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Orlando Bridgeman
Portrait by Pieter Borsseler
Born(1606-01-30)30 January 1606
Died25 June 1674(1674-06-25) (aged 68)
OccupationEnglish politician
Ceremonial purse at Weston Park, used by Sir Orlando as Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, 1667–1672, and shown in his portrait above

Sir Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Baronet, SL (30 January 1606 – 25 June 1674) was an English common law jurist, lawyer, and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1640 to 1642. He supported the Royalist cause in the Civil War.

Early life and education

Bridgeman was the son of John Bridgeman, Bishop of Chester, and his wife Elizabeth Helyar, daughter of Reverend William Helyar. He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1624.[1] The same year, Bridgeman became a fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple.


Monument in St Mary's church, Teddington

Bridgeman worked as a barrister until 1632, and was named vice chamberlain of Chester in 1638. In 1640, he was appointed Attorney of the Court of Wards in 1640, and Solicitor-General to Charles, the Prince of Wales.

In April 1640, Bridgeman was elected Member of Parliament for Wigan in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Wigan for the Long Parliament in November 1640.[2] He rallied to the royal cause and in 1642 assisted Lord Strange at Chester against the parliamentary forces. As a result, he was disabled from sitting in parliament on 29 August 1642.[3]

He was knighted by the King, Charles I, in 1643.

From 1644 to 1646, Bridgeman was Custos Rotulorum of Cheshire. In 1645, he was Commissioner at the Treaty of Uxbridge on behalf of the King.[4] He compounded for his delinquency in 1646.

On 30 May 1660, Bridgeman was made Serjeant-at-Law, and two days later Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. The following week, on 7 June 1660, he was created a Baronet, of Great Lever, in the County of Lancaster. From 1660 to 1668, Bridgeman was Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and from 1667 to 1672 Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, resigning because he refused to apply the Great Seal to the Royal Declaration of Indulgence, which he regarded as too generous to Catholics. In 1668, he was a member of the New England Company. In his final years, Bridgeman appointed the priest, theologian, and metaphysical poet Thomas Traherne (c. 1637 – 1674) as his private chaplain at Teddington and supported the publication of his writings. Bridgeman died aged 65 in Teddington, Middlesex and was buried there.

Bridgeman was highly regarded in his time for his participation in the trial of the regicides of King Charles I in 1660, and also for devising complex legal instruments for the conveyance of estates in land. Among Bridgeman's most enduring inventions was a device for the 22nd Earl of Arundel, which led to the creation in the Duke of Norfolk's Case, 3 Ch. Ca. 1, 22. Eng. Rep. 931 (Ch. 1681), of the Rule Against Perpetuities. Following the Great Fire of London he was one of the judges appointed to resolve disputes about property arising from the fire.


Bridgeman married twice, firstly Judith Kynaston, daughter of John Kynaston, on 30 January 1627 or 1628. They had two children:

  • Mary Bridgeman, married, firstly Sir Edward Morgan, married secondly Richard Hanbury
  • Sir John Bridgeman, 2nd Baronet (1631–1710)

Secondly he married Dorothy Saunders, daughter of John Saunders. They had three children:

See also


  1. ^ "Bridgman, Orlando (BRGN619O)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. pp. 229–239.
  3. ^ The Parliamentary Or Constitutional History of England: Being a Faithful Account of All the Most Remarkable Transactions in Parliament, from the Earliest Times. Collected from the Journals of Both Houses, the Records, ... Vol. 9. 1753. p. 17. Retrieved 17 March 2022 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Rushworth, John (1721) [orig. before 1690]. "Historical Collections: The treaty at Uxbridge, 1645". In Browne, D (ed.). Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 5, 1642-45. London: University of London. pp. 787–843. Retrieved 20 May 2020 – via British History Online.
  • "thePeerage". Retrieved 29 November 2006.
  • J. Dukeminier; J. Krier (2006). Property, Sixth Edition. Aspen. p. 241, footnote.

External links

9 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Wheatley: "Second son of John Bridgeman, Bishop of Chester, became, after the Restoration, successively Chief Baron of the Exchequer, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal (1667). He was created a baronet in 1660. In 1672 he was removed from the office of Lord Keeper, and he died June 25th, 1674."

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
1st Bt (?1606-74). Lawyer and politician. Briefly a Fellow of Magdalene, he was called to the bar, becoming Solicitor-General to the Prince of Wales in 1640. He made his peace with the victors of the Civil War, and practised privately as a conveyancer during the Commonwealth. He was made Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1660 and presided at the trial of the regicides, afterwards being transferred to Common Pleas where he earned a high reputation. He was less successful as a Chancery judge when made Lord Keeper on Clarendon's fall in 1667. As a member of the government (1667-72) he supported attempts to reconcile the moderate Puritans with the Anglican establishment, but found himself unable to support the King's high prerogative claims. He resigned rather than seal the Declaration of Indulgence of 1672.

M.Elaine Walker  •  Link

As an example of how 'less successful [he was] as a Chancery judge', one Puritan viwpoint states 'he was a very base corrupt man &[a] very knave in matters of Judicature'accepting gifts as bribes. This is from the memoir of Sir Nicholas Stoughton,Bt.regarding a case in Feb. 1672.

nix  •  Link

Based on the picture, I assume he was played by Vincent Price.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Sir Orlando Bridgeman, Knt. eldest son of the bishop, was, for his great proficiency in the law, made attorney of the court of wards, also attorney to the prince of Wales, (afterwards King Charles II.) and a person, of whom, my lord Clarendon, in his history, makes honourable mention, upon several occasions: and being greatly confided in by the royal martyr, was one of the commissioners deputed by him to treat with those of the parliament, at Uxbridge: and as long as the city of Chester held out for the king, he encouraged and supported the loyalists with several sums of money; and gave several sums to purchase tythes, where churches were not, as he thought, sufficiently endow'd; and large sums to other charitable uses, and redeeming poor captives from slavery. Upon the restoration of King Charles II. as a farther reward for his merit, he was made lord chief-baron of the exchequer; then lord chief-justice of the common-pleas; and lastly, lord-keeper of the great seal of England, and created a baronet.
---The English Baronetage. A. Collins, 1741

Bill  •  Link

Sir Orlando Bridgman, son of John Bridgman, bishop of Chester, was a man of good natural parts, which he very carefully improved by study and application. He was, soon after the Restoration, made lord chief-baron of the Exchequer; whence he was, in a few months, removed to the Common Pleas. While he presided in this court, his reputation was at the height: then "his moderation and equity were such, that he seemed to carry a chancery in his breast." Upon his receiving the great seal, his reputation began to decline: he was timid and irresolute, and this timidity was still increasing with his years. His judgment was not equal to all the difficulties of his office. In nice points, he was too much inclined to decide in favour of both parties; and to divide what each claimant looked upon as his absolute property. His lady, a woman of cunning and intrigue, was too apt to interfere in chancery suits; and his sons, who practised under him, did not bear the fairest characters. He was desirous of an union with Scotland, and a comprehension with the Dissenters; but was against tolerating Popery. He is said to have been removed from his office, for refusing to affix the seal to the king's declaration for liberty of conscience.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Bill  •  Link

BRIDGEMAN, Sir ORLANDO (1606?-1674), lord keeper; son of John Bridgeman; B.A. Queens' College, Cambridge, and fellow of Magdalene College, 1624; called to bar at Inner Temple, 1632; bencher, c. 1660; chief-justice of Chester, 1638; attorney of court of wards, and solicitor-general to Prince of Wales, 1640; M.P. for Wigan in Long parliament and knighted, 1640; sat in Oxford parliament, 1644; serjeant-at-arms, chief-baron of exchequer, and baronet, 1660; presided at trial of regicides; lord chief-justice of common pleas, 1660-8; lord keeper of great seal, 1667-72.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Lord Keeper and in 1667 Lord Chief Justice Sir Orlando Bridgeman was one of 22 Fire Court judges, responsible for sorting out the legal entanglements for the rebuilding of London. The process lasted 10 years, and the judges to their great credit refused all fees. Because of their work, London was largely rebuilt in that time. For more info., see…

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