Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/North, Dudley (1602-1677)

NORTH, DUDLEY, fourth Baron North (1602–1677), eldest son of Dudley, third baron North [q. v.], by Frances, daughter of Sir John Brockett, was born in 1602, probably at the Charterhouse, and seems to have been in frequent attendance even from childhood at the court of James I. On the creation of Charles, prince of Wales, in November 1616, he was made knight of the Bath, being one of four youths, the eldest of whom was fifteen and the youngest in his tenth year. About 1619 he entered as a fellow commoner at St. John's College, Cambridge, but never proceeded to any degree. His university career was brought to a close by his joining the regiment of volunteers who embarked, under the command of Sir Horace Vere, on 22 July 1620 for the relief of the Palatinate, and he was probably with the remnants of the force that were allowed to march out of Mannheim with military honours when Vere was compelled to surrender the town on 28 Oct. 1622. During the next ten years he disappears from our notice. He travelled in Italy, France, and Spain, and for three years ‘served in Holland, commanding a foot company in our sovereign's pay.’ During this period he was but little in England.

On 24 April 1632 he married Anne, one of the daughters of Sir Charles Montagu of Cranbrook Hall in Essex, brother of Sir Henry Montagu, first earl of Manchester [q. v.], and with her received a considerable fortune. During the first few years of his married life he lived with his wife and family at Kirtling, Cambridgeshire, paying his father a handsome allowance for his board. In 1638 he bought an estate at Tostock in Suffolk, and here some of his children were born. He entered parliament as knight of the shire for the county of Cambridge in 1640, and ‘went along as the saints led him,’ says his son Roger, ‘till the army took off the mask and excluded him from the Parliament’ in 1653. After the Restoration he wrote a brief account of his experience in the House of Commons, under the title of ‘Passages relating to the Long Parliament,’ which is printed in the ‘Somers Tracts.’ In 1669 there appeared his ‘Observations and Advices Œconomical,’ London, 8vo, a treatise dealing with the management of household and family affairs. His remaining work, ‘Light in the Way to Paradise: with other Occasionals’ (London, 8vo, Brit. Mus.), appeared posthumously in 1682. It consists of essays on religious subjects, and to it are appended ‘A Sunday's Meditation upon Eternity,’ ‘Of Original Sin,’ ‘A Discourse some time intended as an addition to my Observations and Advices Œconomical,’ and ‘Some Notes concerning the Life of Edward, Lord North.’ In an ‘Essay upon Death’ contained in this work, he deplores that in England, ‘where Christianity is professed, the number of those who believe in subsistence after death is very small, and especially among the vulgar,’ and the work contains some interesting remarks upon the various forms of faith in vogue at the time.

When the Convention parliament was summoned to meet in April 1660, he was, under strong pressure of his father and much against his own inclination, induced to contest the county of Cambridge in the royalist interest; he and his colleague, Sir Thomas Willis, were, however, defeated at the poll, and he had to content himself with a seat as representative for the borough. When the parliament was dissolved in December he did not seek re-election, and from this time he lived in retirement at Kirtling, except that in 1669 he was summoned to take his seat in the House of Lords, two years after his father's death. He was a man of studious habits and of many accomplishments, an enthusiastic musician, and fond of art; but he is chiefly to be remembered as the father of that remarkable brotherhood, of whom Roger, the youngest, has given so delightful an account in the well-known ‘Lives of the Norths.’ North died at Kirtling, and was buried there on 27 June 1677. His wife, a lady of noble and lofty character, survived till February 1683–4; by her he had a family of fourteen children, ten of whom grew to maturity, while four—Francis, Dudley, John, and Roger—are noticed separately. Charles, the eldest son, who was granted a peerage during his father's life-time as Lord Grey of Rolleston, eventually succeeded his father as fifth Baron North; Montagu, the fifth son, was a London merchant, whose career was spoilt by his having been made a prisoner of war, and confined for three years in the castle of Toulon at the beginning of the reign of William and Mary. Of the daughters, Mary, the eldest, was married to Sir William Spring of Pakenham, Suffolk; the second, Ann, married Mr. Robert Foley of Stourbridge in Worcestershire; Elizabeth, the third, married, first, Sir Robert Wiseman, dean of the arches, and after his death William, second earl of Yarmouth; Christian, the youngest daughter, married Sir George Wyneyve of Brettenham, Suffolk.

[For this article Lady Frances Bushby has placed at the writer's disposal a valuable manuscript memoir drawn up by herself. See also Lives of the Norths in Bohn's Standard Library 1890, ed. Jessopp; Nichols's Progresses of King James I; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge (Roger North's mistake of confounding Sir Francis Vere, who died in 1608, with his younger brother, Sir Horace, has been copied by all writers since); parish register of Kirtling.]

A. J.