Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Newdegate, John

NEWDEGATE or NEWDIGATE, JOHN (1541–1592), scholar and country gentleman, was only son of John Newdegate, esq., by his first wife (Collins, English Baronetage, ii. 168). The family, which is traced back to the reign of John, takes its name from Newdegate, Surrey (Nichols, Surrey Archæological Collections, vi. 227). The Surrey lands were inherited by an elder branch of the family down to the reign of Charles I, when the male line terminated in two daughters of Thomas Newdegate, of whom one became sole heiress.

A younger branch of the family was founded in Edward III's reign by Sir John Newdegate, who married Joanna, sister and coheiress of William de Swanland, and through her obtained the manor of Harefield, Middlesex, where he established the family. His great-great-grandson, John Newdegate, became serjeant-at-law in 1510. The serjeant's son John, born in 1490, obtained the manor of Moor Hall in Harefield from R. Tyrwhitt, who had received a grant of it on the dissolution of the religious houses. John, son of the last-mentioned John, represented Middlesex in parliament in 1553–4, 1557–8 (Returns of Members of Parliament). He married, first, in 1540, Mary, daughter of Sir R. Cheney, knt., of Chesham Boys; secondly, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Lovet, of Astwell, and widow of Anthony Cave. By his first wife he had an only son, the subject of the present notice.

Born at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, in 1541, Newdegate was educated at Eton (Alumni Eton. p. 175), was admitted scholar of King's College, Cambridge, 25 Aug. 1559, fellow 26 Aug. 1562 (Lib. Protocoll. Coll. Regal. i. 200, 213), and graduated B.A. 1563. He has verses—fourteen stanzas in sapphic metre—in the University Collection on the ‘Life, Death, and Restoration of Bucer and Fagius,’ 1560. They are reprinted in ‘Buceri Scripta Anglicana.’ After taking his degree he travelled abroad, and commenced M.A. at Prague. On his father's death in 1565 he returned to England, and succeeded to the manor of Moor Hall, Harefield, and to his father's other properties in Middlesex, Surrey, and Buckinghamshire, which he increased by his marriage with Martha, daughter and heiress of Anthony Cave, esq., of Chicheley, Buckinghamshire, the first husband of his father's second wife. He is said to have been elected member for Middlesex in the second and third parliaments of Elizabeth (Waters, Chesters of Chicheley, p. 92). On 20 Nov. 1586 he conveyed the manor of Harefield to Sir Edmund Anderson [q. v.], chief justice of the common pleas, and received from him in exchange ‘the fair quadrangular edifice of stone, just completed, upon the site of the dissolved priory of Erdbury in Warwickshire, which he had obtained from the heirs of the Duke of Suffolk, who, upon their dissolution, had the grant of this and many other religious houses’ (Betham, Baronetage, iii. 10). From this time this branch of the family is known as Newdigate of Arbury (Wotton, Baronetage, ed. Kimber and Johnson, ii. 413).

Newdegate died in London, and was buried on 26 Feb. 1591–2, in St. Mildred's, Poultry (parish register quoted in Waters's Chesters of Chicheley, p. 93; cf. Milbourn, Hist. of St. Mildred's, p. 34).

By his first wife, Martha (b. 24 Feb. 1545–6), he had issue eight sons: John, Francis, Henry, Robert, Charles, Carew, William, and Robert (?); and three daughters: Elizabeth, Griselda, and Mary. By his second wife, Mary Smith, he had issue one son, Henry, to whom he gave the manor of Little Ashted, Surrey (he lies buried in Hampton Church, Middlesex). His third wife, Winifred Wells, survived him and lived in her jointure house, Brackenbury, Harefield. His eldest son, John (d. 1610), who was knighted, was father of John (1600–1642), and of the judge and baronet, Sir Richard Newdigate [q. v.] Betham states that the latter was the first to spell the name Newdigate in place of the older form which was retained in the elder branch.

[Nichols's Surrey Archæological Coll. vi. 227; Cooper's Athenæ Cant.; Harl. Soc. Publ. 12, 39; Waters's Chesters of Chicheley, pp. 92–3; Betham, l.c., must be used with caution.]

E. C. M.