Richard Newman of Fifehead
1584 - 1664

 Relationship to me: Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Gen -10
Born 1584  
Died 10 July 1664, buried at Fifehead 25th July 1664  
Age 80  
Father:      Thomas Newman of Fifehead d. 1649
Mother: Ellen Mayo
Brothers: (younger?) Thomas Newman d. 1668 (?)
  Robert Newman will proved 1653
  John Newman will proved 1658
Sisters: none
 
Married: (1) Elizabeth Symonds m: 5th May 1614 at Tinkleton, Dorset died in childbirth before 1619
  (2) Elizabeth Perry m. c 1619 d. 1620
Children: (1) Ann (m. Robert White) c. 1615 - see below
  (1) Jane c. 1617 - see also below
  (2) Thomas Newman b c.1619 - see below
  (2) Richard Newman of Fifehead 1620 - 1695


Notes on Richard Newman: Richard matriculated into Gloucester Hall, Oxford, on 18th June 1602.

There has been much confusion about and between this Richard Newman (d.1664) and his son Richard Newman (d.1695), their procurement of estates and their roles in the English Civil War. As for tthe Civil War, most of the speculations are listed and dismissed on the younger Richard's web page, but it seems certain that one of the two (and possibly both) were involved as a leader of the Dorsetshire Clubmen, the evidence coming from several sources - e.g:

But past claims about one of the Richards being a Colonel on the Royalist side and his assisting the young King Charles II to escape from Worcester in 1651 and being rewarded for his efforts, seem to have been fictitious. Notwithstanding, in April 1664 (three months before his death) Richard was awarded an augmentation to his Coat of Arms (in the form of a portcullis) by "King Charles the Second taking into his Princely consideration & very well remembering the many great & eminent services done unto him & his late Royal father King Charles .... being desirous to testify unto Posterity by some marks & characters of honour, the value & esteem [King Charles II] hath of the persons who have with courage constancy & fidelity performed the same" (see complete text kindly supplied by the College of Arms).

In the words of Mark Scott of the Collage: "The augmentation of honour of a crowned portcullis was indeed granted to Richard Newman for services to the Crown, though the patent is not specific as to the nature of these services". Given that April 1664 was four years after Charles' restoration, it is most unlikely that Richard had a pressing case for recognition of his services. It seems more likely to have been a belated recognition of minor services to the king or his father. Charles Spencer's observation in the penultimate chapter of his book may be pertinent:

"The Cavalier Parliament met for the first time in May 1661, and sat for nearly three-quarters of Charles II's twenty-five-year reign. It became known as 'the Pensioner Parliament' because of the number of awards granted by the king to those who had supported him during his time waiting for the throne. As Colonel Gunter commented, when comparing the dire days of the autumn of 1651 with the subsequent prospects of rich prizes: 'So few friends then had his Sacred Majesty in his distresses, now so numerous in expectation of reward:'

Those who had any claim at all to compensation for their services or their loyalty to the Crown came forward. Among them were the truly worthy, such as Mary Graves, who had helped to supply the king's army in Worcester during the run-up to the battle, and had also sent Charles two fine horses for his own use, and ten mounted fighting men for his army. After supporting a failed Royalist uprising in 1659 she had suffered the confiscation of all her property. She now sought £30,000 from the king.

George Paterick had served both Charles I and II in the army and the navy for sixteen years, and had consequently been imprisoned on several occasions by Parliament. A former waterman who ferried passengers across the Thames for a fee, he now asked for the honour of a place as an oarsman on the royal barge.

Katherine de Luke had suffered repeatedly and terribly for the Crown. She lost her husband to battlefield wounds, and a son to indentured slavery. After being caught smuggling secret letters she was sentenced to imprisonment, with the added punishment of a whipping every other day. She was tortured on various occasions, with lit matches applied to her body to try to get her to betray fellow Royalists.

Some other claims were, it has to be said, more tenuous. One man hoped for remuneration for having been in charge of Charles's tennis shoes and ankle socks as a young man. A Robert Thomas expected reward for being the son of Charles's childhood seamstress, even though she was dead. Another petitioner, Robert Chamberlain, trusted that the king would see fit to reward him because he was, he claimed, 110 years old. He seems to have confused the quality of loyalty with the luck of longevity."

As to estate purchases, it seems that this Richard may have inherited or purchased the Sparkford Manor estate from his cousin Richard Newman of Charlton Musgrove but this remains speculative. With the help of Harold Biggs, it now seems clear that it was the younger Richard (d.1695) who purchased the estates of Evercreech, Cadbury and Fifehead. His father (this Richard) nevertheless continued to live on the Fifehead estate until his death.

Richard died in 1664 and is buried in Fifehead where a stone in the small North Chapel is inscribed with a memorial to him (as transcribed below and into my notes on Fifehead):


photo by Chris Newman Oct 2004

The Latin inscription below left is taken from the above photograph while the 'verbatim' translation was kindly given to me by Jerry Gandolfo (see also John Hutchin's History of Dorset for an alternative version of the inscription):

 Richardus Newmannus
Thomae primogenitus in eodem obdormit sepulcr[um]
Filios Thomam flore juventutis febre abrep[tum]
Et Richardum huius momenti [com?]positorem
Huius epigraphes compositorem
Filias Annam et Janani superstites genuit
Observantia in supiores comitate in interiores
In singulos justitiam dilligenter exercuit
Viduitatem veram quadraginta quinq[ue] annos ten[?]
Patrem tam virtute qua diuturnitate imitatus
Ad amussim officii observavit
Iunii X, AD. M.D.C.L.XIIII
Hemi plegia laborans octogenari expiravit

Richard Newman,
firstborn son of Thomas, lies in the same grave.
He fathered sons Thomas, carried off by fever in the flower of youth,
And Richard, erector of this monument,
Composer of these inscriptions,
Surviving Daughters Anne and Jane.
With respect toward superiors and
friendship toward inferiors,
He diligently dispensed Justice equally to all.
He remained a true widower for 44 years,
Imitating his father equally in virtue and in longevity,
He followed the rule of duty.
On 10th June AD 1664 suffering one-sided paralysis he expired in his 80th year.
[translation, courtesy of Peter Foden]

Peter Foden's translations of Thomas and Richard's monument inscription were accompanied by the following comments:

I am reasonably happy with the sense of these translations, although grammatically some lines are obscure. “Very thirsty for the best law” is odd because “lex perfectissima” is in the nominative, but so is “ipse” (he), and “siti” is I think dative (-met is an emphatic suffix). And Janani seems an odd name for the second daughter, however I notice that there is a Latin form Junana for Jane given by Trice Martin in The Record Interpreter, which is close enough to Jananus.

I am interested in the alteration, which may have had fraudulent intent: I know of a similar example in Sussex, where a family claiming an estate through Chancery litigation in the 18th century made such an alteration in order to strengthen their case (without any other evidence).

The Latin is very good and poetic, wherein lies the difficulty. If it had been simple dog-Latin it might have been easier but also far less interesting.

Ann and Jane: Richard is known to have had a daughter Ann who was the daughter of his first wife Elizabeth Symonds. Elizabeth is believed to have died in childbirth before 1619, so it seems .

The above references to sons Thomas and Richard (1620-1695) imply that Thomas was the elder of the two and that he died young, leaving Richard to inherit his father's estates. Based on this, it is assumed that Thomas was Elizabeth Perry's first child and that he was born c.1619.

Thomas Newman: As noted in my comments about Thomas (Richard's father) who shares the memorial with Richard: "It has been suggested by Tony Newman in the Newman Chronicle of April 1998 that the Thomas Newman buried near the entrance gate to the Fifehead Magdalen churchyard was the eldest son of Thomas Newman." This may be a correct deduction, however it is equally possible that the reference to "Son Thomas"on Richard's memorial refers to a son of Richard who died young.

Note: Harold Biggs reported in an email dated 10th December 2013 that he had discovered records in the Westminster Abbey Registers stating that Richard had a son Thomas who was baptized 29 May 1661 at St. Margaret's Westminster and buried there 26 July 1668, however this could only have been the son of Richard Newman junior and not the son of this Richard Newman

Elizabeth Symonds was daughter of Giles Symonds of Woodford Castle.

Elizabeth Perry was daughter and heir of Christopher Perry of Kenn*, Somerset, by Elinor, daughter of Sir William Guise of Elmore, Bart. who was of Royal descent. According to Campbell Newman's website this marriage established his children in court circles close to their distant cousins Charles I and Queen Henriette Marie. [* It was previously thought to have been Kern, Somerset, but it seems that no such place exists. Kenn is just outside Clevedon by the North Somerset coast.] Further information about the Perrys can be found in "The History and Antiquities of the Hundred of Desborough" (available through Google Books). Thanks to Steve Slater for this information.]

According to Richard Newman's monument inscription above, he was widowed for 44 years, which implies that Elizabeth Perry died in 1620 - i.e. in the first or second year of her marriage, perhaps while giving birth to Richard (d.1695).

Note: Tony Newman in his Fifehead.ged file states "Received grant of patent of augmentation from Sir Edward Walker, Garter King of Arms on 02 Apr 1664."


Last updated: 11th Aug 2020 - Substantiial rewriting with information from Harold Biggs.
Updated: 8th May 2020 - Information added about the Perry family, thanks to Stephen Slater.
Updated: 16th Jan 2014 - Richard now assumed to be the eldest son of Thomas Newman. "Son Thomas taken away in the prime of life by an attack of fever" now assumed to be Richard's son Thomas.

Last updated: 5th Aug 2013 - reference to uncertainty as to whether it was this Richard Newman or his son who was rewarded for supporting the Royalist cause during the Civil War.

Updated: 10th Dec 2004