Pritchard, William (DNB00)

PRITCHARD or PRICHARD, Sir WILLIAM (1632?–1705), lord mayor of London, born about 1632, was second son of Francis Pritchard of Southwark, and his wife, Mary Eggleston. He is described as 'merchant taylor' and alderman of Broad Street. In 1672 he was sheriff of London, and was knighted on 23 Oct. in that year. On 29 Sept. 1682 be went to the poll as court candidate for the mayoralty, and on 4 Oct. the recorder declared him third on the list, below Sir Thomas Gold and Alderman Cornish, both whigs. But a scrutiny of the poll gave him the first place. On the 25th he was declared elected by the court of aldermen, and on the 28th was sworn at the Guildhall. Pritchard's election was celebrated as a great triumph for the court party in loyal ballads and congratulatory poems. One of these 'new loyal songs and catches' was 'set to an excellent tune by Mr. Pursell.' Pritchard carried on the policy of his predecessor, Sir John Moore (1620–1702) [q. v.] He refused to admit to their offices the recently elected whig sheriffs, Papillon and Dubois, whose election he had abetted Moore in setting aside. When, in February 1684, proceedings were taken against him by the whigs, he refused to appear or give bail, and on 24 April was arrested by the sheriff's officers at Grocers' Hall, and detained in custody for six hours. The arrest 'had welluigh set the city in a flame that might have ended in carnage and blood' (North, Eramen, 1740. p. 618), and the corporation was forced to disclaim any part in it by an order in common council on 22 May (Kennet, Hist. of England, iii. 408). Pritchard retaliated by an action for false and malicious arrest against Papillon — Dubois being dead. The case was tried before Jeffreys at the Guildhall on 6 Nov. 1684, the law-officers of the crown appearing for the plaintiff, and Serjeant Maynard for the defendant. Jeffreys summed up strongly in favour of Pritchard, who was awarded 10,000l. damages. Papillon fled the country to escape payment. Pritchard declared his willingness to release him from the effects of the judgment, with the king's assent ; his was long refused by James II, but was ultimately granted in 1688, when, on Aug. 7, Sir William gave a full release to Papillon at Garraway's coffee-house, drinking his former foe's health (Papillon, Memoirs).

Meanwhile, Pritchard had lost favour at court. In August 1687 he, with other aldermen, was displaced 'for opposing the address of liberty of conscience' (Luttrell). He appears to have been restored later; but in October 1688, when he had refused to act as intermediary mayor, he again laid down his gown (ib.) On 15 May 1685 and in March 1690 he was returned as one of the city's representatives in parliament. After the Revolution Pritchard continued active as tory and churchman. In June 1690 he made an unsuccessful attempt to keep the whig Sir John Pilkington [q. v.] out of the mayoralty; and in October 1698 and Jan. 1701 he was an unsuccessful parliamentary candidate for the city; but he was returned at the head of the poll on 18 Aug. 1702.

He died at his city residence in Heydon Yard, Minories, on 20 Feb. 1704–5. His body was conveyed 'in great state' from his house at Highgate to Great Lynford in Buckinghamshire, where it was buried on 1 March in a vault under the north aisle. An inscription on a marble slab records that Pritchard was president of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and that he erected there 'a convenient apartment for cutting the stone.' In Great Lynford itself, the manor of which he had acquired in 1683 from Richard Napier [q. v.], Pritchard founded and endowed an almshouse and school-buildings, and his widow augmented his benefaction. By his wife, Sarah Coke of Kingsthorp, Northamptonshire, he had three sons and a daughter. She also was buried at Great Lynford on 6 May 1718. In accordance with Pritchard's will, the Buckinghamshire estates passed to Richard Uthwart and Daniel King, his nephews.

Pritchard's portrait is at Merchant Taylors' Hall.

[Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights (Harl. Soc); Luttrell's Brief Relation, passim; Howell's State Trials, x. 319–72; Orridge's Citizens of London and their Rulers, pp. 238-9 ; Ret. Memb. Parl.; Poems, Songs, &c., 1682; Lipscomb's Hist. of Buckinghamshire, iv. 222, 227; Memoirs of Thomas Papillon, ed. A. F. Papillon, chap, xi.]

G. Le G. N.