ARUNDELL, Richard (c. 1616-87)

ARUNDELL, Richard (c. 1616-87)

cr. 23 Mar. 1665 Bar. ARUNDELL OF TRERICE.

First sat 31 Oct. 1666; last sat 15 Feb. 1687

MP Lostwithiel Apr. 1640, Nov. 1640-22 Jan. 1644; Bere Alston 26 June 1660; 29 Jan. 1662-23 Mar. 1665.

b. c. 1616, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of John Arundell of Trerice (d. 1654) and Mary, da. of George Cary of Clovelly, Devon; bro. of John Arundell and Nicholas Arundell, bro.-in-law of John Trevanion, stepfa. of Sir Nicholas Slanning, 1st bt. educ. L. Inn 16 Nov. 1633, called 18 Nov. 1640. m. c. 1645, Gertrude (d. 1691) wid. of Sir Nicholas Slanning of Marystow, Devon, da. of Sir James Bagge of Saltram, Devon, and Grace Fortescue, 2s. (1 d.v.p.). d. Sept. 1687;1 admon. Anthony Trethewy, June 1688, Aug. 1692.2

Master of horse to the queen mother by 1665–9.3

Lt. col. of ft. (royalist) by 1646; col. of militia ft. Dec. 1660–d.

Gov. Pendennis Castle Sept. 1660–d.; commr. for assessment 1661–5; dep. lt. Cornw. 1662–d.; commr. for corporations 1662–3, loyal and indigent officers 1662, oyer and terminer, Western circuit 1665; stannator of Tywarnwhaile 1663; freeman, Plymouth 1684, Liskeard, Bodmin, Mitchell and Penryn 1685.

Associated with: Walkhampton, Devon; Trerice, Newlyn, Cornw.

The Arundell family had been resident at Trerice since the fourteenth century and generations of intermarriage meant that they had extensive kinship links within the local political elite. Before the civil wars the family owned lands in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, enabling them to exercise a degree of political influence throughout the west country, but with more immediate electoral interests in the Cornish constituencies of Truro, Mitchell, Penryn and Bere Alston.

As a younger son, Richard Arundell was originally intended for the law but the events of the civil wars changed his destiny. He, his father and his brothers all took the king’s side and were noted for their courage and loyalty to the crown. His older brother, John Arundell, was killed in January 1644, leaving Richard as the heir to the family patrimony. Richard Arundell was commander of the trained bands and the garrison at Pendennis Castle where his father was governor. It was from this royalist refuge, one of the last strongholds to fall to the Parliamentary forces, that the Arundells ensured the escape of Queen Henrietta Maria to France and Charles II to the Scilly Isles, services that would forever endear them to the crown.4 The Arundells finally surrendered Pendennis in 1646. In 1650 they were declared delinquent and as a result Arundell and his father jointly compounded for the family estates at £10,000.5 Arundell nevertheless continued to be active in royalist risings and conspiracies.6

Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, described Richard Arundell as a ‘gentleman as well known by what he had done and suffered in the late time, as by the eminency of his family, and the fortune he was still master of after the great depredation’. He had apparently been promised a peerage as a reward for his and his family’s exertions on behalf of the king but, according to Clarendon, the actual grant was postponed until Arundell could recover sufficient wealth to support the dignity.7 A courtier and ally of John Grenville, earl of Bath, Arundell nevertheless occasionally found himself at odds with Bath’s other ally, George Monck, duke of Albemarle. Monck initially secured the governorship of Pendennis Castle for his cousin Sir Peter Killigrew and Arundell had to lobby for its restoration under the terms of an old royal patent.8

Arundell also became involved in a long-running and expensive fight with the presbyterian-dominated corporation of Plymouth over the farm of Sutton Pool (Plymouth’s internal harbour), staking his own claim under the rights of the king as duke of Cornwall against a Commonwealth grant. The king’s decision to back Arundell and oppose the corporation not only sent a clear political message about Dissent but also had financial ramifications since it enabled Arundell to extract fees for the use of Sutton Pool.9 Arundell won substantial costs against the corporation in 1664 but the dispute was still active in 1671 when he was forced to bring a case of breach of privilege of Parliament against those who still questioned his title.10

As a key supporter of the crown’s west country interests, with a strategic military role as well as useful electoral influence, Arundell occupied a pivotal place in the chain of patronage. His own rewards included the rectory of Newlyn, as well as leases of Restormel Park, Tregeare and Burnere.11 As governor of Pendennis Castle, he had control of large sums of money and lucrative supply contracts.12 In July 1662, for example, he received £2,000 for payment of the garrison, although, like so many other courtiers, he struggled at times to secure payment from the Treasury.13 Family, friends and clients also benefitted: John Clarke was granted the contract for the Plymouth and district postal service; Arundell’s stepson Sir Nicholas Slanning was appointed captain of Pendennis Castle and granted the governorship in reversion after Arundell’s death.14

Following the Restoration, it did not take long for Arundell to recover his estates and financial position. Accordingly he informed the king that he was ready to ‘receive his bounty’ and in March 1665 was created Baron Arundell of Trerice.15 He would have been eligible to take his seat during the brief October 1665 session but did not do so, waiting until the following session in 1666–7. He was introduced on 31 Oct. 1666 between John Belasyse, Baron Belasyse, and Charles Gerard, Baron Gerard of Brandon, and placed next to John Frescheville, Baron Frescheville, who had been elevated to the peerage a week earlier than Arundell. Frescheville and Arundell either were already or would soon become friends and political allies. They had much in common: both had served as royalist commanders in the civil wars, both had legal training and both were later allied to Frescheville’s nephew, Sir Thomas Osborne, best known as earl of Danby (later duke of Leeds). During this session, Arundell attended 79 per cent of possible sittings and was named to nine committees including, on 2 Jan. 1667, the committee for the act to restore Francis Scawen in blood. There was almost certainly a local interest here: the originating petition for the bill was presented by Arundell’s west country neighbour, Albemarle, and Francis Scawen was the son of Robert Scawen, a London attorney of Cornish origin. On 24 Jan. 1667 Arundell was also appointed a commissioner for public accounts.

The next (1667–9) session opened in the aftermath of Clarendon’s dismissal. Arundell’s attendance and workload increased significantly. He attended 93 per cent of sitting days and was named to a total of 23 committees. He was also named to the committee for privileges and the committee for petitions, and on 24 Apr. 1668 was appointed as one of the Lords’ representatives at a conference with the Commons on the impeachment of Sir William Penn. A rare glimpse into Arundell’s spiritual life comes from a comment made in June 1668 by Gilbert Sheldon, archbishop of Canterbury, who wrote that Arundell was a ‘person who hath eminently showed himself a true friend of the Church’.16 (Hardly any family papers survive to illustrate his role as a loyal courtier and Anglican more fully.)

The brief autumn 1669 session saw Arundell present for 66 per cent of sitting days. He was named to the usual sessional committees as well as to three committees. In Jan. 1670, in what may have been an indication of financial problems as well perhaps as resentment at insufficient recognition, Arundell tried to surrender his lease of Sutton Pool. His offer was referred to the Treasury Commissioners ‘to hear any propositions of the petitioner, the king wishing to recognize his loyalty and good services’. A ‘free gift’ of £3,000 from the king to Arundell the following May in recognition of his services and suffering for Charles II and his late father probably resulted from this incident.17

During the 1670–1 session Arundell attended only 27 per cent of sittings, his lowest attendance rate for any session of Parliament. He was again named to the usual sessional committees and to 13 others. On 28 Mar. 1670, in an otherwise rare indication of Arundell’s political activity, he joined the protest at the passage of the Roos divorce bill. His concern with local issues was apparent in his involvement in the opposition to the bill to make the recently built Falmouth church parochial. The bill was opposed by the inhabitants of Truro and Penryn, who resented the successful development of Falmouth by Sir Peter Killigrew into a rival port. It nevertheless passed, smoothed perhaps by Killigrew’s own relationship with the Crown and by his tactful decision to dedicate the church to King Charles the Martyr.18

A further indication of Arundell’s financial difficulty came in Feb. 1671 when he was involved in a chancery case with Roger Palmer, earl of Castlemaine [I] regarding a bond of £5,000, entered into ‘for his majesty’s service’, which Arundell had failed to pay.19 Meanwhile, throughout the spring he was involved in organizing the defences of the west country against the French fleet.20 Later that year he opened negotiations for the marriage of his son to ‘a young lady of considerable fortune’, offering to provide a jointure of £2,000 a year.21 The young lady in question was probably the west country heiress Elizabeth Cabell but the young John Arundell, later 2nd Baron Arundell of Trerice, lost out to Thomas Wharton, the future 5th Baron (later earl of) Wharton.22

Arundell attended only 50 per cent of sittings of the February–October 1673 session and was named to only two committees. It seems likely that he opposed the Declaration of Indulgence but there is no evidence to confirm this. His son’s marriage prospects continued to be a matter of concern. The young Arundell now paid suit to Anne Lee, granddaughter of the dowager countess of Rochester. Once again he found himself pitted against Wharton, whose negotiations to marry Elizabeth Cabell had broken down. Anne Lee was said to prefer John Arundell but, in another indication of Arundell’s financial status, her trustees preferred the security of the Wharton fortune to the Arundell debts.23

The very short session of October-November 1673 saw Arundell present every day. He also attended 92 per cent of sitting days in the equally short session of January-February 1674. His decision to do so was probably linked to the disintegration of the Cabal and the appointment of the future earl of Danby as lord treasurer in June 1673. Arundell was not only politically sympathetic to Osborne but also became a recipient of the latter’s much-needed financial largesse. In 1674 he was granted a pension of £1,000 for 21 years charged on the duchy of Cornwall, and appeared on Danby’s list of excise pensioners.24 That such injections of money were crucial is suggested by the financial arrangements for his son’s marriage to Margaret Acland in or about May 1675, which declare that Arundell’s estate was ‘charged and encumbered for the payment of divers sums of money which for the present cannot be paid and satisfied without apparent prejudice and loss to the estate of the said Richard Lord Arundell’ and then go on to list debts of just over £11,000 that were to be settled before payment of the bride’s portion.25

Not surprisingly, as the next session of Parliament (the first of 1675) approached, Danby calculated that Arundell was likely to support the non-resisting test. Arundell attended 98 per cent of sittings and was named to 15 committees, including the routine sessional ones. His attendance was similarly high (95 per cent) for the second 1675 session, when he was named to eight committees of the Houses, again including the usual sessional committees. On 19 Nov., during the disputes over Sherley v. Fagg, he was appointed as one of the reporters of a conference with the Commons on preserving a good understanding between the Houses. The following day he opposed the address for the dissolution of Parliament. Afterwards ‘some angry words’ passed between Arundell and Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, causing the House to intervene and caution them to allow no ‘further proceedings’ in the matter.

When the next session of Parliament opened on 15 Feb. 1677, George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham, argued that the long prorogation amounted to a dissolution; Arundell seconded Freschville’s motion that Buckingham be called to the bar of the House and disciplined.26 He was also involved in an attack on Shaftesbury alleging that the earl had spoken words ‘of a dangerous nature’ during his case before the king’s bench. Another of Danby’s allies, James Bertie, 5th Baron Norreys, registered a proxy in favour of Arundell on 26 Feb. 1677, vacated at the end of the session on 15 July 1678. This proxy may have been used during crucial divisions in January 1678, when Arundell voted against the inclusion of a declaration against transubstantiation in the oaths and against Danby’s arrest. Not surprisingly, in Shaftesbury’s analysis of lay peers Arundell was referred to as ‘thrice vile’. In what was by far Arundell’s busiest session in the Lords, he attended 98 per cent of sitting days and was named to 39 committees, as well as the committee for privileges. His committee nominations included matters of high political moment such as the enquiry into the publication of Some Considerations upon the Question, whether Parliament is Dissolved by Prorogation for Fifteen Months on 16 Feb. 1677, as well as the defence of local interests as in the Stannaries bill on 9 Apr. 1677.

At this time, Arundell was also concerned with exploiting his relationship with central government for his own business and financial interests. He and one of his Cornish associates, Samuel Enys, discussed the merits of the proposed farm of the coinage duty, said to be worth £6,000.27 When, in 1673, the king had farmed the whole excise of England and compensated the former farmers, Arundell (who seems to have had the farm of the excise in Cornwall) was overlooked. In October 1677 he petitioned that ‘he likewise may partake of his majesty’s bounty’.28 On 4 Apr. 1678 he voted to find Philip Herbert, 7th earl of Pembroke, not guilty in his trial for murder.

After a short prorogation the next session of Parliament opened on 23 May 1678. With pressure mounting on Danby and the king, Arundell attended 93 per cent of sitting days in the Lords and was named to six committees, including the committee of privileges and the committee for petitions. Listed by Danby as a solid court supporter and presumably hoping to extract financial benefit from his allegiance, in Sept. 1678 he petitioned the lord treasurer for a lease of a ‘great waste or barren ground called Exmoor, or the Forest of Exmoor’, close to one of his manors in Somerset.29

During the following session, which opened on 21 Oct. 1678 and was dominated by the Popish Plot scandal, Arundell held the proxies of William Ley, 4th earl of Marlborough, from 28 Oct., and Charles Howard, 3rd earl of Nottingham, from 6 November. Both were vacated at the end of the session. Arundell maintained a high level of attendance, being present on 95 per cent of sitting days, and was named to the usual sessional committees. He continued to be a reliable supporter of Danby, opposing the inclusion of a declaration against transubstantiation in the new oaths. When the opposition linked disarmament and disbanding of the army to the supply bill, the strategic importance of both Arundell’s and Bath’s regiments in Pendennis Castle and Plymouth respectively was recognized and they were exempted.30 Accordingly, in December 1678 Arundell was content to support the Lords’ amendment requiring the payment of money into the exchequer to fund the disbandment of the army.

When the short first Exclusion Parliament met on 6 Mar. 1679 Arundell’s support for the court and Danby remained solid. He attended every sitting bar one in the second session, beginning 15 Mar., and again held Nottingham’s proxy. On 21 Mar. when the Lords debated the Commons request for Danby’s arrest, Arundell and his allies Frescheville and Thomas Colepeper spoke in Danby’s favour.31 The following day he opposed the resolution to appoint a committee to prepare a bill for banishing and disabling Danby. By April 1679 Danby was in custody in the Tower but Arundell was still calculated to be a supporter and likely to vote against any proposal for his attainder. As predicted, on 1 April he was not content to agree with the Commons on Danby’s attainder and on 4 April he voted against it. Arundell may even have given Danby legal advice; he certainly forwarded a paper on a possible bail application to him.32 On 27 May he probably voted for the right of the bishops to stay in the House during capital cases.

In the second Exclusion Parliament Arundell attended 98 per cent of sitting days; his support for the king and opposition to Exclusion remained firm. He was not content to appoint a committee to consider the state of the kingdom along with the Commons, and he was one of the few peers to vote William Howard, Viscount Stafford, not guilty of treason.33 In the Oxford Parliament in March 1681 he attended 71 per cent of sittings. When James Bertie, 5th Baron Norreys, presented Danby’s petition for bail to the king at Oxford on 24 March, Arundell spoke in support.34

With the exclusion issue apparently resolved Arundell looked for his reward. His pension of £1,000 per annum was in arrears and in a letter to the king he stated that he had been ‘encouraged to make use of the pay for the soldiers in Pendennis Castle’ to make up the shortfall. With money still not forthcoming for his pension or to pay the soldiers at Pendennis, Arundell offered to surrender the patent for the pension if the king would only pay what was due to the soldiers. His request was ignored and in a subsequent letter Arundell claimed that the non-payment had been ‘not only his ruin but his disgrace’. He later offered to surrender his post as governor of Pendennis Castle, as well as his pension, if the king would take care of the garrison’s pay. The £1,200 offered to the garrison had been refused and the soldiers were mutinous. According to Arundell’s calculations he was personally owed over £4,800, which left him unable to pay the £2,859 he owed. Eventually he was ordered to disband the foot company under his command and the treasury commissioners, Thomas Starsmore and Giles Draper, were sent to pay off the soldiers.35

In 1684, as the corporations were purged and new charters issued, Arundell was made one of the ‘first and modern free burgesses’ of the borough of Saltash, a freeman of Liskeard and a burgess of Penryn.36 In the 1685 session of James II’s Parliament he attended on 80 per cent of sitting days and was named to the usual sessional committees and 12 others. On 19 May he and Charles Butler, Baron Butler of Weston, introduced Ralph Stawell, Baron Stawell. In January 1686 he was one of the peers summoned to try Henry Booth, 2nd Baron Delamer, although he appears not to have attended as he is not listed in the account in State Trials.37 In the spring of 1686 problems over Sutton Pool again re-emerged. The corporation had been remodelled in 1684 and claimed that their new charter confirmed their jurisdiction and right to levy certain taxes on properties in Sutton Pool. Arundell challenged this by means of a quo warranto but the corporation appealed over his head to the king and Privy Council, who effectively tossed Arundell’s years of loyalty aside and, in consideration of ‘the loyalty of the present magistrates’, blocked his action by a nolle prosequi.38

Although Arundell and his family had been staunch royalists, Arundell found himself in opposition to James II’s policies and opposed the repeal of the Test Acts. He did not live long enough to see his loyalty tested by the events of the revolution. He died in September 1687 and was succeeded by his son, also named John, as 2nd Baron Arundell of Trerice. James II’s refusal to assist Arundell over Sutton Pool had left him financially stranded. So great were the debts he had incurred in the course of a quarter of a century in defending the king’s rights that he was forced to mortgage his interest in Sutton Pool to Anthony Trethewy and it was Trethewy who took out letters of administration after Arundell’s death and gained possession of that and possibly other properties.39


  • 1 Bodl. Carte 228, f. 209.
  • 2 TNA, PROB 6/64, f. 83r.
  • 3 CSP Dom. 1664–5, p. 423.
  • 4 M. Stoyle, West Britons, 70; M. Coate, Cornwall in the Great Civil War and Interregnum, 195; Cornw. RO, T/1767.
  • 5 CCC, 2238.
  • 6 CSP Dom. 1650, p. 47; CSP Dom. 1655, p. 238; Coate, Cornwall in the Great Civil War, 291; Stoyle, West Britons, 126.
  • 7 Clarendon, Life, ii. 99–100.
  • 8 CSP Dom. 1668–9, pp. 644–5.
  • 9 CSP Dom. 1663–4, pp. 200–1; S.K. Roberts, Recovery and Restoration in an English County, 163–4.
  • 10 HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, 267a; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1, 164b; CSP Dom. June 1687–Feb. 1689, p. 223.
  • 11 Eg. 2542, f. 417; CSP Dom. 1661–2, p. 260.
  • 12 TNA, AO 1/307/1197–9; E 351/340–2.
  • 13 CSP Dom. 1661–2, pp. 467, 448, 585; CSP Dom. 1680–1, p. 528; CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 272–3.
  • 14 Roberts, Recovery and Restoration, 141; CSP Dom. 1663–4, pp. 525, 529.
  • 15 Clarendon, Life, ii. 100.
  • 16 Bodl. Add. C 308, f. 118.
  • 17 CSP Dom. 1670, pp. 26–27, 195; Plymouth & West Devon RO, 34/63, 25 Oct. 1673.
  • 18 HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1, p. 142b; LJ, xii. 330, 369.
  • 19 TNA, C6/52/2; C33/239/331–2; CSP Dom. 1671–2, p. 383.
  • 20 CSP Dom. 1671–2, p. 383.
  • 21 Beinecke Lib. OSB MSS fb 42, ff. 6–7.
  • 22 J.K. Clark, Whig’s Progress, 43.
  • 23 Verney ms mic. M636/26, C. Gardiner to Sir R. Verney, 8 Sept. 1673.
  • 24 Cornw. RO, EN/1898, f. 47; HP Commons, 1660–90, i, 551; Browning, Danby, iii. 13, 47.
  • 25 Cornw. RO, X1005/1/1.
  • 26 HMC Rutland, ii. 39; Haley, Shaftesbury, 417; Browning, Danby, i. 215.
  • 27 Cornw. RO, EN/1898, f. 45.
  • 28 CSP Dom. 1677–8, p. 408.
  • 29 CSP Dom. & Add. 1678, p. 408.
  • 30 HMC Lords, i. 79–80; CSP Dom. 1679–80, p. 61.
  • 31 Add. 28046, f. 49.
  • 32 Eg. 3334, ff. 121–2.
  • 33 Bodl. Rawl. A 183, f. 62; Bodl. Carte 80, f. 823.
  • 34 HMC Lindsey, 426; Bodl. Carte 79, f. 164.
  • 35 CSP Dom. 1680–1, p. 528; CSP Dom. 1682, pp. 272–3, 310; Cornw. RO, AR/26/21.
  • 36 Cornw. RO, DD/CY7236; CSP Dom. Feb.–Dec. 1685, pp. 66, 73–74.
  • 37 JRL, Legh of Lyme mss; State Trials, xi. cols. 514–15.
  • 38 TNA, PC/71, 18 Feb. and 4 Mar. 1686.
  • 39 CSP Dom, June 1687–Feb. 1689, p. 315.