchequer (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1659 passim; Whitelocke, p. 630). He was returned as member for Middlesex county to the parliament which was called for 17 Sept. 1656 (Return of Members, i. 504), and was one of the sixty who received a summons to sit in Cromwell's House of Peers, 11 Dec. 1657 (Whitelocke, p. 660). After the Restoration he was created a baronet, 8 Nov. 1661. He was buried in Willesden church on 27 Sept. 1662 (Lysons, Environs of London, iii. 622).

Roberts married Eleanor, daughter and heiress of Robert Atye, esq., of Kilburn, and left a large family. On the death of his grandson William, the fourth baronet, in 1700, the title became extinct.

[Authorities given above; Middlesex County Records, iii. 308; Urwick's Nonconformity in Hertfordshire, p. 137; Burke's Extinct Baronetage.]

W. A. S.