1893 text

Richard Pepys, eldest son of Richard Pepys, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. He went to Boston, Mass., in 1634, and returned to England about 1646.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Before the Diarist became known, one of the most distinguished members of the family was Richard Pepys, created Lord Chief Justice of Ireland by Charles I. When the King was executed, Richard resigned his off1ce; but he enjoyed the favour of Cromwell, and resumed the place. As he did not die until 1678, it is strange that there should be no allusion to him in the "Diary."
---Samuel Pepys and the world he lived in. H.B. Wheatley, 1895.
[Wheatley seems to have missed the 3 references noted above.]

Phil Gyford  •  Link

No, the Richard Pepys who was Lord Chief Justice of Ireland isn't mentioned in the diary; Wheatley was correct. This Richard is his son, as the 1893 text describes.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sir Richard Pepys MP (1588?–1659), barrister and chief justice of Ireland, was born in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, second son of John Pepys, of the Middle Temple, and Elizabeth Bendish Pepys.
He was an uncle of Samuel Pepys.

He entered the Middle Temple in Nov. 1609 and was called to the bar in Feb. 1617.
In 1640 he was elected a bencher and reader at the Middle Temple and became an influential member in the society's council meetings.

He was elected MP for Sudbury, Suffolk (1640), and sat in the Short Parliament.

In 1648 he was elected treasurer of the Middle Temple.

He was a supporter of Oliver Cromwell and held high office during the interregnum, despite often protesting about arbitrariness court decisions.

In 1654 he was appointed serjeant-at-law and baron of the exchequer of England, and also served as an assize judge in the midland counties .

In Aug. 1654 he was appointed to the council of the lord deputy, Charles Fleetwood, in Ireland.
He was also appointed chief justice of the upper bench and later served as keeper of the great seal of Ireland (1655–6).

His selection as chief justice of Ireland was surprising. He was in his 60's and faced a massive workload because he was the only judge of the upper bench most of the time, and also had to attend council meetings.

During his brief time as an English judge, he often protested to Cromwell about the erosion of court powers and the expansion of military power.

He was quite conservative in his religious opinions and opposed Fleetwood's plans to grant baptists greater freedoms.
After Fleetwood's recall in 1655, he supported the more cautious policies of Henry Cromwell and was sympathetic to the Old Protestant faction.
Throughout this period he clashed with the more radical council members, especially Miles Corbet whom he described as being ‘provoking and extreme and unjust’ (Barnard, 286).

He died in Dublin 2 Jan., 1659 and was buried in Christ Church cathedral.
His funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Edward Worth, later bishop of Killaloe. This was published as "The servant doing and the Lord blessing" (1659).

He married 1st Judith, daughter of Sir William Cutte;
2nd Mary (d. 1660), daughter of Capt. Gosnold.
During these 2 marriages he had 4 sons and 2 daughters.

Some of his letters are in the Carte manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3318/dib.00727…
Originally published October 2009 as part of the Dictionary of Irish Biography -- Last revised October 2009

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.