Verney, Richard (DNB00)

VERNEY, RICHARD, third Baron Willoughby de Broke (1621–1711), born at Kingston, Warwickshire, on 28 Jan. 1621, was the third son of Sir Greville Verney (d. 1642) of Compton Murdac, Warwickshire, by Catherine, daughter of Sir Robert Southwell of Woodrising, Norfolk. His grandfather, Sir Richard Verney (1563–1630), by his marriage with Margaret, daughter of Sir Fulk Greville, became possessed of estates in Hertfordshire, Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Wiltshire, and Staffordshire; he represented Warwickshire in several parliaments of Elizabeth and in the first of James I. There is a monument to him and his wife in Compton Murdac church. Richard, who became the head of the family upon the failure of the line of his elder brother in August 1683, was sheriff of Rutland in 1682. He was knighted on 1 April 1685, when he presented an address of congratulation to James II, on his accession, from his constituents of the county of Warwick. He was again returned for Warwickshire to the first parliament of William and Mary. In 1694, as a descendant through the heiress of Greville, from Robert Willoughby, second baron, he laid claim to the barony of Willoughby de Broke. The House of Lords, at the end of the third day's hearing, 10 Jan. 1695, 'voted him no peer' (Luttrell, iii. 424), but resumed the case a week later. On 4 Feb. the king's counsel was ordered to be heard again and Verney to attend, and on the 13th the question was carried unanimously in his favour {ib. iv. 6, 13, 17). He took his seat as a peer on the 27th instant. The case was of some importance as a precedent (see Collins, Proceedings on Baronies by Writ, p. 321).

The historian of Rutland, James Wright, terms Verney 'a true lover of antiquities and a worthy Maecenas,' and Dugdale acknowledged help from him in 'the delineation of divers monuments.' A couple of trifles from his pen, 'A Poem on the Safe Arrival of the Prince of Orange in England' and 'In Honorem Legis Oratio,' were printed after his death. Born under the first of the Stuarts, he was within three years of seeing the transference of the crown to the Brunswick line; but he died, aged 90, on 18 July 1711, and was buried in his own chapel at Compton Verney, Warwickshire. Verney was twice married: first, to Mary, daughter of Sir John Pretyman of Lodington, Leicestershire; and, secondly, to Frances, daughter of Thomas Dove of Upton, Northamptonshire. By his first wife he had three sons and one daughter. The eldest son, John Verney, represented Leicestershire in the tenth and twelfth parliaments of William III and the first and fourth of Anne. He died without issue on 31 Oct. 1707. The second son, George (1674-1728), succeeded to the title as fourth Lord Willoughby de Broke; he became a fellow of New College, Oxford, graduating M.A. 1686 and D.D. 1699, and was installed dean of Windsor in 1713, when he also became registrar of the order of the Garter. He died on 26 Dec. 1728, and was buried at Compton Verney. The eldest surviving son, Richard, fifth baron Willoughby de Broke, died without issue in 1752 (Derby Advertiser, 6 Feb. 1741).

John Verney (1699-1741), youngest son gf the fourth and brother of the fifth Lord Willoughby de Broke, was born at Brasted, Kent, in 1699, and matriculated at New College, Oxford, in 1714. He was called to the bar from the Middle Temple in 1721, became king's counsel in 1729, and was afterwards attorney-general to Queen Caroline and a justice for South Wales. He resigned the latter office in 1732, but in 1734 was made chief justice of Chester. He represented Downton, Wiltshire, from 1722 to 1734. On 7 Oct. 1738 he was appointed master of the rolls and a privy councillor. He died on 5 Aug. 1741. He married Abigail, only daughter of Edward Harley of Eyewood, Herefordshire, and sister of Robert, earl of Oxford. His son by her, John Peyto Verney (1738-1816), succeeded his uncle as sixth Baron Willoughby de Broke. His two sons by Louisa, daughter of Francis North, earl of Guilford, became successively seventh and eighth barons. They both died without issue. The latter was succeeded as ninth baron by his nephew, Robert John Verney (1809-1862), son of Louisa, wife of Robert Barnard, prebendary of Winchester. He died on 5 June 1862. By his wife, Georgiana Jane, third daughter of Major-general Thomas William Taylor of Ogwell, Devonshire, who died on 7 March 1889, he had three sons and four daughters, of whom the eldest is Henry Verney, tenth lord Willoughby de Broke.

[Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, vi. 691-703; Burke's Peerage, 1897; Wright's Antiquities of Rutland, p. 24; Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, ed. Thomas, pp. 565-72, which gives the Verney pedigrees, plates of the family tombs at Compton, and a prospect of Compton House. See also Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Foss's Judges of England; Gent. Mag. 1741, p. 442; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

G. Le G. N.