Sir Richard BULKELEY of Beaumaris, Anglesey, and Lewisham, Knight
Buried: Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales
Father: Richard BULKELEY of Beaumaris (Sir) (See his Biography)
Mother: Margaret SAVAGE
Married 1: Catherine DAVENPORT
1. Elizabeth BULKELEY
2. Richard BULKELEY
Married 2: Mary BOROUGH 1577
3. Catherine BULKELEY (m. Edwin Sandys)
4. Penelope BULKELEY
5. Elizabeth BULKELEY
6. Margaret BULKELEY
7. Dau. BULKELEY
8. Thomas BULKELEY of Cashells
9. Son BULKELEY
The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.
First son of Sir Richard Bulkeley of Beaumaris by his 1st wife, Margaret Savage. Educ. L. Inn 1558. Married first, 1558, Catherine (d. 1573), dau. of Sir William Davenport of Bramhall, Cheshire; and secondly, 1577, Mary, dau. of William Borough, 4th Baron Burgh of Gainsborough. Suc. fa. 1572. Kntd. 1577. Constable, Beaumaris castle; ex officio mayor Beaumaris 1561-2, mayor 1562-3; j.p.q. Anglesey from c.1574; j.p. Caern. by 1591, Cheshire, rem. c.1587; gent. pens. 1568-c.81; v.-adm. N. Wales 1577; dep. lt. Anglesey 1587; member, council in marches of Wales by 1602; commr. for Scottish union 1604.
Bulkeley, who sat for Anglesey in 1563 through the influence of his father, was educated in the household of Edmund Bonner. Little is recorded about him outside Anglesey during the early years of Elizabeth's reign, but after his father's death he became a courtier, entertaining the Queen at least once at Lewisham. He received his knighthood on the eve of his second marriage, to one of the Queen's maids of honour. Bulkeley used his influence at court to strengthen his position in Wales, often at the expense of his neighbours. In Caernarvonshire, he consolidated the Arllechwedd settlements of his fifteenth-century ancestors and, by extending his sphere of influence in the Conway hinterland, curbed the territorial ambitions of the Wynns of Gwydir in that area. His litigiousness over land disputes in Anglesey was notorious, and the one important opposition faction in the island, led by the Woods of Thosmor and Lewis Owen of Brondeg, proved unable to withstand him. So powerful was he by 1580 that he took the leading part in the opposition of the Gwynedd gentry to the Earl of Leicester's attempts to extend his rights in the forest of Snowdon into adjoining counties. Through his court position, Bulkeley managed to secure the revocation of a commission of inquiry dominated by Leicester's agents. Naturally his quarrel with Leicester afforded Welsh opponents an opportunity to impugn his character. Owen Wood of Rhosmor accused him of oppressing the townspeople of Beaumaris, and claimed that he had been implicated in the Babington plot. Bulkeley, who detected Leicester's influence behind these charges, was exonerated by the Privy Council, but some years later was censured in the Star Chamber for molesting Wood. These troubles, together with a quarrel with the Earl of Essex over the impost on sweet wines, may explain why his admission to the council in the marches, recommended by the Earl of Pembroke about 1590, was deferred until ten years later.
Apparently Richard and his stepmother Agnes had long been at odds as had her children and Richard and his siblings. Richard accused his stepmother of poisoning her husband. Poison was found in a chest in her room. At the trial, Agnes seems also to have been accused of committing adultery with William Kendrick or Kenericke, “a young gallant” who serenaded her beneath her window while Sir Richard was away to attend Parliament. One source says that a Beaumaris jury acquitted her of murder. Another says that litigation dragged out for three full years before the charges were dropped.
Bulkeley's lands in Cheshire, Caernarvonshire and Anglesey brought him £4,300 a year: the Anglesey estates alone were said to be worth £2,500. As customer of Beaumaris he enjoyed the prisage of all wine cargoes there. In Chester he was farmer of fuels and wines brought into the town. In 1691 he became a shareholder in the Virginia Company (of which his son in law Sir Edwin Sandys was treasurer), acquiring lands in the colony and undertaking to ‘plant’ a hundred persons.
He is not mentioned in the known records of the House of Commons in 1563, and did not sit again until some 40 years later. He died 28 Jun 1621, disinheriting his spendthrift son for marrying a cottager's daughter. The heir was his grandson Richard.
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