Richard Newman of Fifehead
1620 - 1695

 Relationship to me: Great Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather Gen -9
Born 1620  
Died 24th September 1695; b. October 17, 1695 at Fifehead Magdalen  
Age 75  
Father:      Richard Newman of Fifehead 1584 - 1664
Mother: Elizabeth Perry d. 1620
Brothers: (elder) Thomas Newman c.1619 - ????
Sisters: (elder) Ann c.1615 - ????
  Jane c.1617 -????
Married: Anne Harbord (m. c,1649) 1634 - 1690
Children:  Richard Newman of Evercreech Park 1650 - 16823
  Elizabeth m. (1) Thomas Warre Jul 1672 at Westminster and (2) Edward Scott m.1681 see National Archives 1653 -after 1695
  Anne Christianna m. Sir William Honeywood Bart. of Elmstead 15 July 1675 c1655 - 1736
  Frances m. John Oxenham Jan 1676 at Westminster 1659 - after 1681
  Charles Harbord 1667-1683
  Thomas ???? - 1668
  Francis Holles Newman 1671 - 1714
  According to Harold Biggs' researches, there was another unnamed daughter who died 23 July 1673.

Legends associated with this Richard Newman

Many Newman family histories record that this Richard Newman joined the Royalist forces during the English Civil War (1642 - 1651) taking the rank of Colonel. He was said to have lent money in support of Charles I, and in 1651 assisted the young king Charles II escape after the Battle of Worcester where Charles's largely Scottish force was defeated at the hands of Cromwell's New Model Army. Furthermore, Richard was said to have been imprisoned for his efforts supporting the king, though where and when is not stated. It was likewise recorded that after Charles II regained his throne at the Restoration in 1660, he rewarded Richard with an augmentation to his Coat of Arms in the form of an "escutcheon gules" (red shield) and a "crowned portcullis or" (gold coloured portcullis with crown on top), plus a large cash reward (though this may have beenreimbursement of funds loaned to Charles's father) - see Heraldry Society's page. The same story appears in Arthur Charles Fox-Davies’s “Complete Guide to Heraldry” which states that following the Battle of Worcester “the King escaped through the gate of the city solely through the heroic efforts of Colonel Newman, and this is kept in remembrance by the inescutcheon of augmentation, viz: "Gules, a portcullis imperially crowned or.”

Efforts to find any evidence to support any of the above claims about Richard Newman have proved fruitless. In his book "To Catch a King", Charles (Earl) Spencer, who in 2015 published a definitive account of Charles II's 1651 escape from Worcester. In reply to a question about Richard Newman's involvement the event, he said that his researches had revealed no mention of a Richard Newman having any role in the King's escape.

Facts (or believed to be facts) associated with this Richard Newman

Researches have revealed a rather different (though far from complete) story, that includes the following clues:

Another fallacy unearthed by Harold Biggs appears in "The history and antiquities of Somersetshire Vol 1, Parts 3-6" by William Phelps which on page 394 states that "... after the death of Sir Francis Hastings in 1610, "by some family arrangement the manors and estates of North and South-Cadbury were sold to Richard Newman, Esq. High-Steward of Westminster." The Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society's Proceedings, 1870 Vol. XVI. Pages 21,22,23 which attests that Arthur Ducke, Doctor of Civil Law, was the owner of North and South Cadbury until his death in 1649, when the estates were inherited by his daughter Mary, wife of William Harbord,, who was the brother of Richard's wife Anne. According to Frederic Weaver's Notes & Queries for Somerset ad Dorset (1893), she and her husband sold them to Richard Newman, her brother-in-law, in 1685.

Some years earlier, in 1660, Richard had purchased the Evercreech Park estate, but he inherited Sparkford Manor, presumably from his father. Either way, it is believed that he also purchased Fifehead Manor in 1660, but so far I've found no clear evidence of this. According to John Hutchin's History of Dorset, in June 1649 a John Aclyft bought the manor at Fifehead and Crokerford for £1333 12s 4d and that "during the Rebellion, Richard Newman gent. compounded for and paid £287 10s for being a commissioner of the King's". It doesn't say who Aycroft bought the manor from or why, but the date of his purchase is shortly after the King's execution and the commencement of Parliamentary rule, so perhaps the two statements are connected in some way. In earlier times, the Newmans had leased the manor from the Bristol Canons and Bishops.

Note: the £287 10s fine was in fact the price of a pardon that Richard's father purchased in November 1648, supposedly by King Charles I, in which Richard was pardoned of “all and singular Treasons, both major and minor, and crimes of lese Majeste, and also rebellions, insurrections, conspiracies and concealments of all and singular the same treasons and crimes of lese Majeste, from the 20th May 1642”. For this he had to pay a hefty fine of £287 10s (perhaps £30,000 or more in today’s money). In fact the pardon must have been issued by Parliament in Charles’s name because, in November 1648, the King was in no position to be issuing pardons to anyone as he was imprisoned on the Isle of Wight awaiting his final journey to London. The pardon is written in Latin but an English transaltion has been provided by Peter Foden.

Richard's Properties

Richard appears to have been a very wealthy man. It's not clear where his wealth came from, but some no doubt came from his father and probably a sizeable sum from his wife's family. No doubt some also came from his law practice, Anyway, he seems to have held a rather large property portfolio.

Cadbury estates: Both Phelps and Collinson refer to the sale of the Cadbury estates to Richard Newman, High Steward of Westminster, in or around 1610, however this may be incorrect. If it is true, then it must have been Richard's father who bought them. (Besides that, according to John Hutchins, it was Richard's father who was High Steward of Westminster. Anyway, Richard's father would have been only 26 years old in 1610., What's more, his father was still alive, so it may perhaps be doubted that he would have bought the two estates at such a young age.)

Dwellings in Westminster: The History of Parliament on-line mentions Richard Newman having a residence at Tothill Street, Westminster in 1675 at the time of his daughter Anna Christiana's marriage. It's possible that the website has confused Tothill Street with nearby Tufton Street where (according to the 1695 codicil to his will) Richard owned no less than five dwellings. Living in them were: himself, his elder son Richard, his younger son Francis Holles Newman, Elizabeth and Edward Scott, Grace Newman (née Edmunds) and a Mrs Corfe. [There seems to be a contradiction here because, in his 1681 will Richard's son Richard (1650-1682) left "unto my wife Mrs Grace Newman my House in Tufton street in the City of Westminster", so perhaps Richard (1620-1695) was mistaken in thinking it was his.] The location of both Tothill and Tufton streets can be found on this map, together with Old Palace Yard where Richard's grandchilren lived (according to a 1754 Act of Parliament).

Fifehead: Richard presumably inherited the Fifehead estates and manor in 1664 when his father died. In 1693 he was responsible for building the Newman chapel on the north side of the church over the vault where his remains were laid to rest next to his wife's. His descendants were probably laid to rest there until the chapel was closed following the death of his granddaughter Frances in 1775. Yet his name is conspicuous by its absence from any of the monuments inside the chapel. Perhaps his memorial was originally given pride of placed on the north wall of the chapel and later removed to make room for Sir Henry Cheere's great monument commemorating Richard's grandson Sir Richard Newman and his family or perhaps no memorial was erected to him, given the fact that his eldest son pre-deceased him.

Sparkford Manor: It is belived that Richard also inherited Sparkford Manor from his father.

Thornbury Park: A further account of this and several other Newmans can be found in Thornbury & District's Research News No 148 (Apr 2016) which states that it was this Richard Newman who purchased the Thornbury Park estate on 17th May 1679. This is confirmed in Richard's will where it says "I stand seized in fee simple of and in the reversion expectant after the death of Lady Nevill of and in Thornbury Park".

Evercreech Park: Richard's eldest son was known as Richard Newman of Evercreech. However the property was purchased in 1657 when he would have been just seven years old, so it must have been his father (this Richard) who purchased it.

Preston Deanery: Richard's Will mentions Preston in a convoluted clause saying that he hopes "my said Grandchild Richard Newman whom I pray God to preserve shall happen to die without issue of his body whereby several lands tenements and hereditaments in Preston in the County of Northampton will descend and come unto the said Anne and Barbara as coheirs unto the said Richard their brother which lands and tenements by compu???? will be better worth than six thousand pounds".

Quuen Camel Rectory: Richard's Will mentions Queen Camel Rectory saying "my said grandson is left at liberty to take such means? and remedy as he may or can upon and against the Rectory of Queen Camel in the County of Somerset for arrogating the interest of three hundred pounds which Thomas Warre his grandfather did aver that he heretofore lent upon a Mortgage of part of the said Rectory". It sounds as if he had at least an interest in the property.

Richard's inheritors

We don't have a copy of Richard's original Will; only three codicils dated 1695. This spells out a large number of inheritors but doesn't mention the Cadbury, Sparkford or Evercreech properties which were presumably covered in his Will proper. Fifehead is only mentioned to the extent that his sister Jane Cox "should live in the farm? house of Fifehead aforesaid and have from the said far, sufficient stuff? For living? without paying anything for the same".

Contrary to normal custom, it appears that Richard divided his estate between his grandson Sir Richard Newman who inherited Evercreech, Fifehead and Thornbury Park, and his surviving son, Francis Holles Newman, who inherited the Cadbury and Sparkford estates.

According to a note written by Louisa Annie Rogers in 1947, there then existed a portrait of Richard Newman (or Sir Richard Newman as she refers to him). Presumably this portrait still exists, but unfortunately it was not part of the collection of portraits and other family heir-looms that formed part of the estate of Gertrude Newman-Rogers that was auctioned off in 2008.

In 2023 I wrote an article for the Newman Name Society's Chronicle, titled The Mysterious Colonel Richard Newman. This endeavours to spell out the facts and falsehood surrounding this Richard Newman

From other Newman sources who retain the belief that Richard was a Civil War hero::

From John Newman May 2002: "Col.Richard Newman of Fifehead: High Steward of Westminster. Sherborne school c.1630. Matriculated Pembroke College Oxford 30/10/1635 aged 15. BA 15/6/1639. Barrister at Law of the Middle Temple 1640. Donor to Sherborne School of 'two gloabes'".

Campbell Newman's account offers the following: "Richard had formed a close bond with members of the royalist faction, and during the Civil Wars was elevated to the War Cabinet as High Steward, roughly equivalent to the office of Prime Minister. He gave large sums from the Perry-Guise fortune to the Stewart kings Charles I and II. At the Battle of Warwick (1651), he held the gates of the City to enable Charles II's retreat, a valiant feat of arms which earned his grandson a baronetcy in posthumous gratitude following that King's restoration. The arms of all descendants of Colonel Richard were also commanded to be augmented by a 'portcullis or surmounted by a crown' representing service to the crown before the Gates of Warwick (§.iii). Richard Newman married Anna, daughter of Sir Charles HARBORD, Surveyor-General to Charles I and II, some time before Charles I was beheaded in 1649, and by her had a large family. He died in 1695, aged 75 years." [Note: If the date I have for Anne Harbord's birth is right (1634), then she would have been a very young bride if she married Richard before Charles I's execution in 1649.]

The Newmans during the English Civil War

Jerry Gandolfo made an interesting point in an email he sent to me on 15 Mar 2003. He wrote: "There are constant references to the English Civil War in our family history (having been pivotal events in the Newman and Wyndham families). At first glance, it appears the Newmans, the Wyndhams and the Sandys were all Royalist. Now, I've discovered a very strong Puritan attachment among the Newman and Sandy's families. The English colonies of North America, later to form the original United States, are largely a by-product of the English Civil War. In the northern group of colonies, collectively called "New England" the settlements were dominated by Puritans who did not like Kings Charles I, Charles II or James II. These colonies for the most part reflect Native American Indian names such as Massachusetts and Connecticut (but also with names such as Rhode Island and New Hampshire). The central colonies, collectively called the "Mid-Atlantic" were largely "Royalist" enterprises. These colonies were named for monarchs; Maryland for Queen Mary, Virginia for Queen Elizabeth (the "virgin" queen) and North Carolina for King Charles. (The southern colonies, South Carolina and Georgia were mixed Royalist, Scotch-Irish and French Huguenots.)

King Charles II who was perhaps the central most figure in the English Civil War (aside from Cromwell) was a central figure in North America. During the dominance of the Parliamentarians, Royalist exiles and refugees came to North America, especially to Maryland. During the domination of the Kings, Puritan religious sought a new society by immigration to North America, especially to the Massachusetts Bay colony and it's subsidiary, New London, which subsequently became Connecticut. In fact, at one point, the Governor of Connecticut was named Francis Newman. This Newman was apparently from London, and with other Newmans, were zealous Puritans. In Virginia, Edwin Sandys was a charter founder of the Virginia Colony (although he never actually left England), a zealous Puritan, and was even arrested by James I on suspicion of wanting to make Virginia into a republic. His son, George Sandys did move to Virginia, and his niece married the Governor of Virginia. Another Sandys, James Sandys, was an early settler of Block Island in Rhode Island. Meanwhile, other Sandys, the Barons of Vine, lost everything they had by supporting the Kings in the English Civil Wars. In both cases, it appears there were Newmans and Sandys on both sides of the fence, not an altogether rare situation in civil wars.

Last updated: 9th May 2023 - several clarifications taking account of Richard's Will (or codicil).
Updated: 25th Apr 2021 - Removal of paragraph relating to 1672 Pardon after it was discovered to have been dated 1648 and moved to Richard's father's page.
Updated: 11th Aug 2020 - Substantiial rewriting with information from Harold Biggs.
Updated: 1st Jan 2018 - Main text revised; new links added..
Updated: 12th Apr 2016 - Two sisters Ann and Jane added. Thomas listed as the elder brother.
Updated: 7th Jan 2014 - Valuable information supplied by Harold Biggs added,
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: 13th Jul 2012: anecdote added relating to Anne Harbord's father and his descendants.

Updated: 12th Jun 2005: notes added about Col. Richard's and Anne's entry in the Newman-Rogers Bible and Louisa Annie Rogers' mention of Col Richard's portrait.