Richard Uthwatt (1699-1731)
Established wisdom has it that upon the death of Richard Uthwatt (1658-1719), the estate passed immediately to his son Thomas, but there are problems with this. Richard’s will conspicuously bypasses Thomas, he is not even mentioned. Instead, Richard singles out another son, also called Richard. The funeral certificate for Sir William Prichard provides some information on the children of Richard (1658-1719), specifically that he had a son Richard who died aged 3, but that there was a second surviving son called Richard, born circa 1699. This then would appear to be the Richard referenced in the will.
The Great Linford estate was entailed, which is to say that under the terms of Sir William Prichard’s will, the estate was to always pass to the nearest male relative – this should by rights have been Thomas as he was born seven years before Richard. An entailment could not in law last more than a set number of generations, generally three or four, but it could be broken by agreement if the owner of the entailment and his heir agreed it, so we might speculate that Thomas had agreed with his father to forego his inheritance in favour of his younger brother.
The 1722 poll book, listing eligible voters for the country of Buckinghamshire, names Richard Uthwatt Esquire, not Thomas, as a voter for Great Linford, an intriguing piece of evidence that lends credence to the theory that Thomas had for some reason been (at least temporarily) bypassed for the inheritance. Further evidence for the absence of Thomas from Great Linford at this time comes in the form of records of birth for his two children at Westminster, London, a son in 1720 and a daughter in 1725; the infant son, Richard, was however buried at Great Linford in October of 1720, so perhaps died there while his parents were visiting. We can further speculate that given he named his son Richard, there was unlikely to be any rancour between Thomas and his father and brother.
We know little of Richard’s life and speculative tenure as Lord of the Manor. Several sources mention a connection to Rickmansworth, presumably a property, but little else has yet come to light to further illuminate this, though the presumed baptism record for his son Henry in 1728 places the ceremony at Rickmansworth. This strongly suggests then that Richard was dividing his time between Rickmansworth and Great Linford.
He married a widow named Mary Butler (maiden name Duncombe), on June 22nd, 1722, at St Clement Danes, Westminster, but tragically she passed away shortly afterward. She was buried at St Mary the Virgin, Shalford, on March 4th, 1724. Richard swiftly remarried, to Elizabeth Andrewes in 1725. The Andrewes were a landed family with an estate at Lathbury, and in the fulness of time, the Great Linford estate would pass Elizabeth's 1st cousin, once removed, Henry Uthwatt Andrewes.
Thomas Uthwatt is typically ascribed as the person responsible for the additions of the wings to the manor house and the building of the pavilions, but if we are to believe that Richard had become Lord of the Manor in 1719 and died in 1731, this somewhat muddies the waters. The Pavilions are thought to have been built circa 1740/50, but the wings at around 1725, so this would seem to suggest that these at least were planned and paid for by Richard.
We are not certain when or where Richard died, but we have a likely burial, on November 10th, 1731, at Lathbury. He was just 32. This then appears to be the moment that his brother Thomas inherited the estate.